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Solid, accurate dowel plate

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Review by EarlS posted 08-27-2018 06:17 PM 1849 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Solid, accurate dowel plate Solid, accurate dowel plate Solid, accurate dowel plate Click the pictures to enlarge them

I finally broke down and bought this dowel plate because the dowels and plugs available on-line or at the local wood store are only nominally close to being round and accurate in the diameter.

I use the dowel plate to properly size plugs that come out of the drill press plug bit to the correct diameter. I also run short lengths of store bought dowels through the plate to correct diameter inconsistencies and roundness issues.

The dowel plate is set into the vise with a baggy under it to catch the plugs. The nice 2 lb hammer I received from Kelleycrafts (Thanks Dave!!) works well to pound the plugs through the plate with minimal effort. Plugs are 1/2” tall so I can hold them with my fingers while I get the plug started.

Lie Nielsen’s Description: Use Dowel Plate to easily make exact-sized dowels from any wood you choose. Also useful for making precise tenons on chair spindles. 51/8” long x 1½” wide x ¼” thick, made from surface ground A-2 Tool Steel, hardened to 60 Rc.

Holes are machined with a 6° clearance taper on the underside. Holes are straight for the first .025”, allowing you to sharpen them without affecting the hole size. Start with pieces whittled close to your desired diameter, chamfered at the leading end, and hammer it through the appropriate hole for perfectly sized dowels. Includes two mounting holes for No. 10 flat head screws.

Standard Dowel Plate makes 1/8”, 3/16”, ¼”, 5/16”, 3/8”, ½”, 5/8” dowels.

Pro’s: dowels come out of the dowel plate round with the correct diameter.

Cons: The mounting holes need to be further away from the dowel holes. As you can see from the pictures, the edges of the support blocks are almost into the 1/8” and 5/8” holes. 1/2” distance would allow for a 1” thick support block to be used.

The dowel plate isn’t cheap ($55) and the case is another $15. Seems to me that the plate should come with the case, not separate.

Other: I’m not too sure how to sharpen this when it comes time to do so.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"




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EarlS

2892 posts in 2771 days



9 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3890 posts in 1005 days


#1 posted 08-27-2018 07:49 PM

I got the same doweling plate. Did a different mount though. http://lumberjocks.com/DavePolaschek/blog/119289

Sharpening is basically flattening the top so the edges of the holes are sharp again.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5576 posts in 3666 days


#2 posted 08-27-2018 09:21 PM

My concern would be that the dowel comes out a perfect 1/4” or 3/8”. A dowel needs to be a few thous less in diameter than the hole. glue has to be able to work it’s way up around the dowel and without clearance, it won’t go in.

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

2892 posts in 2771 days


#3 posted 08-27-2018 10:20 PM

Mr Ron – the dowels/plugs that come out of the dowel plate fit just as you mentioned. The drill press plug cutter leaves them slightly over sized and the store bought dowels are a crap shoot.

Dave – I thought about a box but got lazy and grabbed the Ziploc bag. I got lost in the technical explanation Lie-Nielsen provided to explain how to sharpen the plate. Your version is a whole lot easier to understand.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

3890 posts in 1005 days


#4 posted 08-27-2018 11:41 PM

The big thing on sharpening them is that you don’t want to open up the hole any wider. I haven’t needed to touch mine yet, and don’t expect I’ll need to for years. The “edge” is basically a 90°︎ corner, so it’s not going to dull fast unless you bang on it with a metal hammer.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10858 posts in 1908 days


#5 posted 08-27-2018 11:48 PM

I think you pretty much lap it.

When I get one I’ll probably cover the bottom with a 2” block and slightly oversize the outfeed holes so maybe it’ll keep the dowel straight-er?

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View erdr86's profile

erdr86

26 posts in 329 days


#6 posted 08-28-2018 11:52 AM

I also run short lengths of store bought dowels through the plate to correct diameter inconsistencies and roundness issues.

-- http://carrollbuildingsolutions.com/blog/

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

2213 posts in 2452 days


#7 posted 08-29-2018 01:20 AM

This dowel plate is great. I have it installed in my joinery bench and used it to drawbore all my 4”-6” long dowels. It actually is not screwed down at all but sits recessed very snugly enough to not need screws. That may change over time.
Lapping is the way to sharpen it.
I also have slightly oversized holes under the plate, 4” in length. Keeps the dowels pretty straight.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

6225 posts in 2627 days


#8 posted 09-02-2018 07:49 AM

Ah all is revealed … now I know why the lump hammer is so shiny, its a brand spanker!

-- Regards Rob

View SFP's profile

SFP

36 posts in 1679 days


#9 posted 10-11-2018 03:05 PM

Might want to not use your dowel plate in a vise. That pounding will do a job on your vise!

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