LumberJocks

All Replies on dowels are TOO tight. What to do?

  • Advertise with us
View spaids's profile

dowels are TOO tight. What to do?

by spaids
posted 05-26-2009 08:26 PM


39 replies so far

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2645 days


#1 posted 05-26-2009 08:28 PM

Either sand or get a new 1/2” bit.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5373 posts in 2241 days


#2 posted 05-26-2009 08:30 PM

try a half inch drill lip and spur is good and see if that helps.You need to make the hole bigger the dowel can’t be made smaller realistically easily so keep trying with a standard drill. Actually I never heard of anyone using a forstner for dowels although it’ should work fine what made you go down that route in the first place

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View SplinteredBoard's profile

SplinteredBoard

59 posts in 2263 days


#3 posted 05-26-2009 08:31 PM

Waid,
What did you do to get the walnut ‘bar’ centered on the middle of the back dowels? Did you get those together? Or are you just trying to get the dowel ends into one of the pieces first?

I would probably try sanding, but even then, there’s no room for expansion when you finally get them in the mortises.

Have you tried taking a sharp chisel to the ends? I’m not saying that’s the best way to go, but I’ve done it in the past. Yeah, it looked messy, but I got them in the mortises.

Again, though, think about the bar you have to slip over half of the dowels in the back…

-Rick

-- Splintered Board Podcast - Woodworker Un-extraordinaire

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 2401 days


#4 posted 05-26-2009 08:32 PM

It’s usually better to have them a little on the tight side, especially if you’re only driving them in 1/2”. Could be your dowels and not your bit. Most of the dowels you buy are imports and they are closer to a metric size than standard.

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 2350 days


#5 posted 05-26-2009 08:37 PM

Scotsman: I a complete uneducated and inexperienced newcomer. So I just try the first thing that comes to mind. I needed flat bottom 1/2” holes and grabbed a forstner bit. If there is a better way I’d love to learn.

Rick: I’m good with that bar in the back. I took a piece of 1/4” dowel and wrapped it in sandpaper and chucked it up in my drill press. Since that back piece has holes all the way through I just slipped it on on the little dowel and sanded the inside of the wholes.

So is this the result of a cheap forstner set?

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

349 posts in 2329 days


#6 posted 05-26-2009 08:48 PM

Waid, I’m facing the exact same situation myself (3/8” though). Was going to address it this evening and try to come up with a solution. Your’s is a great idea!! Thank you!!

BTW, I did put a caliper to the dowels and found that three coats of poly was just enough to make them too big for a comfortable fit.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112104 posts in 2233 days


#7 posted 05-26-2009 08:50 PM

Hey spaids
Your problem could be that your dowels have been storied were it’s moist and have swelled a little bit so if you put them in a micro for a short time that might help and or your forstner bit is under size. I think you could have chucked your dowel in your drill press and sanded them as well. Good thinking on your aproach.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View printman's profile

printman

72 posts in 2730 days


#8 posted 05-26-2009 08:53 PM

I don’t know when you were working on that project but with St. Louis weather (Rain every three or four days) maybe your dowels swelled from the humidity. Do you keep them in a dry place?

-- St. Louis - just a cut away from finishing!

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 2350 days


#9 posted 05-26-2009 09:06 PM

Hey man I’m just down the road from you (O’Fallon) and I was working on this project this weekend and you know it was raining the whole time. Hmmmmm…

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15698 posts in 2875 days


#10 posted 05-26-2009 09:18 PM

They should be snug, but if they really don’t fit, either your dowel is too big (moisture or poor manufacturing), or your hole is too small. :-)

There is no need for a flat-bottomed hole since the dowels are not going all the way to the bottom anyway. A standard twist drill or brad-point bit will be easier to work witj, and a little wiggle when drilling will give you a bit bigger hole to accept the dowel.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2183 days


#11 posted 05-26-2009 09:30 PM

I have bought several dowels from the same store at the same time and most of them were all different sizes, not by much but enough to want to turn some of them into kindling. ...also, if you heavily flute the dowels that too will add in their instalation and getting past that piston thing.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2956 days


#12 posted 05-26-2009 09:46 PM

I some times crimp the dowels with a pliers to shrink them.

They will swell back to normal when glued.

