Holding a short piece steady when drilling dowel holes can be a problem, especially if your bench lacks a vise.

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Holding a short piece steady when drilling dowel holes can be a problem, especially if your bench lacks a vise. Here's an easy workaround: Mount the doweling jig to the workpiece and then clamp the workpiece near the corner of the bench, as shown, to keep the jig from accidentally rocking as you drill. For a mitered end, flip the workpiece so that the miter faces up and then mount your doweling jig.
—from the WOOD shop