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Dowels...had to make some

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Blog entry by BlueRidgeDog posted 12-27-2019 11:29 PM 787 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So my kid was moving some stuff out of the basement and I leaned a book case I was working on out of the way, somewhat precariously, and it ended up taking a fall. Some damage and a busted glue joint on one piece. Finish had not been applied, so i twill be an easy fix. The problem is to fix it will require dowels. People selling hardwood ones want a fortune. I looked at buying a dowel plate and they are $60.

So, I put some scrap metal in the press, punched out a series of holes and step down holes then sharpened them with a belt sander and an emery belt.

I ripped stock just over the size I needed (3/8 in this case), put a bit of a point on it and hammered it through from largest to the target size hole. Done…dowels in 20 minutes.

I am not certain of the advantage of buying a dowel plate, except that I assume the commercial ones are hardened.

The top left hole is a bit chattered, but it is a transition size, so no worries.



16 comments so far

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1132 posts in 754 days


#1 posted 12-27-2019 11:43 PM

Hardwood dowels cost a fortune? The size you required must be very unusual.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View BlueRidgeDog's profile

BlueRidgeDog

708 posts in 630 days


#2 posted 12-28-2019 12:03 AM

Okay, relative term. $7 plush shipping for one stick of walnut…other species simply can’t be had. Seems out of line for the product. In this case I will need some in Paduak and some in Wenge.

View Phil32's profile

Phil32

1132 posts in 754 days


#3 posted 12-28-2019 03:42 AM

If I were doing as dowel joint in exotic wood, I’d not have an exposed end. Do the joint with hidden dowels and plug the exposed dowel hole with the exotic wood. Better still, mortise the dowel hole to square and plug with a square peg of the exotic with beveled edges.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

View stefang's profile

stefang

17040 posts in 4185 days


#4 posted 12-28-2019 12:28 PM

here is another way to make dowels that is super easy.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View BlueRidgeDog's profile

BlueRidgeDog

708 posts in 630 days


#5 posted 12-28-2019 12:45 PM



If I were doing as dowel joint in exotic wood, I d not have an exposed end. Do the joint with hidden dowels and plug the exposed dowel hole with the exotic wood. Better still, mortise the dowel hole to square and plug with a square peg of the exotic with beveled edges.

- Phil32

I have used plugs and indeed that would be a simple solution to use common white oak dowels that can be had on the cheap here then go with a plug. I am trying to match the wood in this case, so there is no need for a plug. But I may use an oak dowel and use the ones I have made as plug stock as I have not had a plug cutter in years. In another area it will be an accent to go with existing marquetry. I like the square beveled edge look, but for this modern piece, it would be odd.

View BlueRidgeDog's profile

BlueRidgeDog

708 posts in 630 days


#6 posted 12-28-2019 12:49 PM



here is another way to make dowels that is super easy.

- stefang

Based on reading, it appears you made a similar jug but at 45 degrees? The images are no longer available. I have used a drill to push stock through and I bet that works even better with a 45 degree plate.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

3988 posts in 2073 days


#7 posted 12-28-2019 04:09 PM

You could spend $$$ on the one-trick-pony Woodpeckers dowel maker, but making your own plate for custom sizes is a fine idea. Store-bought dowels I’ve seen are rarely close to specified diameter, leaving a sloppy fit or needing an oddball drill diameter.

Commercial plates (i.e. Lee Valley) are hardened, but sanding as you did can restore an edge and unless you are making hundreds, it is a inexpensive solution!

View stefang's profile

stefang

17040 posts in 4185 days


#8 posted 12-28-2019 10:18 PM

Sorry about the missing pics. Yes, mild steel plate with the holes drilled at 45 deg. works very well. The angle leaves a sharp edge for the the work piece to turn against. When it eventually dulls you can just turn the plate over and use the other side with a fresh edge. I’ve been using mine for years and haven’t had to use the reverse side yet!