This is the way they make biscuits for joining with a biscuit joiner.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1140 posts in 2648 days


#13 posted 05-26-2009 10:03 PM

You might also try sawing/filing/chiseling some grooves in the dowel (if they don’t already have grooves) because if they are air tight, and there is nowhere for the air/glue to go…

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View kerflesss's profile

kerflesss

182 posts in 2024 days


#14 posted 05-26-2009 10:23 PM

Hi Spaids, Drill a hole in a piece of steel the same as the drilled hole and run you dowels through it. I use my vintage WWII drill gage which has all the sizes I need…

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 2350 days


#15 posted 05-26-2009 10:32 PM

Randy,

What solution are you referring to? I’ve come up with nothing yet. That sandpaper wrapped down thing is only good for the through cuts and I think I got that idea from Rick.

There are some very good ideas on this thread. I think if I’m not able to crimp the ends I’ll try cutting the thinnest kerf I can in the end.

Should the kerf go with the grain or against it? I’m guessing the dowel could split over time if I do this wrong.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View mtnwild's profile

mtnwild

3474 posts in 2184 days


#16 posted 05-26-2009 10:32 PM

I do what Dick and Barb said. Gives more glue surface too.
I usually touch up dowels before using. Soft wood dowels will swell. But I’m in the moist NW.

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2645 days


#17 posted 05-26-2009 10:38 PM

Great idea Dick!

I never thought of that.

I don’t hardly ever use dowels, but I will remember that.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View FJPetruso's profile

FJPetruso

303 posts in 2366 days


#18 posted 05-26-2009 11:46 PM

Hi Spaids…

I had a problem with oversized dowels when making one of my rojects. Since the dowels were oversized they didn’t thread properly. I found this item at the Japan Woodwoker. You might look into using one of these dowel rounding planes or make your own dowels with a router or molding head.

http://www.japanwoodworker.com/product.asp?s=JapanWoodworker&pf_id=99.017.04&dept_id=13621

-- Frank, Florissant, Missouri "The New Show-Me Woodshop"

View jcsterling's profile

jcsterling

340 posts in 2241 days


#19 posted 05-27-2009 02:06 AM

I agree with Jim. Put the dowels in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds to get some of the swelling down.

-- John , Central PA , www.jcsterling.com on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/JC-Sterling-fine-furniture/104430802928776

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1474 posts in 2781 days


#20 posted 05-27-2009 07:02 PM

Yeah, I have a Toast-R-Oven™ in the shop for biscuits and Dominos, but I’m betting tossing the dowel in an oven at 160-180F for a few minutes would probably solve your issue quickly and easily.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 2350 days


#21 posted 05-27-2009 07:18 PM

Hmmm I will be cooking up some Dowel casserole very soon.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2678 days


#22 posted 05-27-2009 07:48 PM

Don’t fit em in too tight or they could split your wood later whent he humidity shifts.

damhikt.
Biscuits can pucker the surface of your work too so a sloppy fit is better there too.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

349 posts in 2329 days


#23 posted 05-27-2009 08:43 PM

Waid,

I tried wrapping sandpaper around a dowel last night, using double-stick tape on a 1/4 dowel to help open a 3/8” through hole. On Oak, it was not worth the effort on 20 pieces. I resigned to re-drill my current 3/8” through hole with a 7/16 bit, but left about 1/16 of the hole at 3/8. In other words, I didn’t drill the entire hole with the 7/16 bit.

I found that I get a tight fit with the 1/16 to hold it in place, and the extra 1/16 on the rest of the hole gave me some glue area.

For the Fortsner “non-though” hole, I didn’t have a 7/16 bit, so I made it at 3/8 and will sand down the dowel for a snug fit, then glue. Since my depth is only 5/8” deep, this will not be a lot of work.

trophy

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 2350 days


#24 posted 05-27-2009 09:09 PM

Randy

When I wrapped the dowel I used spray glue on both the dowel and the back of the strip of sandpaper. It worked well for what I was doing but it was tedious and time consuming. I only did it on 5 holes though.

Is that a Frisbee golf trophy? .... Nice!

