It is definitely beneficial to have a knob jig in your workshop that can help you make wooden star knobs. Especially when you are building jigs or machines for your shop.
A star knob comes in handy when you need to tighten, fix, clamp or make adjustments to your jigs or essentially to any other thing around the workshop. Due to their ergonomic star shape, they offer a nice secure grip.
It is possible to make knobs without the knob jig, however, it is much faster and more convenient to use one. You can stock up, make several knobs at once and use them later on when needed.
In addition, you also save a lot by making your own wooden knobs. Your wallet will be grateful. If you are building a workshop on a budget this jig is a must.
It is a fairly simple and quick project. You can use scrap wood or any kind of wood you find in the workshop. I built mine from plywood leftovers.
With the instructions in this blog post, you will learn step-by-step how to make a knob jig and wooden knobs for your workshop.
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Table of Contents
- Star Knob Jig Plans PDF
- Related Questions
- What are clamping knobs?
- What is a star knob?
- How to Make a Star Knob Jig
- Step 1: Make the base
- Step 2: Draw the design on the base
- Step 3: Cut the inner circle
- Step 4: Install a T-nut and a Threaded Rod
- Step 5: Cut Holes for Different Star Knobs
- Step 6: Finish the Star Knobs
- How To Make Star Knobs
- Star Knob Jig Video
- Jigs Used for the Project
*Safety is your responsibility. Make sure you know what you’re doing and take all necessary safety precautions while working with power tools. Safety comes first!
Always be cautious and careful when using any power tool.
What you'll need to build the DIY Knob Jig
Star Knob Jig
2x Birch Plywood – (17 x 10 x 1,2 cm)
Threaded rod ø6mm
Wingnut, T-Nut, and Washer for a ø6mm threaded rod
Forstner Drill Bits – ø10mm, ø15mm
Hole Saw Cutter Drill Bit – ø38mm (ø42mm)
Drill bit for wood – ø2mm
4x Wood Screws – 3 x 20 mm
What are clamping knobs?
Clamping knobs or hand knobs are components used especially for tightening, clamping, adjusting, or assembling. They come in different variations depending on their application. They are available both with male studs or female threads. The most common types of clamping knobs are ball knobs, star knobs, knurled rim knobs, or wing knobs.
What is a star knob?
Star knobs, also known as lobe knobs or scallop knobs are one type of clamping knobs that due to their shape are ideal for tensioning, fixing, and clamping purposes. They offer an excellent secure grip thanks to their ergonomic star shape and come with a tapped hole or a threaded stud.
The knob jig is made of baltic birch plywood and is used together with a drill press stand. Once fixed in position, you can easily and repeatedly make star knobs.
The overall dimensions of the knob jig are 17cm x 10cm x 2,4m.
How to Make a Star Knob Jig
Step 1: Make the base
For the jig base, cut 2 pieces of plywood (1,2cm). Each is 17 cm long and 10 cm wide.
Mark the corners of one of the plywood pieces – 2 cm from the edges, clamp both pieces together, and predrill with a 2,5mm drill bit.
Use a countersink drill bit to make sure the screw heads are completely flush with the surface.
Screw both pieces together using 3,0x16mm wood screws.
This is just a temporary fix.
Step 2: Draw the design on the base
Flip the knob jig over, mark the center, and start drawing the design.
The design consists of 2 circles (inner circle ø38mm, outer circle ø42mm) and lines that are 60 degrees apart.
Step 3: Cut the inner circle
Once finished with the design drill a 2,5mm hole through both parts on the center mark.
(I did not run the drill bit all the way through, this is just to make a mark on the other plywood piece)
NOTE: This will allow me to work on the centers separately knowing they would be aligned when put back together.
Disassemble both pieces.
Take the first piece with the drawn design and use a ø38mm hole saw with a ø6mm drill bit to drill through the wood piece.
(A wooden knob with a diameter of 38mm can easily accommodate a 6mm bolt or a 20mm T-nut. It is quite a practical size for a star knob)
Step 4: Install a T-nut and a Threaded Rod
Take the second plywood piece and drill a ø20mm hole in using a Forstner bit, deep enough to just flush the head of the T-nut with the surface.
To insert the T-nut I enlarged the hole with an ø7,5mm drill bit. (Again, not going all the way through)
TIP:There are a few ways how to install a T-nut
Insert the T-nut using a clamp making sure it is flush with the surface.