To drill the holes I just start the hole in a vertical position and the ease it into the 45 deg. angle. I use a plate that is about 5mm thick or slightly less than 1/4”. I cut a long stick slightly larger than the hole and then taper both ends with a knife, one end to fit into my hand drill and the other to get started into the hole. I hold the plate in my vise at an angle that will allow the stick to clear any obstacles. I usually make the sticks about 24” long and make a lot of extra dowels while I’m at it.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

5456 posts in 1671 days


#9 posted 12-29-2019 12:20 PM


You could spend $$$ on the one-trick-pony…
- splintergroup

Guilty as charged… far too many shekels “wasted” and what makes it worse is that some of us feeble minded sheep here in Australia get brainwashed by American ideas and occasionally finish up sacrificing our sane metric telemetry for the insane imperial monstrosity… so this bunny has both (and several other type of jigs).
Problem is that I make threaded rods of 1/2”+ dimensions and a hammer through jig would require a steam hammer to drive the timber and I just couldn’t afford the cost of diesel.
While I can turn a mean straight cylinder for about 50mm on my lathe, after that, it like a crinkle cut chip slicer.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

1409 posts in 578 days


#10 posted 12-29-2019 02:35 PM

The router method. Requires a little more set up though.

-- I only know... what I know....

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

3988 posts in 2073 days


#11 posted 12-29-2019 03:24 PM

Are you saying we are imperialists? 8^)

A good yankee would make the 1/2” hole (errr 12.7mm) and then use his trusty hydraulic wood splitter to force the issue.

Woodpeckers is great, so many must-have, last chance tools in nice foam lined cases. Gotta collect then all!

I’m still hoarding the aluminum PRL inserts…

View Jeremymcon's profile

Jeremymcon

415 posts in 1531 days


#12 posted 01-03-2020 05:37 PM



here is another way to make dowels that is super easy.

- stefang


Do you have an updated link to those images? They don’t show on the article anymore.

Making my own dowels in whatever wood I want is so satisfying! I do a lot of exposed pegs, so it’s nice to match (or deliberately contrast) the species I’m working with. I have a lie nielsen dowel plate, which is nice because it’s all marked and hardened steel. It was a gift though, so idk if I’d have spent the $60 on it myself or just gone the steel plate route.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

5456 posts in 1671 days


#13 posted 01-03-2020 06:32 PM


..... Are you saying we are imperialists? 8^).....
- splintergroup

Nah, never…. just crazy bonkers...

..... Woodpeckers is great, so many must-have….
- splintergroup

Did check out the Woodpeckers dowel maker, however, shied away from it when I saw one video that created what seemed to me as a punk dowel with rough sides… DOH! You idiot (no, not you… me)... you usually see the end of the dowel and a rough side would provide a better glue surface. DOH again!.

I did snap up the Veritas Dowel Maker.... It provides incredible micro adjustment… do I need it… maybe nah… BUT I CAN! Hmm! Someone should do a review! That mongrel comes in… yeah, bleeding imperial, but it can be adjusted to princely metric sizes….


..... I m still hoarding the aluminum PRL inserts…
- splintergroup

I’m still patching mine… It’s incredible how flying aluminium swarth is a fair indication that you are using the wrong diameter hole….

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View BlueRidgeDog's profile

BlueRidgeDog

708 posts in 630 days


#14 posted 01-03-2020 11:08 PM

Wow…expensive ways to make dowels. I never knew. And I thought $50 was too much.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

5456 posts in 1671 days


#15 posted 01-04-2020 12:00 AM


Wow…expensive ways to make dowels. I never knew. And I thought $50 was too much.

- BlueRidgeDog


“True”, but sorry BRD, when you want the dowels for 2’+ length threaded wooden rods (larger diameter), rough enough is never good enough.

Unfortunately I worked my way up from cheap to expensive as no one bothered to do any reviews…. (not a go at anyone)! The expensive is a pain… it’s the wasted money on then cheap that I regret.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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