I decided some time ago that I was tired of the inconsistent sizes found in commercial dowels, and hit-or-miss quality that was found at most suppliers. I needed to be able to make my own dowels and pegs. Since more often than not I only need a short section of dowel to use as a peg in furniture construction, a dowel plate seemed like the obvious solution.
However, they are not the most common tool made these days, seeing as many just opt to deal with the commercial doweling options. Lie-Nielsen was about the only place I could find a true quality piece at the time, and I was not about to pay the $50 they were asking for a simple steel plate with some holes drilled in it and tapered slightly from the back-side.
So like any resourceful guy would do, I found a way to make my own. My father just so happens to be a machinist, so this was an easy problem to solve: I called my father and asked for a favor.
I drew up a basic plan for what I wanted, basing the hole sizes on what Lie-Nielsen used, and took the ride to the machine shop.
We didn’t have any real tool-steel on hand, so we elected to use a heat-treatable 4140 steel, which has proved to be a very good choice.
This is the result of my first dowel plate:
I made a second plate as well and gave it to a friend of mine, who happens to be a well known woodworker from Virginia. He was impressed with the construction of it, and tells me it works very well. I asked him if he felt they were good enough to sell, and he said to give it a shot.
So, I’ve decided to put out a “feeler” to see if there is in fact interest in it. If enough of you all would like one, I’ll make a batch for sale.
Pricing isn’t 100% certain yet, but I’m thinking about $20-25 for 4140 alloy steel. I’m looking into a price on heat-treat, and if it’s feasible, I may offer an A-2 tool steel plate also.
I’m working on several other items right now as well, and I’ll be posting about them in the near future.
Thanks for checking this out! Be sure to check back soon, there is much more to come!