Shop-made dowels the easy way

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Blog entry by stefang posted 05-31-2009 09:38 PM 1980 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


117063 posts in 3543 days

#1 posted 05-31-2009 09:43 PM

Hey stefang
thanks for the info

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3524 days

#2 posted 05-31-2009 10:01 PM

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


7228 posts in 3321 days

#3 posted 05-31-2009 10:03 PM

We are waiting

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4366 days

#4 posted 05-31-2009 10:05 PM

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 soon moving to Virginia †

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3710 days

#5 posted 06-01-2009 12:10 AM

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


13600 posts in 3307 days

#6 posted 06-01-2009 04:21 AM

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


15881 posts in 3300 days

#7 posted 06-01-2009 11:14 AM

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


7228 posts in 3321 days

#8 posted 06-01-2009 11:32 AM

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

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3300 days

#9 posted 06-01-2009 03:04 PM

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

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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