Wood dowels at LowDepot

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by Brett posted 07-30-2012 02:55 PM 2867 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


668 posts in 3138 days

07-30-2012 02:55 PM

I’m building a Roubo bench and must soon begin to think about my drawbored mortise-and-tenon joints. For simplicity sake I will probably make my drawbore pegs from dowels rather than riving and shaping my own. A reference book suggests using white oak dowels for drawbore pegs. The dowels sold at places like Lowest and Home Depot are listed as “oak”. They don’t look like red oak to me, but I don’t know whether they are white oak. As beginning, I’m not always sure when I can deviate from certain details of construction. Can anyone tell me how to determine whether a dowel is made from white oak, or where I can buy known white oak dowels?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

6 replies so far

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3290 days

#1 posted 07-30-2012 03:00 PM

I think it is close to accurate but when I needed some white oak dowels I grabbed the whole batch and looked at which ones were the lightest color, I kept doing this till I had the 5 I needed which were probably white oak. I don’t know of a better way to tell the difference.

-- A posse ad esse

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 3005 days

#2 posted 07-30-2012 03:05 PM

I would make sure they are riven dowels and not cut. With a riven dowel the grain runs the full length, with a cut one like you get from the box store the grain will more than likely run out at some point in the dowel. Where it runs out you are just asking for it to snap instead of bend like it needs to. You can buy riven dowels online and at some woodcrafts, never seen it in a lumber yard.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View treaterryan's profile


109 posts in 2742 days

#3 posted 07-30-2012 03:16 PM

Every piece of Oak I have ever seen at HD or Lowes has been Red Oak. Look at the endgrain, if it has lots of OPEN pores, it is Red Oak. White Oak contains tyloses in the pores, which is like a resin filling the pores. Look up pictures on google of Red Oak endgrain and White Oak endgrain, you’ll see the difference.

-- Ryan - Bethel Park, PA

View Brett's profile


668 posts in 3138 days

#4 posted 07-30-2012 03:18 PM

I wonder if I could just buy dowels with mostly straight grain and just not use the parts where the grain is wavy or at an angle to the length of the dowel.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 3005 days

#5 posted 07-30-2012 03:27 PM

You can try it, it might work fine. It also may break in middle of beating it in making for a fun day.
Personally, I would just buy a small piece of steel there, drill some holes in it and rive them out. Only takes a few minutes, but if you look very carefully at the grain it might work just fine.

Also, I’d bet 100 to 1 that it is all red oak there. White oak is much denser, a whole different ball game than red oak, probably closer to rock maple than red oak on a property sheet.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Walnut_Weasel's profile


360 posts in 3677 days

#6 posted 07-30-2012 03:35 PM

I used store bought oak and walnut dowels. I had no problems. Don’t get caught up in ‘perfect’. Any wood that is as hard or harder than cherry should work fine. If you are worried about splitting the dowel then wax them before driving them in.

-- James -

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics