DIY Doweling Jig

Updated February 21, 2017

For repetitive dowelling in home workshops or any time you need a dowel joint, you don't have to buy expensive equipment. You can make a simple dowelling jig out of two small pieces of wood that is accurate and will give you consistent results when assembling your woodworking projects. The most common dowel used in woodworking is a 1/2-inch dowel, the maximum width for use in 3/4-inch stock. The second most common is a 3/8-inch dowel. Take a few minutes to` make a jig to accommodate these two sizes, and you will use it for years to come.

Make a small dot with a pencil 3/8 inch from the edge and 1 inch from the end on one of the pieces of wood. Repeat on the other end.

Place the tip of the 1/2-inch bit on the dot and tap it with the hammer to create a small divot. Repeat for the other dot.

Place the 1/2-inch bit in the drill and bore straight down through the board using one of the small divots as the guide.

Remove the bit. Put the 3/8-inch bit in the drill and bore the other side of the board using the other small divot as your guide. These are the guide holes for the jig--make them as straight as possible.

Run a bead of glue along the edge of the other board. Align it flush along the flat side of the pre-drilled board above the holes that you just drilled. It should look like a sideways "L," with holes centred at 3/8 inch in the overhanging edge.

Hold the board together for three minutes with your hands until the glue begins to adhere so that the board will not slide when you put on the clamps.

Put a clamp along both sides of the jig and apply pressure gently. Wait one hour for the glue to dry. Scrape off any residual glue with the chisel.

Draw a pencil line across the centre of the hole straight up with a small tri-square. Continue the line over the top of the jig and down the back of the top edge for an guide to use when aligning the jig onto the 3/4-inch work piece.


Always wear safety glasses when working with wood.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 Pieces hardwood, 1 1/2-inch by 4-inch by 3/4-inch
  • Hand drill
  • Drill bit, 1/2-inch brad tip
  • Hammer
  • Drill bit 3/8-inch brad tip
  • Wood glue
  • 2 hand clamps
  • Chisel, 1/2-inch
  • Tri-square
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About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.