How to roundover the end of a very narrow dowel rod...

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Forum topic by TMBMT posted 05-07-2014 04:28 AM 6428 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 1491 days

05-07-2014 04:28 AM

I have a project for which I’d like to find a way to roundover, very smoothly and in large quantity, the ends of about 1/2 long pieces of 1/8” dowel rods. I know for larger ones you can use a roundover bit with a router table, but I just can’t see that being practical here. I only need a dome, not a perfect sphere. Anyone know of a good & fast way to do this? I was hoping there was some sort of concave sanding bit I could find for a dremel or something but I’m not finding anything. Any ideas if it might work to drill an indent in a chunk of metal and then hammer the dowel piece down it to force one end round? I’m wanting to sink these into a hole and have the rounded part sticking out, for braille bumps, so they need to be smooth to the touch when I’m done, and preferably regular, and I’ll need quite a lot of them…

Any ideas appreciated.

24 replies so far

View dawsonbob's profile


2851 posts in 1752 days

#1 posted 05-07-2014 04:31 AM

Can’t you just chuck the dowel into the end of a drill and hold some sandpaper against it?

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

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12 posts in 1491 days

#2 posted 05-07-2014 05:40 AM

That wouldn’t give me a uniform dome on each one though (and it would be an awful lot of chucking and unchucking if I were trying to make 100 of them), I need to make a bunch that all have the same shape on the end.

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4983 posts in 2201 days

#3 posted 05-07-2014 06:13 AM

Oh yes a braille LJ emag on the way well done!

Close your eyes fellow LJs and hold out your hand for a surprise !!

You may wish to consider pre formed wooden pegs and cut them down to suit.

Otherwise go buy 100 rubber bumper feet and stick them on, as no matter which way you go it will be lots of work.

Failing those suggestions I have no eye dear,....oh how droll!!.... maybe ask a blind person you may be surprised with the answer.

I will be most interested in seeing the solution and results.

-- Regards Robert

View Ted's profile


2846 posts in 2208 days

#4 posted 05-07-2014 06:27 AM

Robert, what was that all about?

TMBMT, if you have a router table you can use a 1/4” round over bit and strategically positioned blocks to keep the dowel from kicking out, set it up so you can feed the end of the dowel into the bit as you rotate the dowel. It’s easier to picture in my head than to describe it, so I hope that makes sense. If you want I can make a quick sketch, but not till tomorrow after work.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View lunn's profile


215 posts in 2305 days

#5 posted 05-07-2014 11:16 AM

pencil sharpner

-- What started as a hobbie is now a full time JOB!

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1518 days

#6 posted 05-07-2014 12:35 PM

I like dawsonbob’s idea. You could learn to do them uniformly by hand.

Cut the rods in lengths of, say, 4” or 5”, put in the chuck, sand dome-shaped, then take a knife and cut off at 1/2” while it turns. Do the next one. You’d only have to turn off the drill press and chuck up 10 or 13 times.

View Gadabout55's profile


27 posts in 1907 days

#7 posted 05-07-2014 01:12 PM

I’m thinking maybe a Dremel grinding stone with a concave hollow at the end.

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8189 posts in 2573 days

#8 posted 05-07-2014 02:30 PM

Maybe a tumbler?

Thanks Ryan Haasen

View anneb3's profile


41 posts in 1550 days

#9 posted 05-07-2014 04:39 PM

buy them at ACE or where ever. Counter sink if necessary.

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1062 posts in 2846 days

#10 posted 05-07-2014 04:58 PM

+1 pencil sharpener or

pool cue tip shaper?

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3660 days

#11 posted 05-07-2014 06:07 PM

Check out this video by William Ng … he is doing square plugs, but the process should work with dowels as well:

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View TMBMT's profile


12 posts in 1491 days

#12 posted 05-07-2014 07:42 PM

Gadabout that’s what I was hoping to find, a dremel bit with a dome I could just push the dowel ends into for a few seconds each, not finding anything though. I’m also dealing with a disability that makes chucking and hand tools pretty hard to use, so I need to find something that’s as easy as possible on the hands, and doesn’t require me to hold things precisely to get a uniform shape.

I’m wondering if I can get a dapping dye and hammer the dowel chunks into that, wouldn’t be easy on my hands either but it would be simple enough I could maybe get someone else to do it for me. I may check out the pool cue shapers and see if that looks promising. I think a pencil sharpenter would be way too pointy, I’m hoping to get more of a dome than a point (unless there are sharpeners that round to a dome?).

I would just buy pegs but I can’t find any small enough.

I wonder what that tumbler would do with pieces of dowel, do you think it’d just shape the ends?

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12 posts in 1491 days

#13 posted 05-07-2014 07:45 PM

Oh and tedster I have a router and probably even have that roundover bit, and I understand what you’re saying about the guides, but I have had horrible luck trying to use small wood pieces with it, it always ends up chopping the wood up into chunks (and it’s a brand new bit).

View InstantSiv's profile


262 posts in 1592 days

#14 posted 05-07-2014 07:52 PM

I’ve had luck rounding over small items on a 1” belt sander. I take the platten off and make sure the belt is a little bit on the loose side. That makes sure that less material is removed and the belt conforms to material. You could do it by hand or chucked in a drill. Feed the end in at a 45 degree angle to remove the bulk of the corner. When you want to finish it ease off the pressure and at the same time use a slight back and forth movement.

Something else that might work is to chuck the dowel in a drill and use sand paper with foam underneath.

If you try it be sure to do a couple test pieces because there is a learning curve.

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12 posts in 1491 days

#15 posted 05-07-2014 08:15 PM

Hrm, I only have a large belt/disk sander right now. I might try chucking in the drill press with sand paper on foam, and see how that turns out, if I do the long pieces like Yonak was saying and cut as it turns, then I wouldn’t have to chuck over and over, and in the press it’d be hitting the foam/paper straight on so it should keep each piece fairly uniform.

I was looking at pool cue dyes but they’re almost all nickle or dime size, and I’m not sure that’d be enough of a dome at this small size.

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