Reducing the diameter of wood dowl

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Forum topic by BBOSIDE posted 06-18-2012 06:11 PM 2751 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 1379 days

06-18-2012 06:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: ash turning shaping joining question

I currently building chairs and I’m using 1” wood dowels as components in the chairs.
The starting diameter of the Ash dowels are 1”.
I need to reduce the ends of each 1” dowel down to 15/16”.
The reduction lengths on the dowel needs to be 1” long.
As it will be joining a 4/4” piece of stock.
I do not own a lathe and have been sanding the ends with a sander.
To reduce the diameter as you can image this time consuming and difficult.
I also have no way to get constant results. So it fit nicely into the dowel hole.
The starting lengths of the dowels are 24 5/8” and need to be reduced on each end.

All suggestions are welcome. I ask buying a lathe is my last option.

10 replies so far

View Loren's profile


7967 posts in 2686 days

#1 posted 06-18-2012 06:40 PM

You can do it on the table saw with a round tenon method.
Pretty easy.


View Murdock's profile


114 posts in 1522 days

#2 posted 06-18-2012 07:16 PM

+1 for the table saw have done it a few times myself

-- "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

View ksSlim's profile


1135 posts in 1928 days

#3 posted 06-18-2012 10:18 PM

Ditto tablesaw/round tenon. Or with hand tools, score the shoulder and use shoulder plane or chisel, turning dowel while holding tool.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View Ryan Haasen's profile

Ryan Haasen

362 posts in 1439 days

#4 posted 06-18-2012 11:00 PM

I like that router jig!

-- Ryan

View Oldelm's profile


75 posts in 1213 days

#5 posted 06-18-2012 11:40 PM

There is a tool called a hollow auger that was used primairily for wood wheel spoke. I picked one up at a farm sale about 15 years ago for 5 bucks. It works with a brace and does a good job if the cutter is sharp and you don’t try to hog off a lot. Going from 1 to 15/16 is fairly easy. I checked e bay and saw a few, very pricey. I didn’t realize I owned some gold. They do make a similar thing for making “rustic furniture”. I do not have experience with those tools. I like the router jig also.

-- Jim, Missouri

View mtenterprises's profile


878 posts in 1731 days

#6 posted 06-19-2012 12:33 AM

I have used all these methods. Router or table saw both work about the same way and work well, I’d use a large dia. router bit or my dado head. But the hollow aguer now that’s the way to go. To get them to start you do need to put a slight tapper on the dowel, at least that’s the way mine works.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View chrisstef's profile


13246 posts in 2044 days

#7 posted 06-19-2012 12:38 AM

any way you could chuck it in your drill press?

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Dallas's profile


3555 posts in 1525 days

#8 posted 06-19-2012 12:52 AM

Drill a hole in a piece of steel 31/32” or even better 61/64” twist 1” dowel through the hole.
Cheap, easy and using the little bit of larger diameter allows you to have a tighter fit or sand it down to be perfectly sized.

Good Luck!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View BBOSIDE's profile


7 posts in 1379 days

#9 posted 06-19-2012 01:15 AM

Thank you all for your help. I will try it on my table saw with a stacked dado.

View rance's profile


4196 posts in 2198 days

#10 posted 06-19-2012 01:34 AM

I saw a guy do it on a bandsaw one time. Easy, cheap, and works a treat:

Start by adding a sacrificial fence on your bandsaw fence. Adjust your fence next to the blade(1/32 in your case). Slowly feed the dowel into the blade, rotating it clockwise. A stop block could be used to set the depth to your 1” requirement.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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