Rounding Plane / Dowel Maker attempt #4: Test run with first prototype

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Blog entry by llwynog posted 03-06-2012 05:14 PM 5247 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Tool making gone fractal + finishing the blade holder Part 4 of Rounding Plane / Dowel Maker attempt series no next part

Now that the first prototype is finished, here are the results of the test run:

Adjusting the blade itself was easy enough : just tapping the blade a little at a time until it cut enough for the finished dowel to go through the exit hole.

I also had a little tweaking to do on the body for the blade to cut properly: I used a small rounding plane and some files to straighten the cone shape (remember how it was slightly crooked at the junction between the cone and the exit hole?). I also adjusted the blade holder to improve as much as I could the escapement of shavings.

Now for the actual result, it is, as I had started to expect since I first clamped a blade on the unfinished tool, somewhat disappointing.
Here is a close up of the resulting surface and you can see how ragged it came out:

In addition to the poor cut quality, shavings also kept jamming themselves either under the blade or between the blade and the holder. I had to back up the tool to clear out the shavings every so often.

Everything is not lost though as this 1st prototype got me thinking and I hope that the next iteration, whenever I find the time to work on it, should have all the more chances to perform properly.

The modification I intent to make on the next prototype are:

  • Blade position. As suggested by Thomas and as one can observe from a regular pen sharpener, I will definitely try to place the blade in a more tangential position. The blade is currently too close to being radial. For this prototype, I used the plan from an old Fine Woodworking magazine article (Fine Woodworking #8 or so) and either the drawing was wrong or I did not understand it properly. The more I look at it, the more the blade position looks wrong.
  • Geometry and angles. I will use the cone geometry that canadianchips kindly measured on his own tool.
  • Blade holder. I will probably loose the blade holder completely, moving from a bevel down configuration to a bevel up configuration for the blade in the process. The blade holder proved to be a hassle, and it keeps trapping shavings that jam the tool. I can easily hold the blade in place with 2 screws and some large washers as the blade has slots cut in. Also, both canadianchips’ tool and Ray Iles rounder ( ) do not feature any blade holder and do not appear to be any worse for it.
  • Body material. The next iteration will not have a platanus/plane tree body but a beech one. Why? simply because I don’t have any more platanus wood and have been given a block of beech that could be used ;)

Thank you everyone who wrote me with encouraging comments.

Until next time,

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

4 comments so far

View Sodabowski's profile


2116 posts in 1654 days

#1 posted 03-06-2012 05:21 PM

Mets ta lame plus haut, et quasiment tangente au barreau, j’ai eu d’excellents résultats avec un truc vite bricolé du même genre en utilisant un ciseau à bois en guise de lame :)

Intl version: change the blade height and angle, I had great results with a quick-made jig with a chisel, blablabla.

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View Sodabowski's profile


2116 posts in 1654 days

#2 posted 03-06-2012 05:57 PM

AND put the blade to an angle! like so:

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View gavinzagreb's profile


210 posts in 1140 days

#3 posted 03-06-2012 06:02 PM

Yep, you need to angle the blade more.
I made a prototype drumstick from masaranduba the other day and made the type of dowel maker you can see in this link, in less than 30 minutes. Worked great !

View llwynog's profile


285 posts in 1400 days

#4 posted 03-06-2012 06:22 PM

We all seem to agree on this.

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

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