DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig | Big improvement for fast set up | FREE PLANS

Build a workshop | Free woodworking plans | Woodworking jigs
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Connecting wood using dowel joinery can be a tricky job.
You have to make sure that the holes in which the dowels will be placed are directly opposite each other if you want to make dead-on dowel connections.
If not, your workpieces will never fit!

Well, you don’t have to worry any longer about that!
With the 3-ways dowel jig that you can discover in this blog, making connections with dowels is super easy and fast.
It’s that easy, even kids can make dowel joints with this 3-ways dowel jig.

With the instructions in this blog, you will learn step by step how to make this 3-ways dowel jig and on top of that, you can download a template for free that will make building this 3-ways dowel jig even easier.

No more struggling to make dowel connections from now on!
With this 3 way doweling jig you become the king of the dowel connections!

Download the plans, build this awesome jig and connect wood using dowel joinery like a pro.

Let’s make this 3-ways dowel jig!

What makes this 3-ways dowel jig unique and distinguishes itself from other dowel jigs is that it is super quick to set up for use.

The hole at the end of the handle allows you to connect or disconnect the stop block from the jig in an instant.
So you don’t have to loosen the screw completely like with other designs.

That will save you a ton of time when you have to do this several times in a day.

So, click and go!

Watch the video here

Before we start building

To prepare you for building this project, I have made a few handy lists.

In addition to a few personal protective equipment that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this jig.

* Safety is always your own responsibility!

Safety first! protect yourself!

Materials I used for this 3-ways dowel jig

(power)Tools I used for this 3 way doweling jig

Building the 3-ways dowel jig step by step

Step 1 | Preparation

To make this 3-ways dowel jig you can download the free plans in this blog.

I applied the template of the base of this 3-ways dowel jig with a glue spray on the piece of wood. In my case, this was 15 mm thick white oak, a piece of scrap wood from a previous project. 

However, you can use any type of wood for this, but I recommend choosing a harder wood type. The wood you use for this 3-ways dowel jig must be able to take a beating.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Step 2 | Making the base

First, all holes were drilled in this 3-ways dowel jig.
Because I will be using 8 mm thick dowels, this jig is designed for this. Do you use a different type of dowels? Make sure to adjust the sizes of the drills.

Since the dowels I am using are 8 mm I drilled the ends of the slots with an 8 mm drill. These slots must not be wider or the 3-ways dowel jig will not work properly.
So pay attention to the correctness of the width of these slots.
The hollow tube that I use as a guide for the drill has an inside diameter of 8 mm and an outside diameter of 10 mm.
The full round metal also has a diameter of 10 mm. So I could drill these 3 holes with a 10 mm diameter drill.

Because the hole at the end of the handle should be big enough to enter a button with washer of 24 mm diameter, this hole was drilled with a Forstner drill of 25 mm.

The extra mm that the hole is larger than the button ensures that the button can be attached or removed easily and quickly.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

After drilling the holes I could make the slots.
For this, I used my homemade router jig with which I can make perfectly straight cuts.
By aligning the line of the jig with the line on the template I was sure that the slot was made perfectly in the center with an exact width of 8 mm.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

After taking these steps, the base for this 3-ways dowel jig looked like the picture below for now.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Where the jig narrows to the handle, the corners are rounded. This gives the 3-ways dowel jig a modern look, but it is also easy to cut this inner corner if, like me, you don’t have a band saw available.

The round shape can be drilled out with a 40 mm Forstner drill.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

The straight lines could be easily cut with the table saw and the crosscut sled.
To cut out the handle, it was easier to clamp the jig against the fence of the crosscut sled and raise the saw blade. In this way, a perfect connection was obtained between the straight line of the handle and the previously drilled round corner.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

The outside corners of the 3-ways dowel jig were rounded with my drill press drum sander.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Once the outer edges of the 3-ways dowel jig were trimmed to the lines on the template, I was able to remove the template. I did this with the oscillating sander and 80 grit sandpaper.
Then the edges were chamfered with a 45-degree bevel cutter on my palm router.
Be sure to make gentle cuts when using a bevel cutter. This can cause burn marks if you press the router bit too long or too hard against the wood.

After chamfering, I sanded the workpiece with 150 grit sandpaper, followed by grit 220.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

The base of the 3-ways dowel jig was now ready, and the hardware could be added.

The hollow tube that I used as a guide for the drill is stainless steel with an outer diameter of 10 mm and an inner diameter of 8 mm. The length of the part needed is the same as the thickness of the wood I used.

The round metal dowels have a length of 35 mm and a diameter of 10 mm.

The metal parts were cut manually with my hacksaw. The rough edges were trimmed with the file so that there was no burr left.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Because a cut in metal is never perfectly square, I used the following trick:
The metal was clamped in the drill press.
That is why it is important to remove all burrs with a file in advance, otherwise, the metal will end up diagonally in the drill press, and you will not get a square result.

