Tips & Tricks: Dowel Depth Stop

A recent project required hand-drilling a lot of 1/4"-diameter holes exactly 5/16" deep. After some thought, I realized that I could make an accurate depth stop from a length of dowel. First, I fully seated a 1/4" bit in my hand drill to calculate the stop’s length. I cut a 1/2"-diameter dowel to that length and marked center on one end with an awl. I chucked the 1/4" bit in my drill press and bored a hole through the axis of the dowel, which I held vertically in a notched handscrew. I then chucked the dowel in a 1/2"-capacity hand drill and chamfered the end by rotating it against the spin of my disk sander. I rechucked the 1/4" bit in my hand drill and slipped the dowel over it. The inner end of the dowel that pressed against the end of the chuck provided solid registration, while the chamfer at the business end allowed better visibility at the contact area.

—Jim Kelly, Trappe, Pennsylvania

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