I am in the process of building a desk for my daughter and the legs have a 10 degree angle on them. I really like dowel joinery because of how simple and strong it is, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to accurately drill the holes to accommodate for the angle.
In the past I have always found creating a template for dowels to be very affective, so I decided to make a drilling template of sorts that has a built in angle.
This jig is very simple to make and was super helpful for this project!
Watch the full video below!
There are a few ways you can make the drilling guide block. You can use a small cut off from your project that has the same degree angle you want to join. Or you can use a longer scrap and cut the angle after you drill the holes. The second way is a bit harder but I found it to be more accurate.
Either method you decide on, the first step is to mark for the hole locations in the drilling guide block.
You’ll want to first make a line thats half the material thickness. Then if you are drilling two holes, you should make two marks on that center line that are equidistant from the edge of your piece.
I used a drill press but you can use a hand drill as well. Just make sure to drill perfectly straight.
Clamping small pieces at the drill press is always a challenge. I find a hand-screw clamp to be really helpful.
The piece below is the second method for making the drilling guide block on a longer piece of scrap.
Mark the same hole locations as before. Make one mark that’s half the thickness of your material up from the end grain and two holes on that line that are equidistant from the edge.
This piece is way easier to clamp at the drill press. It would also probably easy to drill a piece like this with a hand drill.
Next you need to cut the angle you need for your project.
There are a few ways you can do this.
Bandsaw, handsaw, taper jig, probably more, but I decided to use my cross cut sled.
I used more cut offs from my project that had the 10 degree angle on them and used them to cradle the piece I wanted to cut. Then I made sure everything was clamped down securely and made the cut.
After the angle is cut, you can cut the jig to size. You want it to be the thickness of the material you are joining.
I cut two scraps of plywood to the same thickness as the jig and glued it on the two sides, making sure everything was nice and flush.
Thats it! The jig is ready!
Before you use the jig, you want to mark off how deep you want the drill to go.
To get this measurement, you place the jig on the drill bit and hold the dowel you plan to use under the jig next to the bit. The bit should be marked off so that it will drill a hole slightly longer than HALF the dowel you plan to use.
Then you can clamp the jig onto your workpiece and drill away up to your tape mark!
When drilling into the angled end grain you want to position the jig so that the two angles meet each other. The side of the jig should line up with the edge of your workpiece.
The result here will be a straight hole thats drilled into an angled workpiece.
(sorry for the out of focus shot… oops.)
When drilling the matching angled holes on the side grain, you want to make sure the side of the jig is straight and flush against the end grain of your work piece.
The result here will be an angled hole on a flat workpiece.
And just like that, you have perfectly positioned angled holes for the dowels!
When clamping these pieces together you want to create two parallel surfaces for the clamp by taking another small scrap with the angle you are using and placing it between the clamp and your workpiece.
There are probably many different way to achieve this same result but I found this method to be really quick, simple and affective.