Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Drilling And Scribing Dowels
Recently I was building a stool for my shop and was confronted with two problems. First, I had to drill a number of holes in the legs with a large Forstner bit to accept the rungs. To help keep the round legs steady while drilling, I use a simple jig. It's nothing more than a scrap "two-by" block with a V-shaped groove to trap the dowel.

The problem of centering the block under the Forstner bit can be a real chore. So instead of trying to center the large bit over the V-groove by eye, I start by chucking my smallest twist bit into the drill press. This way I can lower the bit down into the groove until it almost touches, which makes it easier to center the bit over the V-groove in the block, see the drawing at right. Then all that's left is to clamp the block to the table and drill the holes.

Secondly, once I had all the holes drilled and the stool assembled, I discovered that all four legs didn't sit flush on the floor. (They never do.) You could just sand them free hand. But that can be tedious, and the stool always seems to end up wobbling anyway. So to mark the ends of the dowel all at the same height, I use a pencil and a scrap of hardwood, see the photo at left. The pencil is taped flat to the hardwood strip. Then I set the stool on a flat surface, like the table saw. Make sure the pencil is high enough to scribe a line all the way around the dowels. Then the excess can be trimmed with a back saw.

By the way, this tip works well if you ever have a problem with wobbling legs on your chairs at home.
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