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Dowel plate - how to?

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Forum topic by klinkman posted 04-21-2021 06:14 PM 383 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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klinkman

93 posts in 959 days


04-21-2021 06:14 PM

Hey all,
So I’m attempting to use this dowel plate to make some decorative tusks for a tusked mortise and tenon joint:

https://www.lie-nielsen.com/products/dowel-plate-standard

My issue is getting straight dowels or one without a flat side. I think it’s the material I’m trying, so looking for suggestions on best practices for this tool . . .

I want to make a 5/16” (.312”) x 2” dowel from contrasting wood for my cherry project. What I’m doing:

- split a ~5” x ~5/8 piece of straight grain maple or walnut along the grain, I use a chisel on the end and just start this, then tear it or push the chisel by hand to achieve the best “with the grain” split.
- Trim that piece square to about .325-330” (I’ve tried fatter material with same results)
- knock the corners off with a hand plane to make an octagon
- cut in half
- Sand one end round to get it started through the dowel plate.
- tap (!) it through with a hammer.

Most times more than half the dowel is perfect then I’ll get a bend or a flat spot. I need to net 6 perfect 1 3/4” dowels for my project. I’m assuming I’m not preparing the blank properly or choosing the right material.

Any suggestions?

No, I don’t own a lathe. ;)

thanks for any inputs!

-- Klinkman, hand tool enthusiast


11 replies so far

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1963 posts in 1524 days


#1 posted 04-21-2021 06:29 PM

Seems like your method should work. I do the same and just drive them thru. Maybe use a longer piece of wood. ??

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." MIke in CO

View Dave Mills's profile

Dave Mills

77 posts in 483 days


#2 posted 04-21-2021 06:30 PM

I don’t have any fantastic fix for the issue, but do use that plate quite often with pretty good results. A couple things I do differently:

- The dowel seems to be better in the middle, not as good at the ends. So I’d use longer pieces, say 12”
- You sand the end round, I “sharpen” it with a knife like it’s a pencil. I’m wondering if your blank is not getting itself centered in the plate.
- It there’s wood available in the blank, I first make a pass through the next larger hole in the plate, to get the corners knocked off
- You are using the plate with the printed numbers/cutting edge facing the wood blank…?

View SMP's profile

SMP

3991 posts in 990 days


#3 posted 04-21-2021 06:34 PM

If you want 5/16, don’t just wallop it through the 5/16, start at 3/8 or 1/2 and then step down. I thinknit was the Schwarz that had good instructions, let me see if I can find it.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3843 posts in 2882 days


#4 posted 04-21-2021 06:44 PM

What I do when making dowels is start hammering a piece through the next size up hole. If it survives that one I keep in the mix.
One more point I would like make is they don’t come out perfectly straight they actually are kinda wormy. But rived dowels hammered though a plate are superior then a dowel rod.
Here a pic of the last set I made

Good Luck

-- Aj

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klinkman

93 posts in 959 days


#5 posted 04-21-2021 06:51 PM

Thanks all for the replies, Yep, your advice coincides with the videos I just watched, work from larger to smaller holes, perhaps a longer piece. Will try that and see how it goes.

-- Klinkman, hand tool enthusiast

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

7694 posts in 1658 days


#6 posted 04-21-2021 07:04 PM

Follow this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZzi0IJsITg

-- Think safe, be safe

View klinkman's profile

klinkman

93 posts in 959 days


#7 posted 04-21-2021 07:24 PM

Love the Stanley 77 dowel maker, everyone could use one of those!

-- Klinkman, hand tool enthusiast

View SMP's profile

SMP

3991 posts in 990 days


#8 posted 04-21-2021 09:03 PM



Love the Stanley 77 dowel maker, everyone could use one of those!

- klinkman

Actually, kind of want to make one of these when i get some more free time, worth the watch, one of several designs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jG87WrArmE

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

7694 posts in 1658 days


#9 posted 04-21-2021 09:19 PM

Sharp guy there. Thought you had linked the wrong video for a bit. :-)

-- Think safe, be safe

View klinkman's profile

klinkman

93 posts in 959 days


#10 posted 04-21-2021 11:59 PM

thanks again all, suggestions were right on. Holding the longer blank perpendicular was also important for a good result.

Two 6”+ padauk dowels, happy with these. . .!

-- Klinkman, hand tool enthusiast

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1238 posts in 3902 days


#11 posted 04-22-2021 10:28 AM

Looks good. One thing I have found that you may (or not) want to experiment with is that I can get smoother, rounder dowels (but sacrificing a bit of strength since they’re no longer riven) by cutting the stock square on the table saw, chucking the square piece in a drill and then running it through the dowel plate. It’s especially useful for making longer dowels that would be likely to break while pounding them through the plate.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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