One solution for making dowels

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Review by mole posted 05-21-2010 11:01 PM 8313 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
One solution for making dowels One solution for making dowels One solution for making dowels Click the pictures to enlarge them

I was looking for some solutions to make my own dowels so I can use them in some joineries and wood threading task. So far, some of the solutions that I found are.. wood turning, rotary plane (commercial or hand made). dowel/tenon cutters. I have tried a simple wood turning method (using electric power drill) which result in acceptable dowels (may be it will be perfect if I have a real (metal?) lathe. Anyway, using turning method, it takes quite some time for me, so here comes the Veritas dowel/tenon cutters.

First of all, the cutter (lower left, in the bottom, in the picture) is .. like a fat industrial-grade heavy-weight pencil sharpener :)) The blade is supplied with a 30° bevel ground in a 7” radius. It is very simple to use, first you read Veritas’s user manual :} ,set up the cutting blade properly, prepare a long piece of wood with its size a little larger (1/8”) than the target dowel size. May be chamfer the square wood a little bit, then you drive the wood through the cutter using some kind of forces (electric powered drill, hand drill). With proper speed ,torque power, driving alighment, sharp blade (I didn’t sharpen the blade yet), proper blade setting (test the setting before real dowel production), then you will get a nice dowel rod. I’m not sure, but in my case, there are some spiral blade mark on the dowel rod (looks like I make a very shallow thread pattern). May be it is caused by the blade setting, or the driving method that I use (turtle speed via man power + high torque using bit brace). Hence, you may like to sand the dowel rod a little bit..

For the result (in the piccy): I use the 1/2” cutter to make the 3 long dowel rods in the middle. The dark brown rod is not a real wood, it is wood plastic composite (WPC) though. I’m going to use them in wood threading (making some wooden screw,..etc). You will see the spiral blade mark on the long brown rod, nooo it is not created by wood threading like the two short brown threaded rods next to it. The 2 white dowel rods look quite nice, after I sand them a little bit. The 3 fluted dowels in the upper right corner are made by 3/8” cutter with the flute former plate.

The Veritas cutters do help me produce my dowel rod easily in short period of time. Eventhough it has been made for using with power drill, but, I prefer to use it with my bit brace :P The design of the body does include reference stops to help with alignment when you clamp the cutter on to your vise. I didn’t make any outfeed support/guide block yet since I don’t have a longer wood piece to play with at the moment, and I prefer to use the cutter vertically due to the use of bit brace.

Additional driving accessories: Four-sided square sockets are very helpful in driving wood piece through the cutter. You may need to get the 1/4 hex shank socket adapter if you are going to use power drill,
or brace driver adapter (about 3/8” shank) for 3/8 socket if you will use bit brace.

View mole's profile


33 posts in 4031 days

5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4582 days

#1 posted 05-21-2010 11:04 PM

Thanks for the reveiw looks like a winner


View twokidsnosleep's profile


1130 posts in 3979 days

#2 posted 05-22-2010 08:46 AM

That is really cool technique. I am a big fan of Veritas tools, though pricey, they are usually worth it.
The brace drill is exactly like one my dad had and I used it as a child.
That drill, a hand plane and an eggbeater drill all disappeared from my parent’s home after he died. Stupid to be sentimental, but I fooled around with those tools as a kid and thought I would wind up with them.
Now I am slowly building up tools and a shop with my 8yr old son and I promise everything to him.
Sorry to digress this thread, thanks for the pics :)

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4080 days

#3 posted 05-22-2010 03:35 PM

I have one of these. It works as you describe. However, I find that the dowel produced is quite rough and a fair amount of sanding is required to make a smooth dowel. I also find that the tool produces something smaller than the 3/8” dowel it is suppose to produce. I’ve always used mine with a power drill that I run quite slow.

I only use this on the rare occasions that I cannot buy a dowel in the wood I desire. This is the only way (other than the lathe) I know of to get an exotic wood dowel.

I consider it an okay tool, but I would not give it 5 stars.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View scopemonkey's profile


191 posts in 5169 days

#4 posted 05-23-2010 05:39 PM

Thanks for the review. Another method is to use a roundover router bit on the router table. Cut a piece of stock square to the diameter you need, then use a bit with a radius one half the size. Set the bit height and fence and then ease the stock into the bit starting and stopping the cuts short of the ends to leave them square. Rotate and repeat for all sides. Cut the square ends off and you have a dowel or any wood you want. Whiteside sells 1/8”, 3/16, 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2” roundovers to produce 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, and 1” dowels.

-- GSY from N. Idaho

View Goodsh's profile


92 posts in 2925 days

#5 posted 12-10-2018 06:40 PM

I just got this and thought I’d add a quick note to this conversation rather than doing a separate review. I love this thing! I bought it after I couldn’t get results from their dowel former (of the type with the plate you pound an oversized rod through).

I’d give this 5/5 for sure. The first two rods I tried didn’t work well. The pieces I was drilling through the tool actually both broke so it didn’t seem good at first. I think the issue was that per the instructions it is important that the blade is skewed slightly so it is tighter to the mouth closer to the outfeed side. Once I did that and flattened the back of the blade and honed it I got great results. With some adjustment on the skew I’m actually getting results in mahogany that don’t need any sanding afterwards. Anyone having issues should sharpen the blade and play with the skew. A minor change in skew really changes the results – from the rod jamming and getting completely stuck to nice smooth results. I can make a perfect 24” dowel in about 5 – 10 seconds. I’m really impressed. I’d say it took 15 minutes of honing and 5 minutes of fine tuning the skew.

Regarding the comment above that the result is smaller than 3/8ths I didn’t have that issue but I would also note that the blade is adjustable so that should not be a problem. In testing sizing I’ve been able to adjust mine to get dowels from slightly under or over 3/8 thickness (by at least 0.01” but could probably do more if I wanted to).

Awesome tool.

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