By running the drill press and lowering the metal against a sanding board, the end of the metal is sanded flat.
Afterward, I was able to make a chamfer by holding the file at a 45-degree angle against the rotating metal.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

To fix the drill guide and the two metal dowels in the 3-ways dowel jig I used epoxy glue. After curing, this glue will make a solid connection between the wood and the metal.

I always mix the two components of epoxy glue on a piece of painter’s tape. This way I can always check through the unused glue on the tape whether the adhesive has hardened sufficiently. After that, the tape can be easily removed and the unused epoxy glue can be cleaned up.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Step 3 | The knob

To make the button I used my mini button maker jig.
Not wanting the center hole to be visible at the top of the knob, I drilled the center hole halfway through the wood.

More details on how to make this button, and also the free template for making this jig can be found on this blog.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

After making the button, the center hole was enlarged with a 15 mm Forstner drill. That is more than enough to glue the head of the bolt to this button.
The depth of the hole was slightly deeper than the thickness of the head of the bolt. The result was that the head of the bolt was sunk into the wood.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

To ensure a strong connection, the bolt was, just like the metal parts, attached to the wood with epoxy glue.
Because the bolt could be pushed deeper than the surface of the wood, epoxy glue could be added on top of the bolt head. As a result, the head of the bolt was completely enclosed by epoxy glue, which results in a solid connection.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Step 4 | Adjustable stop block

While the glue, that is there to connect the parts, had to harden, I got to work to make the adjustable stop block for this 3-ways dowel jig.

On the template that you can download in this blog, you will also find the template that you can use to make the stop block.

Stick this on the piece of wood you want to use with spray glue.

In this stop block, A hole must be drilled in the center in which a T-nut can be attached.

The T-nut allows you to connect this stop block to the base of the 3-way dowel jig thanks to the button.

I made the hole in this stop block in 2 steps.

The first step was to drill a shallow hole with the same diameter as the T-Nut. In my case, I made this hole with a 24 mm Forstner drill.

The depth of the hole should be just a little deeper than the thickness of the T nut. When you apply it, the T-nut will be flush with the surface of the wood.

The second step was to drill a hole all the way through the wood with a 10 mm drill bit.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Using my vise, I pressed the T-nut into the drilled hole.
Be sure to put something, such as a piece of plywood or cloth, between the vise jaws and the wood. This way you can be sure that the vise will not damage the wood.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Step 5 | Assembling

All parts for this 3-ways dowel jig are now ready, and you can start assembling.

Before I assembled all parts I applied linseed oil on the wood. It saturates and protects the wood so that this 3-ways dowel jig can last a long time.

To apply the linseed oil I always use a stainpad wood stain applicator.
It does not fluff like a cloth, spreads the oil evenly, and does not drip.
I highly recommend the stainpad wood stain applicator for your workshop.

Once you have used the stainpad woodstain applicator, you will never use a rag or cloth to apply oil again.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

After applying the oil you can mount the stop block on the base of this 3-ways dowel jig and this 3-ways dowel jig is ready for use.

Below I will briefly explain how you can use this 3-ways dowel jig to make a dowel joint between two pieces of wood. It is possible to do this in 3 different ways.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

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How to use the 3 way doweling jig

Method 1

The first method is for when you want to connect 2 boards together with dowels.
Clamp the 3-ways dowel jig on the narrow side of the board where you want to place a dowel and drill a hole just a little deeper than half the length of the dowel.
In the same way, drill as many holes as you want to place dowels.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Once you have placed a dowel, you can slide the 3-ways dowel jig with the hole that guides the drill over the dowel.
By sliding the stop block against the board you determine the distance at which the dowel stands compared to the edge of the board. Once this distance has been set, it should never change.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Now place the board with which you want to make the connection back to back against the board where you have already placed the dowels.
By placing the 3-ways dowel jig with the slot in front, over a dowel, just as far as the stop block is on the plank, you can now drill a hole exactly opposite the dowel.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS
DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Method 2

Set the stop block just like in the previous method.
Instead of placing the board on the short side, you can now place it flat on the workbench.
Now place the board with the dowels on top of the board where you want to make the holes and place the 3-ways dowel jig with the stop block against the edge of the board, and the slot over the dowel.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

In the same way, you can drill the holes and connect the boards at right angles.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Method 3

If you want to place a board at right angles to the center of another board, you can use this method.
You do not need the stop block for this, so you can unhook it from the 3-ways dowel jig.

Mark a line at the center where the board should be. 

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

Place the board with the dowels on the front of this line, with the dowels pointing towards the line.
Now place the 3-ways dowel jig with the slot over the dowel and move the jig until the drill guide is above the marked line.
Now you can drill a hole at the exact place where the dowel should be. Repeat this step for each dowel you want to place.

DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS
DIY 3-Ways dowel jig Big improvement for fast set up FREE PLANS

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