|Project by galooticus||posted 06-20-2016 05:07 PM||1107 views||2 times favorited||5 comments|
I decided to try to come up with a way to make dowels (mainly for drawboring) without buying any more tools (!), and of course using only the few hand tools I have so far. A quick search turned this up:
I decided to try something similar, minus the power tools.
First I took a piece of scrap, cut two pieces the same size, and glued them face to face to make a block of double thickness. I have a set of oldish Irwin auger bits, so first I made a 5/16” hole about halfway through the thickness of the block. I then continued that hole through with a smaller 4/16” bit. I bored as close as I dared to the edge of the block; on my first attempt I was too close and the bit wandered out the side of the block.
Next I planed the side of the block nearest the hole until I had just exposed the edge of the smaller 5/16” part of the hole. This looks pretty rough (pictures 2 and 3); I don’t think auger bits are the best for this application. Despite that, it actually works pretty well! Planing was a bit of trial and error—I stopped a bit short, then tested it out, took another thin cut, and repeated until it worked.
You clamp a chisel tightly across a wider part of the hole, then insert a rough-shaped stick (picture 4) and start turning carefully. Tapering the end of the stick a bit so it fits immediately into the smaller part of the hole helps to get things started (picture 1). For best results, go slow and avoid taking heavy shavings. After a little bit, the stick/dowel starts to get hard to turn, so I just tightened my brace down on the end. Be careful not too push too much with the brace (barely at all); otherwise you’ll take too much of a cut and the dowel will splinter.
I made a second hole on the other side of the block going from 6/16” to 5”16. You can make any size dowel you have drill bits for. I found that starting with the 6-5 hole and going to the 5-4 hole gave really nice results (picture 6). The dowel is smooth enough that it looks burnished in places.
I tried a hole that went from 6/16” to 4/16”. It was much harder to get a clean dowel with this larger diameter change without splitting the stick with the brace. The 1/16” difference works better.
The end result is surprisingly good dowels from a pretty crude looking setup using only brace, bit, and chisel.
I’ll make more sizes as needed. I’ll probably use a harder wood for the block (this scrap seemed slightly denser than alder) as well. I’m thinking of trying a tapered reamer to make a similar setup for forming tapered tenons, maybe good enough for the projects in Anarchist’s Design Book?
-- Andy in CA