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Shop-made dowels the easy way

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Blog entry by stefang posted 1879 days ago 1456 reads 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

If you want to make your own dowels without having to set-up and use a router table, here is a good way to do it. Get yourself a piece of bar steel measuring approx. 1-1/2”wide X 12” long and about 3/8” thick ( can’t give advice on tempering, I just use mild steel). Drill holes along the length of the bar at 45degree angles in the size you want the dowels.

  • When I want to make a dowel, I put the steel bar in my bench end vise where there is good clearance under my bench. I cut a square stick a little larger than the diameter of the dowel size I want and about 20” long. I whittle both ends down a little. Try to keep the tapered ends fairly centered. The one end goes in the hand drill chuck and the other end goes in the 45 degree hole. Then with the drill going , I push the stock through the hole until I get close to the drill chuck. The angle of the hole drilled in the steel bar leaves a very sharp edge on top of the hole which cuts the stock while it is revolving through the hole.

Important:* The end of the dowel coming through the bottom of the steel plate can sometimes whip around a little, especially if the chuck isn’t tight enough. I solve this problem by wearing a glove on my free hand and lightly hold around the emerging dowel to steady it.

When done with the above operation, I cut off dowel lengths in a little jig. After that I bevel the ends on each dowel on my belt sander, then I use a carving knife to cut a lengthwise ‘V’ channel in each dowel so glue can escape. You can also hold the the dowel between your thumb and forefinger and run it along a fine toothed saw to do the same thing. i think the knife is safer myself.

I usually make up several blanks and do them all at one time for efficiency. It goes really fast. Hope you find this useful and economical.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.



9 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2174 days


#1 posted 1879 days ago

Hey stefang
thanks for the info

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View cabinetmaster's profile

cabinetmaster

10874 posts in 2155 days


#2 posted 1879 days ago

LOL…...........Looks like Stefgang forgot something or his mrs. caught him…......................LOL

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View degoose's profile

degoose

6970 posts in 1952 days


#3 posted 1879 days ago

We are waiting

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ lazylarrywoodworks.com.au For lovers of all things timber...

View Karson's profile

Karson

34853 posts in 2997 days


#4 posted 1879 days ago

Talk about leaving us hanging.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View tenontim's profile

tenontim

2131 posts in 2341 days


#5 posted 1879 days ago

I get the idea. I have a dowel plate with the holes drilled at 90 degrees and the dowels usually come out at 45 degrees by time I get them pounded through. But thanks for the info.

View patron's profile (online now)

patron

12955 posts in 1938 days


#6 posted 1879 days ago

nice twist on an old tilt !
for the groves i make a wooden block and run screws through sides exposing point in hole .
then pound dowel down through to leave grove in side of dowel .
another i’ve heard of is a hole in steel plate and use nail punch around your 90deg. hole to leave an “ear ”
on edge of hole , then pound dowel through . i would do this after your method to grove the sides .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View stefang's profile

stefang

12560 posts in 1931 days


#7 posted 1879 days ago

Good idea David. That’s what I like about woodworking. There’s so many ways to do things and still get a good result.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View degoose's profile

degoose

6970 posts in 1952 days


#8 posted 1879 days ago

Every man and his dog has a different way to do the same thing..me I just buy dowel If and when I need it..lazy Larry I know…

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ lazylarrywoodworks.com.au For lovers of all things timber...

View stefang's profile

stefang

12560 posts in 1931 days


#9 posted 1879 days ago

I guess I should have called my blog ‘Scrooge Dowels’.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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