How to make decent long-ish dowels at an early home shop?

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Felipe

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I did watch a bunch of youtube videos, I didn't find a method that I could do with the few tools I got in hand, or that was safe enough. I saw people doing with router tables and rounding bits, even jogs to spin square wood on top of table saw blades (from "Merica"). I am mostly leaned to make a dowel cutting plate.

I wonder if you guys know any simple enough method to share?

I need 20mm dowels at around 80mm length...
I could buy them (assuming they are available), but then what would be the fun of it?
 

Jacob

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Dowel plate only good for short and rough dowels.
If you only need a few then you just need square 20mm stock and a plane. Draw a 20mm circle at each end and join them up. A bit of a cradle will help. Do it systematically - take off the corners to make an octagon section, take off the corners again, then finish with spokeshave, block plane, scraper, sand paper etc
 

Felipe

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Dowel plate only good for short and rough dowels.
If you only need a few then you just need square 20mm stock and a plane. Draw a 20mm circle at each end and join them up. A bit of a cradle will help. Do it systematically - take off the corners to make an octagon section, take off the corners again, then finish with spokeshave, block plane, scraper, sand paper etc
That sounds like fun! Will give it a try.
 

Jacob

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That sounds like fun! Will give it a try.
Helps if you score the circle line deep so that you can see when you get to it with the plane without having to peer at a pencil line on each end. Much more precise. The ideal marking tool would be a 20mm dia wad punch or similar, but dividers are good.
 

Ttrees

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I think this is the most comprehensive video from Rob on the subject, where he makes a dowel shave tool.
I wouldn't advise using a tablesaw like he does, you could get there with a hand plane easily.
 

JBaz

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When you say 20mm diameter dowels, that's quite big, so I'm wondering what you are going to do with them?

I have just completed a green-oak pergola using 15mm dowels/pegs to drive through the (offset) holes to bring the joints together. The oak was 150mm x 150mm so the pegs were 200mm (ish) long and trimmed flush once in place.

If you are doing the same kind of project, it's more important that the dowels follow the grain of the wood as this gives them the strength needed to take the shape of the offset holes without breaking. They are not going to be straight once installed anyway.

To make these (I needed 100 off) I chose wood with as straight a grain as I could find (in all directions). I cut them on a rip-saw to about 18mm square and then roughly turned them on a lathe to be just oversize. (I could have made them octagonal, but I have a lathe so I used it). I then drove them through a die that took them down to 15mm diameter. The die was shaped to follow the grain, but I still had quite a few failures

If it would be any help I can post pictures of the process and tools used, but I won't bore you with them if it's not relevant to your project.
 

Stevekane

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I recently used a method I found on the internet, a bit of steel plate with a 15mm hole drilled through it, the hole was around 10mm from the edge and I then hacksawed an angled cut down into one side of the hole, the long side of the slot was then bent with a cold chisel a little out of line and that was the tool,
Cut pieces of oak around 16mm square and anything up to 18ins long, trimmed to fit into chuck of a battery drill and front end pointed to poke into the hole in the plate, spin up the drill and lean a bit on it and through it goes producing nice round dowels and long stringy swarfe. The dowels to my mind were perfect as they had a pronounced spiral groove finish which was a little rough and I think would hold glue nicely, however I also did a few where I cupped some sandpaper around it whilst still in the drill and got nicely finished dowls but obviously undersized,,I just drilled smaller holes to suit these. The steel plate was very easy to knock up, Describing it makes it sound complicated, look for it on the internet, seeing it explains it simply which I cannot! Now my only concern would be if it would work with 20mm plus stock?
Btw, just as a matter of intrest, I think that in lots of situations the oak dowels are not nessesarily round, square pegs with corners roughly trimmed are knocked into round holes, the peg/hole deforming into a tight fit,,,is that correct or is it something Ive just drempt up!
Steve.
 

Rorschach

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Depending on the purpose of the dowels you can make reasonably good ones using old thread cutting dies. Choose a die with a minor diameter that matches the size you want, run the dowel through and then sand the threads down until you get the fit you want. Excellent for hidden glue ups as you have a textured surface for the glue.
 

paulrbarnard

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Dowel plate only good for short and rough dowels.
If you only need a few then you just need square 20mm stock and a plane. Draw a 20mm circle at each end and join them up. A bit of a cradle will help. Do it systematically - take off the corners to make an octagon section, take off the corners again, then finish with spokeshave, block plane, scraper, sand paper etc
80mm long in 20mm diameter is no problem with a dowel plate. I would be inclined to roughly have at it with a plane as you suggest then knock it through a 20mm hole.
 

xy mosian

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Dowel plate would be the way to go, for a smallish number. The choice being down to how long would it take to make them by hand, against the cost, and length of time, to sort something else out.

However not everyone has the means to drill a 20mm diameter hole in steel. I wonder if a suitable washer might be good enough for a quick and dirty trial run.
It would need supporting of course but that could be in wood.

I have seen, on the web, where else, that tines for rakes have been made using a sharpened tube. As that is a round the size of conduit, a friendly sparky might have an off cut.

geoff
 

Felipe

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When you say 20mm diameter dowels, that's quite big, so I'm wondering what you are going to do with them?

I am playing with bench dogs :)
I will use the dowels to make some jigs...
I know the accuracy is not even close to a CNC'd top and jigs, but I am curious how close can I get doing manually, and if I can evolve the tools recursively until reaching a good enough state.
Screenshot from 2021-07-19 12-04-59.png
 

Droogs

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Get a length of rough timber and then cleave it with an axe (allowing the split to follow the natural grain) until you have strips a little fatter than you need. Then tap them through a steel plate with a hole the correct size and you will have the strongest dowel you can get. For those who don't know, this allows you to have the dowel made from full length strands of the fibres that go with the grain all the way along the length. If you saw the timber to rough size first you introduce the more than likely situation of having cross-grain or rift grain where the shorter strands lead to areas of weakness and possible/probable failure.

My advice is never use machined (turned) dowelling where strength is a factor

hth

edit typos
 
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