Make/buy short pieces of dowel? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Make/buy short pieces of dowel?

I built a table with visible dowel joinery, except I didn't think to use a contrasting wood...so doesn't even look like dowels were used at all! The table is unfinished still but I don't think the stain will help much.

My plan is to replace the top <= 1/8" of each dowel with a round sliver of walnut. I need to do a test but I'm pretty sure it'll work using a forstner perfectly centered atop each existing dowel, and then glue in a small round piece of walnut. There are only ten dowels to "recap" like this so I'm reluctant to order a piece of walnut dowel and wait for it to be delivered. I don't think precut plugs would work either due to the taper, but please correct me if I'm wrong on that!

Is there some way to make the little pieces of dowel myself without a lathe? Other alternative ideas to enhancing the contrast of the existing dowels (no wood putty)?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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What I'm working with.
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post #3 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure what happened to the rest of my post, but I'll recap.

I would like to make or buy a short section of 1/2" walnut dowel to replace the end of the existing dowels. By drilling them out to 1/8" deep then gluing in walnut rounds.

No walnut dowel is available conveniently and I only need a foot anyways.

Ideas on how I can make it myself?
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post #4 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 07:59 PM
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If you have a router table you could get a bull nose router bit and make your own dowels. It would be cheaper and easier to just buy a dowel. If you don't have anyplace in your area they are available through ebay.
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post #5 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 08:09 PM
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Buy a 3/8 plug cutter and make your own plugs. If you're drilling out 1/8", why not drill out 1/4" and use tapered plugs?
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post #6 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 08:56 PM
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Wood plugs aren’t that expensive. Several styles and sizes are available. A quick search for domed top plugs revealed these and several others...
http://www.rockler.com/dome-top-wood...%27Hardware%27
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post #7 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 09:11 PM
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If you want the dowel to be darker than the rest of the piece, why not use a small artist brush and stain the dowels dark? Depending on how dark you go as far as mixing black paint with thinner to make a black stain to paint/stain the dowel ends.

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #8 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Wow I guess Saturday night is the time to ask and get answers!

Re: plugs. These dowels are anchoring breadboard ends, so they have some lateral stress on them. I want to remove as little of the original dowel as possible for that reason. Although maybe with the right glue the plug would sufficiently bond to the original dowel so as to transfer the force into the plug? Seems like a risky bet...but I've never done this before so I don't really know what I'm talking about lol. I've been known to overthink things...
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post #9 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_L View Post
Buy a 3/8 plug cutter and make your own plugs. If you're drilling out 1/8", why not drill out 1/4" and use tapered plugs?
Do these create straight plugs or tapered?
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post #10 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toolman50 View Post
If you want the dowel to be darker than the rest of the piece, why not use a small artist brush and stain the dowels dark? Depending on how dark you go as far as mixing black paint with thinner to make a black stain to paint/stain the dowel ends.
Hmm now that's an idea. The trick would be keeping it from bleeding into the surrounding too much. Maybe I'll try on a scrap, sounds like the other solutions all require a trip to a store or ordering online.
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post #11 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 10:29 PM
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I made a jig that essentially acts like a pencil sharpener to make my own dowels. I just use a hand plane to make is pseudo round stick it in a drill and run it through. Works like a charm.

It's not bad to dream. But you also have to consider what's realistic. -All Might (Boku no Hero Academia)
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post #12 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 10:47 PM
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When you finish the top the end grain of the dowels will take the finish differently than the side grain of the top so they will show up w/o hitting you over the head.
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post #13 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeebyWoodWorker View Post
I made a jig that essentially acts like a pencil sharpener to make my own dowels. I just use a hand plane to make is pseudo round stick it in a drill and run it through. Works like a charm.
Oh that's an interesting idea! So are you planing lengthwise, creating a many-sided polygon? How do you ensure it doesn't turn out an oval?
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post #14 of 25 Old 11-04-2017, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Larry Schweitzer View Post
When you finish the top the end grain of the dowels will take the finish differently than the side grain of the top so they will show up w/o hitting you over the head.
I tried actually (on a sample), but it didn't make a big difference. Possibly because I'm using a dark gel stain. Good point though I bet it works for less-dark stains!
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post #15 of 25 Old 11-05-2017, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertsp View Post
Do these create straight plugs or tapered?
There are different cutters - some are straight and some are tapered. So it depends on which you order.
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post #16 of 25 Old 11-05-2017, 06:29 AM
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Kenbo has a jig for the router

Quote:
Originally Posted by J_L View Post
There are different cutters - some are straight and some are tapered. So it depends on which you order.
Our member Kenbo makes his own dowels on the router table:

Other methods:
https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...our+own+dowels

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #17 of 25 Old 11-05-2017, 08:17 AM
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Drill a hole of the appropriate size in a flat piece of steel. Rough shape some material into a dowel, then drive it through the plate.


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post #18 of 25 Old 11-05-2017, 11:16 AM
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I use these , covers the dowel pin and gives a nice square peg look ( which is the look I want anyways).
..........I need to order another large bag.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftsmanC...ms-count#items
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post #19 of 25 Old 11-05-2017, 04:53 PM
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Those pyramid plugs ar cool. I wonder if they offer them in ebony. That would look awesome.
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post #20 of 25 Old 11-05-2017, 05:02 PM
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I think a plug would look nicer than a dowel. If you?re cutting them with a plug cutter, you can use any wood you want. If you go that route, make sure you align the grain in the plug with the grain in the surrounding wood for that extra touch. You can make a guide and use a hand drill, but cutting plugs with the plug cutter will be easiest with a drill press.
A tapered plug usually makes for a tighter fit, but if your hole is only 1/8? deep, the taper might not matter. For what it?s worth, I?d try to go a little deeper even if it?s only 3/16?. Just a little extra surface area for the glue so the plugs don?t pop out with seasonal changes.
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