How would you cut game counters from dowels?

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Scariest units are the 3ft dia carcass cutters …..think of it as a rotary cleaver - slices clean through a side of pig including bones to divide them into shoulders/ middles & legs
Ps do not use a bandsaw there dangerous for circular things.
Surprised it took this far into the thread before being mentioned… cutting round stock with a bandsaw will soon check your sphincter pucker out if you don’t have a very firm grip on it and there are some quite impressive videos proving it by folks in utube land.
If I had a similar requirement I might be tempted to finally invest in a small lathe as they excel at working with round stock.
I'm a bit amazed as well. The bandsaw teeth spin the dowel and cause "issues" I'm guessing a chop saw spins to fast to cause problems. Anyway I've cut thousands and no issues. Parting off on a lathe leaves a slightly rough finish I found.
Yes circular items can be an issue on a bandsaw but small dowel generally isn’t - hold it firmly and it is fine - I cut loads and metal rod with no issues…

The video above is because it is a larger diameter and therefore has a larger space into which it can pull the piece below the area being cut… the bruising to his thumb is because of the board handle which caught him - neither of which apply to small diameter dowel…
re "don't use a bandsaw it's dangerous".. solve the dangerous element with a jig. My approach would be to make a simple cross cut jig with a fence and a rudimentary clamp that pushes the dowel against the fence, keeps hands well out of the way and if you keep the clamp very very simple (piece of wood on a hinge) then it would not slow down cutting. You could cut thousands of them very quickly with this method.
If your (future) bandsaw is well tuned you could do worse than make a vee block to carry the dowel. This could have a piece glued on to run in the mitre slot. Maybe not as fast as the multi dowel jigs described above but works with a wide range of sizes and requires less adjustment time

I have a V-block which I clamp to the mitre gauge on the bandsaw. If I’m making thin cuts I put a scrap of ply underneath the block to make a ‘zero clearance’ slot to stop the extractor swallowing the pieces as they are cut.
I can also attach a stop for consistent length/thicknesses.
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If you were to have a jig with holes running though it for the dowels to sit in, bandsaw cuts already in it. Then you need a pile of flat bits of 3/4” bits of wood against the fence, push the jig forwards to cut the first row of counters, pull one of the flat bits away which then lines the jig up ready for the next cut etc etc, the fact that the dowels are contained should prevent a lot of splintering.
Hell its almost machine gun time!
This seems pretty sensible to me. although I'd just do one at a time. I'd make a block with the dowel hole through it then cut a line through just past the hole with enough room for the dowel to be pushed across after the blade (but leaving a section behind to keep the 2 pieces together) leaving the exact width of counter required on the left.

position the fence with a short block clamped to it at the start.

clamp the jig to a mitre block/slider so the cut lines up with the blade.

bring the fence bloack up to the end of the jig

push the dowel in until it touches the fence block.

push the jig/mitreblock to do the cut.

counter is contained in the end of the jig but can be pushed out into the space by the fence after the blade (the reason for a short stop block). You just poke the dowel through to knock out the counter and then retract the dowel (the reason I mentioned having the cut far enough for the dowel to pass behind the blade)

pull the jig back and repeat.

hopefully makes sense.
That's a great idea the only thing that may stop me is the finish/accuracy of a bandsaw cut. I hate sanding and particularly hate sanding small things!
I encountered a similar problem when making my first set of draughts but found a solution by making a simple jig for a lathe. The main difficulty was producing pieces of exactly the same height which could be stored in a box taking piles of three draughts. Making clean cuts and equal diameters was also completely resolved. The jig is very simple but needs to be made in a lathe see photo 1. It is a cylinder made with a square shoulder at the left hand end and a hole at the right hand end the same depth and diameter of the finished draught. The cylinder is then cut half way through with a bandsaw to allow the cylinder to be compressed in the lathe chuck. A blank for making the draught pieces is then spindle turned to the required diameter and long enough to make 12 draughts plus a bit for saw cuts. The left hand end of the jig is then placed in the lathe chuck making sure the shoulder lies square against the chuck and a draught blank, a few millimeters longer than the depth of the hole is inserted into the right hand end of the jig. See photo 2. Make sure all is square and and pushed into the chuck as far as it will go. (You may need to made provision for any stump left by the saw on the face of the piece to allow it to lie flat in the jig.) Then tighten the chuck which will nip the cut in the jig together and grip the draught. The draught can then be faced off with a parting tool 1 or 2 mm from the front of the jig. Then turn over the draught over and repeat only this time exactly flush with the face of the jig. This way the draughts will all be exactly the same diameter and height. If you wish it is easy to cut some decorative rings onto either a single or both sides. Photo 3 The jig will wear out after one or two sets are made but you can adjust the depth of the hole or throw it in the fire and make a new one.
I know this does require a lathe but one day who knows, in the meantime I hope someone might find it helpful. Cheers Ian A


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Thanks everyone for the really useful ideas. There are definitely a few ways to approach this! Here's the idea I'm leaning towards:
  • Get a bandsaw
  • Use a birch ply board and cut several v-grooves 5-10cm apart, and at least 9mm deep for 19mm dowels
  • Add a thin piece of ply on the base of the board to run along the bandsaw table mitre channel
  • Add a perpendicular fence on top of the board to set a repeatable length for the cuts
  • Add small toggle clamps in between each v-groove, both to the left and right of the cut line
I can then clamp several dowels at once (should be quick with a toggle clamps), clamping both left and right of the cut to hold them steady and avoid flying parts. Does that sound sensible and worth a shot? Any dangers to clamping on both sides?

And as a new bandsaw user, what's my finish likely to be on the cuts? @johnnyb mentions finish/accuracy issues with bandsaws, so am I making a whole new load of end-grain sanding?
The commercial units have a cutter head with two ultra sharp curved blades ….come with their own honing machine and a blade set is over £4k !!

Bacon or cooked meat is sliced after cooling down to less than -4 Deg C, and sliced to 1/100th of a mm !!!
Or get a microtome - down to 2um

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