Then assemble both base wood pieces together again and fix them with screws.
Cut 3 centimeters from a ø6mm threaded rod, sand the cut, and screw the rod in the T-nut. To keep it there for good, you can add a bit of epoxy to the t-nut.
TIP: As an alternative way of attaching the rod, you can also drill a hole through both the plywood desks and attach the T-nut from the bottom. Or directly insert a hex bolt or a carriage bolt from the bottom.
Just make sure both the T-nut and the bolt are flush with the bottom so that the knob jig sits flat on the surface.
Step 5: Cut Holes for Different Star Knobs
The design of this knob jig allows for 2 types of star knobs. Both have six points but they differ in the depth of the cut (10mm, 15mm).
The first one (10mm) additionally uses a dowel that fixes the position of the knob when drilling holes. With that, you don’t need to pre-draw the lines on the knob and you can drill right away. That quite simplifies the entire process of making the knobs.
NOTE: If you want to make star knobs with a different number of points, you can lay out additional lines on the jig that are not 60 degrees apart – (e.g 120 degrees for a 3-star knob, 90 degrees for a 4-star knob, etc.).
1. Star Knob with a shallow cutout
Cut a circle using a hole saw and mark all the 60-degree lines.
Place the circle on the knob jig, align all the 60-degree lines with the lines on the jig accordingly, and fix the circle in position with a wing nut.
Drill a 10mm hole using a Forstner bit at the intersection of one of the lines and the inner circle (ø38mm).
Insert a 10mm dowel in the drilled hole (to fix the star knob) and drill a second hole right next to the first one at the next intersection.
NOTE: It is not necessary to insert the dowel in the hole at this point but you can test out how it would work when making knobs.
Now the jig is ready for star knobs with shallow cuts.
If you drew the lines correctly and made the 2 first holes right, then by rotating the circle in the jig and drilling additional holes you will get a perfect star knob.
The dowel will fix the position of the knob and allow for an accurate six-pointed star knob. Thus when creating additional star knobs you wouldn’t need to draw any lines on the circles.
The video attached goes into more detail on how the process works and how to cut the star knobs.
2. Star Knob with a deep cutout
The other type of knob follows the same principle as the first one. However, there is no dowel that would fix the knob in position when drilling a hole.
I am using a ø15mm Forstner bit to drill the holes on the outer circle (ø42mm). To center the circle with the dowel jig at least one or two lines on the circle are necessary.
The process of creating the star knobs is the same as in the first case.
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Step 6: Finish the Star Knobs
The star knobs are ready to be used at this moment. Though I like to give them a final touch before use.
Slide the knobs on a threaded rod and tighten them from below and from above with washers and nuts. Mount the rod on a drill press and sand the edges of the knobs.
You can use a piece of sandpaper on a wooden block to sand them, but what I like to do is to use a hand-grinding machine.
It is better to use sandpaper with a lower grit due to the speed of the drill press and the grinding machine.
NOTE: Make sure not to hit the threaded rod while sanding.
This is what a finished star knob looks like – looks awesome.
How To Make Star Knobs
- Cut out a wooden circle with a hole saw
- Place the circle on the knob jig, fix it with a wing nut and drill in the first hole
- Turn the star knob 60 degrees, place a dowel in the hole, and secure the knob again with a wing nut
- Drill the second hole
- Repeat the process until all holes are drilled
- Install a T-nut
- Finish the star knob by sanding sand all the edges and inner cuts with a sandpaper
And there you have it. A nice and simple knob jig for your drill press that will help you make perfect star knobs.
So.. Ready to make a few wooden knobs for your workshop? Let’s do it!
Here are some of the projects where I am using these clamping knobs:
DIY Star Knob Jig Video
If you want to see how it is done, check out the full video below for a step-by-step guide on how to make a star knob jig.
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I hope the information shared in this blog post sparked an idea and inspired you to build this woodworking jig. You can save a lot of money by making your own wooden knobs. And besides, they look amazing 🙂
Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Enjoyed this vid on knob making.
Are the plans available in PDF form please.
cheers fro Australia.
Hello Tony, I am glad you liked it. At the moment I have the design that is available in the post. Although my plan is to transform my builds into PDF plans. So please bear with me 😉 Thanks, Lukas.
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