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Dowel making Jig

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Project by George_SA posted 12-09-2014 09:37 AM 1808 views 3 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I needed some 4mm dowels for some wooden hinges that I am making. I only had some 6mm and 3mm shop bought dowels. Actually the shop bought dowels aren’t 6mm either but somewhere in between 6mm and 6.6mm and also they are more oval than round in shape.

I saw this idea on YouTube somewhere and decided to try it. It is very simple. All you need is a piece of flat bar. Drill the required size hole and then cut a cross slot with your angle grinder across the hole to create some teeth for cutting. For smaller holes you need a thin kerf blade on the grinder.You can’t go directly from 6mm to 4mm. You must do it stepwise by reducing to 5mm first and then 4mm. It also gave me a spot on 6mm round dowel from a plus minus 6mm oval shop bought dowel. If I remember correctly the guy used square stock in the YouTube video. I haven’t tried that yet, but I am sure it will work just as well.

-- There are some things that money can't buy - Manners, morals and integrity





13 comments so far

View jakeprater's profile

jakeprater

91 posts in 1050 days


#1 posted 12-09-2014 12:51 PM

This is a great technique, especially to match woods or save a trip to the store!

I learned this trick from one of Izzy Swans YouTube videos. I’ve done it with square stock in red Oak, alder, and Pine, in about 24 inch lengths. Any longer than that and I couldn’t apply enough pressure without the piece bowing pretty badly. All I have to do is shave the end of the stock to fit the drilled hole to get it started, then just consistent pressure and feed rate to get some good dowels. I’ve done up to 1/2”dowels this way, I haven’t had a drill big enough to try anything larger.

How did the finish come out on yours? I hit mine with a little sandpaper, the Pine came out a little rough.

Thanks for sharing, I hadn’t thought about going by steps, I was just trying to power through at the size I wanted, so this might open up some longer lengths!

-- All this sawdust.......wait........ what happened to my board???

View George_SA's profile

George_SA

298 posts in 1674 days


#2 posted 12-09-2014 03:09 PM

Jake
The finish was a bit rough ,bit a very light touch with sandpaper fixed that. Too much sandpaper and the thickness goes under gauge. I haven’t tried it with hardwood yet. I also found that a constant feed rate helps with the finish and to stop the drill when taking the dowel out. For me short pieces on the dowel works ok. I don’t really need long dowels. It is easier to keep a constant feed rate with shorter pieces.

It might have been by Izzy where I saw it. It is such a simple method that I just filed it away in memory. I haven’t tried a 3mm yet but I think the kerf width on the angle grinder places the limit on about 4mm. The upper range is limited by your drill bit size, I think.

-- There are some things that money can't buy - Manners, morals and integrity

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2795 days


#3 posted 12-09-2014 07:20 PM

You can also just drill 45 degree holes in the plate. These leave a sharp edge at the top for the cutting action. I made mine about 8 years ago and it still does a great job. I got the tip for this from an old FWW book.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View George_SA's profile

George_SA

298 posts in 1674 days


#4 posted 12-09-2014 07:26 PM

Mike, Thanks for that tip. I will definitely give it a try. No more store bought dowels for me.

-- There are some things that money can't buy - Manners, morals and integrity

View mcoyfrog's profile

mcoyfrog

3800 posts in 3055 days


#5 posted 12-09-2014 07:43 PM

Kewl trick I dig it

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

879 posts in 2279 days


#6 posted 12-09-2014 09:41 PM

Interesting idea to put the teeth there. For shorter dowels you can also drive the piece of wood (with the end wittled down) through the hole with a mallet. The steel plate needs to be a bit thicker, but the resulting dowel will be a bit stronger since the shearing will follow the grain more.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

2420 posts in 1870 days


#7 posted 12-10-2014 04:16 AM

great trick, and I happen to need to make some dowels for a current project. Have to give this a try. Thanks!

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View CFrye's profile

CFrye

8738 posts in 1301 days


#8 posted 12-10-2014 11:14 AM

When I saw this I immediately wondered if one could be made from an old table saw blade. Would that be thick enough? Sure would be nice to make needed dowels that were actually the size you need and not just kinda close like the store bought ones. Thanks for sharing, George.

-- God bless, Candy

View George_SA's profile

George_SA

298 posts in 1674 days


#9 posted 12-10-2014 02:56 PM

CFrye
I am sure an old table saw blade would be thick enough. The piece of flat bar that I used was quite thin, not more than 2mm. I am just not sure how easy it would be to drill holes in it.

-- There are some things that money can't buy - Manners, morals and integrity

View GerardoArg1's profile

GerardoArg1

940 posts in 1455 days


#10 posted 12-10-2014 07:10 PM

Great Idea. Congratulations for the dowels and thank for share.

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View CFrye's profile

CFrye

8738 posts in 1301 days


#11 posted 12-11-2014 06:38 AM



I am just not sure how easy it would be to drill holes in it.

- George_SA


That was the next question!

-- God bless, Candy

View George_SA's profile

George_SA

298 posts in 1674 days


#12 posted 12-11-2014 11:25 AM

CFrye
In Afrikaans (my mother tongue) we have a saying “probeer is die beste geweer” meaning give it a try.

I assume the saw blade will be a harder than normal mild steel so you will have to be careful of work hardening that occurs when you let the steel get too hot. Keep it cool with plenty of water or oil. This is especially a problem when there is chrome added to the steel (stainless steel), but it might also occur on a saw blade. If the steel is too hard however then you will need to anneal it first to drill the hole and then do heat treatment to harden it again afterwards. You might rune your drill bit also if the steel is too hard. Just be gentle at first to see if the drill will cut. If it doesn’t cut, don’t force it because that will just destroy the drill bit. If it cuts use plenty of oil or water and drill slowly.

If you wan’t to try your hand at heat treatment of steel have a look at the two articles on my heat treatment Pinterest board or you could Google heat treatment for the hobbyist or laymen. The techniques described there is also useful to restore a chisel that has lost it temper on a grinder (when it turns blue due to heat build up) in the sharpening process.

Let me know how you make out.

-- There are some things that money can't buy - Manners, morals and integrity

View George_SA's profile

George_SA

298 posts in 1674 days


#13 posted 12-11-2014 07:23 PM

I tried some hardwood square stock (Rosewood that I am busy making a jewelry box with)
It worked quite well. I find that a stepwise reduction works best. For 6mm dowels I start with square stock 7mm which I put through a 7mm hole and then a 6.5mm and the final pass 6mm. The dowels are a bit rough which can be smoothened with a light touch of sandpaper. I prefer the rough dowels as it gives a better surface for gluing. What I like about this method is that it is super accurate. If you want a 6mm dowel you get a 6mm dowel. not 6,1 or 5,9 but 6mm. If you want a little bit of play on the dowel (e.g. for the hinge pins on the wooden hinges) you just use sandpaper.

Up to now I have been using scrap pieces of steel 1,6 mm laying around in my shop. I want to try a thicker piece of steel say 3mm or maybe even 5mm to see how that works.

-- There are some things that money can't buy - Manners, morals and integrity

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