bending dowell rods

  • Advertise with us

« back to Designing Woodworking Projects forum

Forum topic by NaptownWood posted 06-03-2013 03:00 PM 3774 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View NaptownWood's profile


283 posts in 1296 days

06-03-2013 03:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig question shaping arts and crafts

Does anyone have any experience in steaming or boiling small dowell rods to shape them into twisted shapes? I am designing another roadster, but this time, like a nice Rat Rod, I’d like to have some nasty headers coming out of the hood, and running down the sides. I have been wanting to take some dowell rods, and put them in boiling water, or steam them in a small PVC tube.

The question is have you done this and how much could I contort a maple vs walnut dowell, say 1/4” in dia. Is it even possible to do without splintering the heck out of it?

On another note, anyone ever try to make a small wooden spring on the lathe? some coil over shocks would be cool too.

-- Witty signature line still pending

4 replies so far

View Loren's profile


8168 posts in 3071 days

#1 posted 06-03-2013 03:13 PM

It will not work well at all. You could bend perhaps
1/8” dowel on a hot pipe but you’ll get breakage
at less than a 90 degree bend a lot of the time. 1/4”
rod could be coaxed into a mild curve.

The problem with dowel rod is there is going to
be so much grain runout the rod will break easily.
You can improve your chances by splitting square
billets from boards. This way there is little

A piece with a square cross section can be bent
using a backing strap and then shaped to round

Instead I suggest you harvest green wood. You can cut
the exterior off and pull it through a 1/4” die to shape
it to a uniform diameter. Then bend it to shape and
let it dry like that.

View NaptownWood's profile


283 posts in 1296 days

#2 posted 06-03-2013 04:15 PM

Thats a great idea. I have a couple of huge maple trees n the back yard, and the new spring growth right now is still super supple and hasnt developed true bark yet. I shouldbe able to find quite a few pieces in the correct diameter range i need. I may try to use this technique to try and twist some smaller ones onto nails to make some springs for the shocks.


-- Witty signature line still pending

View bondogaposis's profile


3972 posts in 1774 days

#3 posted 06-03-2013 05:07 PM

You might try bamboo kabob skewers, they are a little shy of 1/8” and are pretty bendy when wet, but 1/4” maple, no way.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View NaptownWood's profile


283 posts in 1296 days

#4 posted 06-04-2013 01:07 AM

green maple bent.

still doesn’t do exactly what you want, but a damn sight better than billing a dowell rod.

Thanks Loren,


-- Witty signature line still pending

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