One of the key concepts we like to get across at oomlout is 'making things to make things,' building tools that either fill a need ill-served by off-the-shelf hardware or solve a problem hitherto not considered. If said things to make things can themselves be made by things we already have around the workshop, all the better - which is why we're highlighting Matt Hutchinson's excellent dowel notching jig project. Using a laser cutter to engrave accurate markings into a block of MDF, and a drill press, table saw and mitre gauge, Matt has created an extremely cheap tool for accurately cutting notches into the end of dowel rods so they can be easily used as the framework for larger creations. For those without access to laser engraving capabilities, the full project is still usable but will not include the handy degree scale for accurate off-cardinal notching.
As a part of a larger ongoing project (yet to be instructabled) which uses a system of parametric joints or nodes to connect any number of struts (walnut dowels in this case) into any number of configurations (furniture, racks, building systems, etc.) I found myself needing to accurately notch and align both ends of wooden dowels.