Need jig for cutting '+' in end of dowel

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Forum topic by Jeff_F posted 03-28-2013 09:00 PM 2082 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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36 posts in 3393 days

03-28-2013 09:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig question dowel perpendicular cuts

I need to cut two perpendicular cuts in the end of a round tenon to insert wedges into for a tool handle. The tenon is 3/4” diameter and about 3” long and I would like the cuts centered in the end of the dowel and perpendicular to each other. The cut needs to do down about 1 1/2” into the end of the tenon. I’d like to do this on a bandsaw to keep the kerf small. How can I make the first cut and then rotate the dowel for the second cut and ensure that it is still centered and at 90 degrees to the first cut?

Any suggestions for a jig to hold the handle in place while I make the cuts?

-- Jeff,

14 replies so far

View Elizabeth's profile


817 posts in 3385 days

#1 posted 03-28-2013 09:09 PM

This is what I’d try:

Make a square cube of wood. In one corner, equally distanced from the two near sides, drill a 1” deep hole sufficiently sized to be a press fit for the dowel (but be able to get it out again. Use the sides of the cube against the bandsaw table and fence as guides when cutting the first cut, backing out, rotating, and cutting the second one.

Check results, tweak if needed, and try again. ETA and mind your hands – make your cube big enough so they’re not in the way.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5149 posts in 4202 days

#2 posted 03-28-2013 09:34 PM

Wanna borrow my tenon saw? That’s what I’d use.
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View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2280 days

#3 posted 03-28-2013 09:36 PM

How about just make a wooden V-block? (there’s a gazillion pics of the metal ones if you google, so I won’t bore you with details).

Or you can take a board and two strips of wood as thick as the radius of your round piece of work.
Place one on the edge of the board at the edge – it will ride against your tablesaw fence.
Place the other parallel to the first, and just far enough from the first for the workpiece to sit in between them. Adjust the fence so that when you place the board with the two strips against it, the blade is centered between the 2 strips.
Turn on saw, slide workpiece into blade to make cut, back it out, rotate by hand until the saw kerf is just on top of both of the wooden strips, push back into blade and you are done. You can make a little pencil mark on the back that appears when you’ve pushed the piece forward into the blade 1.5” and then you’ll know when to stop making each cut.

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View Woodmaster1's profile


1091 posts in 2828 days

#4 posted 03-28-2013 10:22 PM

V-blocks work great.

View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 2196 days

#5 posted 03-29-2013 03:42 AM

Once you make your cuts and insert the dowel into the tool and install your first wedge, are you planning to cut the perpendicular cut again, to cut through the wedge in the first cut?

View Woodknack's profile


12469 posts in 2621 days

#6 posted 03-29-2013 06:22 AM

Jeff, I can’t think of a way to make it perfect and consistent without an indexing pin. Although I’d swear I remember them doing this in Woodsmith once with a clever trick. I’d just use a V shaped carrier and eyeball it.

I’m struggling a bit with how this will work. Are you using 3 wedges?

-- Rick M,

View oldnovice's profile


7380 posts in 3609 days

#7 posted 03-29-2013 07:21 AM

Essentially what Elizabeth said is to make a “collet block”, a perfectly square block with a hole dead center. Machine shops have collect blocks that can hold the various collet sizes they typically use.

The dowel is inserted in the hole, locked in place with either a pin or screw, cut one slot, rotate the square block to another face and cut cut again.

If you have an old drill press chuck sitting around you can make sort of a collet block for your shop by putting the chuck (O.D.) into the block and a set screw to hold it in place once you have inserted the dowel to be cut, slide the chuck into the block, cut the slot, rotate the block, cut again, loosen the set screw, remove chuck with dowel, loosen chuck, remove dowel, and repeat as needed.

This is a drawing of my Chuck block

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Jeff_F's profile


36 posts in 3393 days

#8 posted 03-29-2013 01:15 PM

Thanks for all the great suggestions. I think I will try making the square block and see how that works. I really like the drill press chuck idea but since this is on the end of a tenon of a handle it can’t be put into a chuck. I see I used the word dowel once in my first note and I shouldn’t have.

Per Rick M.’s question….yes, I am going to use 3 wedges. I’ll get them all started at the same time so I can tap them down together to ensure that they end up the same width at the top of the tenon.

-- Jeff,

View a1Jim's profile


117423 posts in 3818 days

#9 posted 03-29-2013 01:36 PM

Here’s another way

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View Woodknack's profile


12469 posts in 2621 days

#10 posted 03-29-2013 05:43 PM

Okay, now that I’m not half asleep I understand Elizabeth’s suggestion, thanks to Old Novice too, and it looks like a winner. I like Jim’s suggestion too which is a similar idea adapted for a tablesaw. Truth be told, if it’s only one or a couple I’d probably still eyeball it, you’d be within a few thousands of perpendicular if your eyeballs are trained at all. My drafting teacher (decades ago now), taught us to rely on our eyes and not our rulers for measurements 1/4” or smaller.

-- Rick M,

View Jeff_F's profile


36 posts in 3393 days

#11 posted 03-29-2013 06:05 PM

I put together my ‘prototype’ jig based upon your suggestions. I actually combined a couple of suggestions to come up with this jig….the v-block to hold the handle and a square block to create the 90 degree cuts. I didn’t want to use the fence because I need to make a lot of these, I hope, over time so I wanted to simplify my setup each time. So I made a sled with a v-block centered on the bandsaw blade and a square block to slide over the tenon on the handle. Here’s a picture of the result:

Thanks for all your suggestions!!

-- Jeff,

View Woodknack's profile


12469 posts in 2621 days

#12 posted 03-29-2013 09:09 PM

That’s so simple and yet works perfectly, I like it.

-- Rick M,

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5280 posts in 3485 days

#13 posted 03-29-2013 09:45 PM

Why two cuts? Only one wedge is needed.

View Jeff_F's profile


36 posts in 3393 days

#14 posted 03-29-2013 09:49 PM

I want 2 cuts to provide a decorative top to the carving mallets that I am making. Yes, only one wedge is necessary for function.

-- Jeff,

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