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View kimball's profile

kimball

323 posts in 1953 days


#25 posted 05-28-2009 07:23 PM

Lie- Neilson has a dowel sizing plate.
Good Luck,
Kimball

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2678 days


#26 posted 05-28-2009 07:34 PM

NEVER BUY ANOTHER DOWEL!


http://www.fine-tools.com/duebelherstellung.htm
OR
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=52401&cat=1,180,42288
BOB

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

529 posts in 2137 days


#27 posted 05-28-2009 07:49 PM

If you’re doweling joints, you could also check this out:

http://www.woodcraft.com/product.aspx?ProductID=146449&FamilyID=5410

It cuts the groves in the sides of the dowl, can also make it a little easier to tap into the hole.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 2350 days


#28 posted 05-28-2009 08:02 PM

Well this is how I took care of it.
Belt Sander

After closer inspection these dowels were NOT round. Go figure! So I decided that , although nuking em would have been quick and easy, sanding was merited.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2956 days


#29 posted 05-28-2009 08:05 PM

Fluted dowels are better because they won’t hydraulic and split your board.

Crimping them with a mechanics plier is the same as fluting.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1000 posts in 2038 days


#30 posted 05-28-2009 09:55 PM

I don’t think I saw anyone recommend what I would do, which probably says a lot about the sanity of what I would do :) I’d chuck the dowels in my drill, hold some sand paper on the end, and drive them for a moment to sand the ends quickly.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2654 posts in 2183 days


#31 posted 05-28-2009 10:13 PM

Gary I’m with ya there but I use the drill press and a sanding block, (when needed).

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 2350 days


#32 posted 05-28-2009 10:29 PM

Hey guys thats funny! I did try that. I chucked one up in my drill press and ran it. It did work but for me it didn’t work great. If I had adjusted the drill speed maybe it would have worked better for me.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5373 posts in 2241 days


#33 posted 05-28-2009 10:32 PM

Sorry I didn’t read your post properly I thought of dowelling full hidden dowels not just using the drill to make a tenon this is not dowelling as such then maybe it is just the slight difference between out languages technically yes it’s dowel rod. Anyway if I had read it correctly in the first place I would have reccomended what you eventually did your self.So you see your just like me a damn genius LOL well done there’s a bit of Scottish blood somewhere in your veins Bonnie lad LOLregards Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5107 posts in 1965 days


#34 posted 05-28-2009 10:39 PM

I just drilled 84 holes for 42 dowels to edge glue a table top. Sheeesh! I’m buying a biscuit joiner tomorrow. I had to sand about 17 of the dowels to get a good fit. I bought a new brad point bit afterwards and it does make for a better fit but who’s to say what will happen when I buy my next bag of dowels. Too many variables. Best to make my own dowels.

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 2350 days


#35 posted 05-29-2009 02:00 PM

Aye Scotsman!

Greg… dude… 42 dowels to edge glue a table top! ouch. GET A BISCUIT JOINER! I’d say you earned it. My porter cable biscuit joiner would have done that job in about 5 minutes.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2678 days


#36 posted 05-29-2009 02:07 PM

I have read repeatedly that our modern glues are stronger than the wood they join in most cases.
It is also suggested that dowels and biscuits be used for alignement rather than strength.

I just wonder if we are on the wrong track here with trying to snug up these dowels to compensate a weak joint?

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 2350 days


#37 posted 05-29-2009 02:20 PM

Bob,

I have done a poor job explaining what I’m doing. You’re right about the strength issue and I too have heard the gospel of modern glues. I think if you are using dowels for alignment though, wouldn’t a correct fit be more important then in any other dowel use situation? If I was to glue up an edge glue situation I would use naive blind faith in my biscuit joiner. I say naive because of my lack of experience. In my situation here let me post a pick of my goal.

TSDC Desktop Organizer Contest Entry

I should have posted this right away! Sorry about that guys. Thanks for the tremendous support with this quesiton. I’ve gained a great deal of dowel tricks from this thread.

PS notice the smaller dowels in the sides. I placed those there for strength no alignment. I feared the strength of a glue joint alone there because there is only end grain to long grain contact.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2678 days


#38 posted 05-29-2009 02:58 PM

I thought you were talking about these:

Turns out you are using these:

One is semi precison hardwood like beech etc the other is probably off shore from China and is approximate at best and most likely smells moldy if you sniff it.

It so much easier if you give us a pic before you ask a question so we can be more helpfull .

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2956 days


#39 posted 05-29-2009 04:53 PM

If you want a perfect, & strong edge to edge glue joint, get one of these edge to edge router bits.

You’ll never need dowels or biscuits again. I’ve glued a lot of things this way.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase