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.