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I get most of my wood from St. Charles Hardwoods here in St. Louis. They do have a selection of exotic dowels, but none listed on their site. I bought some a few years ago to make some wands :)
They didn't have a huge selection, but they did have wood like Purple Heart etc.

http://www.stcharleshardwoods.com/index.php
 

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Actually we (Woodworkers Source) do have dowel rods but nothing exotic beyond mahogany.

John, any particular wood type that you need in dowel form? I can imagine that the novelty of making your own dowels wears away quickly, but that may be your only real choice if 'dowels on demand' doesn't pan out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all of the replies!

Mark- So far I'm looking for Walnut (easy enough to find), Purpleheart, Zebrawood, and Bloodwood but that list will probably double over the next couple of months. Gonna give Dowels on Demand a shot I think. I'll give an update afterwards :)
 

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Dowels on Demand

dowelsondemand.com

Should be called "No dowels on demand." I ordered a single dowel from this guy. Doesn't really have an ordering process, just e-mail.

He responded, accepted the order, and then radio silence. Two weeks passed, I sent a follow up. No reply. Another 2 weeks, another follow-up. No reply. Another week, another follow up, and guess what? Yup - no reply.

The website has an extensive list of hard-to-obtain woods, but I suspect this guy's "inventory" is mostly in the form of trees,growing in a forest on some distant continent, that just MIGHT be harvested someday.

Don't waste your time. Zero stars out of ten.
 

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dowelsondemand.com

I actually buy dowels from them. They are not very communicative so it is a bit frustrating and I have given up asking questions or rather expecting an answer although I have actually spoken to someone once by phone and he was very helpful. However, it is the only place I know of where you can get such variety in small amounts at a reasonable price and I find the dowels to be great quality. Now I have not ordered any really exotic woods and I like them for the variety in sizes he offer because you can only get certain sizes in the U.S. even for standard woods unless you want to pay a premium for set up or ordering bulk.

I have no reason to believe he doesn't have what he says he has so give him another try. What I most need to know is what the species actually looks like sometimes because it is hard to tell from photos on the wood database so eg. is an american cherry the same as cherry from Canada, etc. I can ask but never get a reply so what I do is order stuff I know for sure and then either buy samples or ask for them. If he has, he will send it. Only other problem is you have to depend on Canada post and depending on where you are it might take a little time to get to you but so far, I have had no problem.

I wish I could find a source in the U.S.A for the diameters I use but have not been able to. My next objective is to find a school or class or something to learn how to make my own and what kind of equipment I would need. Sorry, all the how to videos on you tube and self-made tools won't work for me. In the meantime, I will continue to order from dowels on demand. I highly recommend them.
 

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I gave up on finding exotic dowels online a few years ago, so it was nice to see this post, I wish I had found Bell Forest Products site years ago.

Here is the expensive option for exotic dowels. Vertitas Dowel Maker jig is $200 for the 1" die and $40 for individual sizes, or the whole kit is $350.

The only think I like about spending this kind of money, is that any scrap of wood I have that is not made into a pen blank becomes a dowel. It also allows me to buy pen blanks when they are on sale and make dowels, but to be honest, except for some spindle work, the only exotic dowels I like anymore are Black & White Ebony and some spalted woods for the contrast within the dowel.

I would love to know what your application will be.
 

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I gave up on finding exotic dowels online a few years ago, so it was nice to see this post, I wish I had found Bell Forest Products site years ago.

Here is the expensive option for exotic dowels. Vertitas Dowel Maker jig is $200 for the 1" die and $40 for individual sizes, or the whole kit is $350.

The only think I like about spending this kind of money, is that any scrap of wood I have that is not made into a pen blank becomes a dowel. It also allows me to buy pen blanks when they are on sale and make dowels, but to be honest, except for some spindle work, the only exotic dowels I like anymore are Black & White Ebony and some spalted woods for the contrast within the dowel.

I would love to know what your application will be.

- magaoitin
Please explain how you can get a 5" pen blank through the Veritas jig you're linking to. I have it, am working to use it on a lathe, and without some exotic holding mechanism, you ain't gonna get a 5" long dowel from it without a lot of manipulation and grief.

Using the Veritas 3/8" dowel maker that I'm using now and as a prototype for the adapter I'm making, I adapted it to fit a PowerMatic 3520 lathe. Mounting the blank in the jaws, in under 1 minute I can make a 24" dowel on my lathe. They aren't the absolute prettiest, but for my applications, the dowels are just fine. The accuracy is consistent unless there is a slight wobble in the blank, then I lose maybe .010" on OD only where the wobble is.

John, what size dowels do you need for your projects? ............. Jerry (in Tucson)
 

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There's a guy on ebay I bought some purpleheart 3/4 dowels from. I asked if he could do bloodwood and he said yes.

I know. Old thread, but I already was ready to say somethin'
 
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