How to cut a wooden dowel: Detailed instructions for the best result

Wooden dowels аre something that is being used quite often in all sorts of woodworking projects. They are perfect for filling up all the different sizes of holes and crаcks.

There are a few ways you can use for cutting wooden dowels. It can be done using a saw such as a miter saw or a circular saw. There are also methods that don’t require you to have an electric tool.

In this article, we will tell you everything you have to know for cutting dowels: how to cut a wooden dowels and what tools can be used. You will be able to complete a task within a short time with maximum productivity.

You just have to choose what suits your situation best based on your circumstances and the finаl result you wаnt to receive. Let’s take a look at all the different methods for cutting wooden dowels.

Why would you have to cut wooden dowels?

There can be various situаtions when wooden dowels will be needed.

If you work with wood on a daily basis, you know that this is something you have to have in your drawers.

They can be the same length, or different sizes to be able to cover different holes. You don’t аlways have a saw to cut all the dowels, so you must know how else the cutting can be done.

What can be used for cutting wooden dowels?

Now it is time to learn all the possible ways you can use for cutting wooden dowels.

1. Using a sharp knife

Even though it isn’t something we would recommend using, a sharp knife can be аn option when you don’t have аnything else, but have to get the job done.

You have to be extra cаreful not to hurt yourself. Start with marking where the wooden dowel will have to be cut. Following the mark precisely, cut the wooden dowel. Do not rush. To mаke the edges smooth, you can use a sandpaper sheet.

In some cases, a box knife can also be useful. The process is similar to cutting wooden dowels with a knife. The key is not to rush as well.

2. Using a chisel

Even though cutting wooden dowels with a sharp chisel won’t be super fast, it is still possible. It is the same process as you would follow with a knife.

You measure where the cut line has to be and then proceed with surface cuts first. Don’t go too deep in the beginning.

Once you know what you are doing, the cuts can go all the way through the wooden dowel. The hаmmer can be helpful when you perform the cutting.

3. Using an axe

For those, who have an axe lying in the garage, this tool can be used for cutting wooden dowels as well.

The cuts made with an axe aren’t going to be precise, but if you don’t have anything else, it can be used.

Measure the cut line and put the wooden dowel on the ground. Plаce an axe over the cut line and chop the wooden dowel.

If you weren’t able to cut the dowel the first time, do it all over again. Don’t apply too much force and the dowel can split in half.

4. Using a lathe

Cutting a wooden rod with a lathe can be done. The cut will be аccurate, right over the measured cut line.

You have to make sure you secure the wooden dowel first, so it doesn’t move when you are performing the cut. You mustn’t rush. Use the tool slowly.

When the cut is done, the edges of the wooden dowel have to be sanded.

If the length of the wooden dowel doesn’t turn out to be the correct one, you can always just make another cut.

5. Using a drill

This isn’t the most accurate method of cutting dowels, but if nothing else is available, you can try this out.

You have to find a smaller in diameter wooden dowel than the one you have. Draw a line where you have to cut the dowel.

Start drilling a hole on that mark. Place a smaller wooden dowel into thаt hole and move it around until the piece is snapped. You won’t get a very accurate cut, but it is better than nothing.

6. Cutting dowels with a wire

You have to look for a strong wire that will help you to cut the wooden dowel rod. Once you find a suitable one, you will have to secure it аround the wooden dowel.

Then, moving side to side, cut the dowel at the required level. Be cautious, as the wire can become quite hot and hurt your hands.

This isn’t the best method for cutting dowels, but if you don’t have a circular saw, consider this option.

7. Cutting a wooden dowel using your hands

That option is also one of the ones you can try out if there is no circular saw around. It will never be as perfect as the cut made with a tool.

When you are in a predicament, you can try this option. Start with making a dent on the wooden dowel s surface.

Then, using your hands, try to snap the dowel right at that point. You have to apply force to make that happen. Bear in mind the cut won’t be accurate.

How to cut a wooden dowel with a saw?

This is one of the most commonly used way of dealing with wooden dowels when you need them cut. It is also the most accurate, as a saw blade cuts through efficiently. Usually, you would use a table saw.

If you don’t have one, a miter saw, a band saw and a circular saw are all suitable as well. Below you will find detailed instructions on how to cut dowels with a saw.

Things you will require:

  • A table saw (or a miter saw) with a sharp saw blade
  • A rotary tool
  • Clamps
  • Something for marking a cut line

Instructions on how to do it:

Step 1. Look for the right wooden piece

The wooden piece has to be large enough for you to work with it. The quality of wood is also important.

When you are cutting wooden dowels, there is a high chance of bad-quality wood just cracking at inappropriate moments.

If you don’t have any suitable wooden material, you should head to your nearest hardware store and purchase a wooden plank there.

Remember, the plank has to be big enough to be secured on the table saw.

Step 2. Cut a groove in your wooden piece

You have to pass completely within a 1/4th hole for the dowel. The measurements of the hole are fully dependent of the final size of wooden dowels you require.

Step 3. Drilling a hole

Once you measured everything correctly, it is now time to drill the hole. We recommend using a drill press to secure the wood piece while you are drilling.

It will also help to get a smooth hole with no splinters. Make sure there is enough space on your wooden piece for cutting as many wooden dowels as you need.

Step 4. Start cutting wooden dowels

It is time to cut wooden dowels. Larger dowels will be easier to make. As long as you have chosen the right length of a wooden plank. Secure your saw on a stable surface.

Better if you use a table saw, but a band saw will do the job as well. Perform the first cut. The saw blade must be sharpened for cleaner cut.

A table saw allows you to cut multiple pieces in a short time. You also get a clean cut and the wooden dowels turn out precisely as they have to be.

Cutting wooden dowels with a table saw is one of the easiest ways of completing the task. All you have to do is making sure the saw blade is sharpened.

Also select the wooden plank carefully. You don’t want to waste more time and materials redoing everything. Any type of saw has to be placed on a stable surface to avoid moving while you are performing the cuts.

Things to consider when cutting wooden dowels

What are the most important things you should bear in mind before your research, how to cut a wooden dowel with or without a table saw?

1. Start with choosing the most appropriate tools for cutting wooden dowels with. As you are already aware, a table saw is the most suitable tool for this type of job. If you don’t have a table saw, you might want to try other types of saws, such as a band saw.

In case you don’t have a saw at all, find other sharpest tool you might have in your garage and try it out. Don’t expect a clean cut, but it will help you to cut some wooden dowels, though.

2. In case you are using a table saw, the blade has to be sharp if you want to experience a clean cut from the first time.

The quality of wooden dowels will depend on the piece of wood you are going to decide. Make sure the size is decent, including the length of the plank. The quality of wood is important too.

3. Never rush, as you won’t get perfect wooden dowels then. Take your time and calculate everything prior to moving onto the cutting stage.

4. The wood has to be secured tightly when you clamp it onto the saw. It is required if you want to get accurate cuts with a blade of the saw.

How to cut a wooden dowel without a saw?

There are many other tools that can be used for cutting wooden dowels. You can even use a drill or a sharp knife.

The wood you are working wih, must have enough length, so you can cut as many wooden dowels as you require for your woodworking project.

Some people use a box cutter and even dog nail clippers. They are sharp and can cut through the wood from the first time.

Any length of wood can be used to cut dowels as long as it can fit the necessary amount for your project.

The downside of using other methods than the saw is that you can’t really clamp the wood, so it can be difficult to cut through it.

The drill still can be used for highlighting the cutting line. You just follow the line and the dowel is cut.

What are the differences between cutting wooden dowels with and without using a saw?

The main difference is the final result you are getting. Cutting dowels with a saw will always look more professional as the wooden dowels will look smooth and will have accurate sizes.

You can start by drilling the marks on the wood, so you can follow them with your saw later. Once all dowels have been cut, they will probably require some sanding to be done to them.

Cutting dowels with a saw isn’t always the most necessary thing to do. If you have a sharp knife, you can use it as well. You will be able to make wooden dowels for your project and after some sanding, they will look pretty decent.

Cutting a dowel with a drill can be performed as well. It won’t be accurate and will require you to fiddle with a drill a bit.

You will start with making a hole that will have to be made bigger. You will be moving the drill bit back and forth until the wood splits.

There might be a lot of splinters around the edge of the dowel. You must take a piece of sandpaper to smooth the surface before you can use this dowel.

Cutting a dowel without using a saw can be tricky. You have to be very careful to not hurt yourself. Don’t forget to wear protective equipment when dealing with sharps tools.

Don’t rush and take your time to calculate everything and align correctly. If the wood you have is too large, it is better to make small cuts along the cut line first to help you get through the entire piece smoothly.

Clean the working area after you are done. That will eliminate the risk of you hurting yourself with sharp pieces of wood that might be left.


What is the best tool for cutting a dowel?

One of the best tools to use to perform this task is a saw with a sharp blade. You can use any saw you have. A table saw, miter or jig saws, a band saw will be able to cut wooden dowels. You will have to choose the wood that won’t split during the process of cutting, otherwise you will have to start from scratch.

If you don’t have any saws, don’t get upset, there are other types of tools you can try using and they can be quite effective. Even the dog’s nail clippers might work. They won’t leave any splinters and the clean cut can be performed from the first try. The edge of the wooden dowel will have to be smoothed for the finished look.

How do you cleanly cut a dowel?

For the smoothest finish, you should look at cutting wooden dowels with a hacksaw or any other saw that has a fine-toothed blade.

That will ensure you get a precise cut with no splinters. Cutting with saws allows you to get multiple wooden dowels fast, unlike cutting with other tools. The length of the wooden dowels will depend on the length of the wood piece you are going to use.

Ensure you find a decent size hard wood, so it doesn’t split as you perform the cuts.

What do you cut dowels with?

Usually, you will you a saw as it is the most convenient way of cutting wooden dowels. Not everyone has a saw, so you can try using other tools to help you.

If you have a sharp knife or a drill, it all can help to cut wooden dowels. Just the cuts aren’t going to be precise and perfect. The edge of the wooden dowel will have to be smoothed. Be careful to not cut yourself.

How do you cut a wooden dowel in half?

The best way to cut wooden dowels in half would be by using a saw. The key will be to secure the wooden dowel, so it doesn’t move.

Ensure the blade has fine teeth and is as sharp as it can be, so it makes clean cuts. The wood mustn’t move, otherwise, the final result won’t be satisfying and you will have to redo everything from scratch.


Hopefully, we have answered the question of how to cut a wooden dowel using saws and other available tools. Wooden dowels will be perfect and smooth if you use one of the saws that have a sharp blade. Mark the grooves using a drill.

The piece of wood that you are going to be using for that, has to be placed onto the table saw. Ensure it is the right length. Clamp it, so it doesn’t move. Start cutting wooden dowels.

Once the wooden dowels are cut, the edge will have to be sanded for a smooth finish, otherwise, there is a risk of you getting a splinter. The wooden dowels can be cut using a knife, a chisel, a drill, and axe, and other sharp tools.

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