Tools for mass cutting dowels? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 03-17-2020, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Tools for mass cutting dowels?

This might be a slightly odd question. But its been on my mind for many many years now, so im going to ask.


I make little to large huts for my animals. I use dowels cut down to specific lengths to hold everything together as to avoid any toxic glues or such that the animals might get to. Once in a while ill add a dab of elmers non toxic glue, but i like to stick to the dowel method.


But as iv been doing it the last so many years, its very tedious and time consuming. I was stuck using a coping saw or a basic hand saw in a plastic miter box; Trying to cut dowels that can range from 1/4" thick to 5/8" thick. Its never a smooth cut. Its always a jagged or ripped edge cut which is irritating as i have to smooth every single cut out. And.. a single hut uses anywhere from 20 to 25 dowels pieces (usually from 1" to 2"s long.) And to account for the width of the blade, im usually stuck having to measure each piece individually after every cut. THEN, once all the cuts are made, they are usually left very rough and i have to sand each one down. Cant do it as a whole because the cuts make more rough/jagged areas.


So its very tedious, time consuming, and just highly annoying. Id like some way to make this easier and stream line it. - The way one might streamline cutting larger boards with a compound miter saw. Clamp a pieces on at the right length as a guide. Throw your board on, press it up against the clamped pieces and you have your length. Cut, remove, reposition board, cut again.. Much easier, and a better quality cut. Unfortunately, a miter or compound miter is a tad over powered for a small dowel.


So im looking for some way to do this better. I havnt had any money to try things, but id like an idea of some options to consider and work towards. I thought of a small dremel like tool. Iv never had one before, so i cant say how effective that would or would not be.


Thoughts?


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post #2 of 21 Old 03-17-2020, 04:24 PM
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Miter saws will just send small pieces flying unless you develop a hold down system. For small pieces like what you want to do Iíd use a table saw and a sled with stop block attached.

A second best option thatís safe but doesnít leave as clean of a cut as a table saw would be a band saw. With a band saw you set the distance using the fence and use a miter gauge with sacrificial face to push the dowel past the blade.
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post #3 of 21 Old 03-17-2020, 04:36 PM
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How many dowels do you cut in a month? I doubt that it would be enough to justify buying a power tool.



I think that if you buy a Japanese style pull saw your problem will be solved.


SEE


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post #4 of 21 Old 03-17-2020, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Q View Post
Miter saws will just send small pieces flying unless you develop a hold down system. For small pieces like what you want to do I’d use a table saw and a sled with stop block attached.

A second best option that’s safe but doesn’t leave as clean of a cut as a table saw would be a band saw. With a band saw you set the distance using the fence and use a miter gauge with sacrificial face to push the dowel past the blade.

Not sure what the sled is, but i can say that i will not be using my table saw. I can barely look at that thing. Got two of my fingers caught in its blade last summer. Needless to say... that mental trauma is still pretty strong. So i mean it when i say that i cant use that thing right now. Im still trying to get back to using any form of powered cutting saw. My mind is extremely hesitant about that. Cant say i blame it either. Mostly iv jsut been using a hand saw, and eventually a jig saw. Small steps.





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How many dowels do you cut in a month? I doubt that it would be enough to justify buying a power tool.

I think that if you buy a Japanese style pull saw your problem will be solved.
SEE
George

The jap pull saw looks interesting. They even used dowels as an example on one of the videos i just watched of them. Iv never used one, and dont know anyone that owns them, so i long forget they even existed.



How many a month is a hard question to answer. Some times its 0. Other times i could use 25, 50+. Usually they are such a pain, i try to keep it in small, doing only 1 hut or a couple at a time.
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post #5 of 21 Old 03-17-2020, 06:22 PM
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If you have a band saw this may be an option. Or just a sled with a back stop with a stop block at the length you want your dowels to be. Just lay the dowel in the sled push against the stop block, hold the dowel down and cut, repeat.

This video is fancier than a plain sled but you get the idea.

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post #6 of 21 Old 03-17-2020, 06:31 PM
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Zona is making small precision handsaws and miter boxes in USA. I am using one set with 42 TPI razor saw and aluminium mitre box. My saw being slow because 42 TPI, but making very clean square cuts. Zona is making many different saws and miter boxes, some with less TPI for faster cutting. Go here: https://www.zonatool.net

For you, maybe gluing or clamping stop block for repeat cuts. Having different stop blocks so each one is easy to line up with end of miter box for clamping and repeating perfect cuts.
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post #7 of 21 Old 03-17-2020, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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ok, soon as i aw the cover picture on the video i understood what you and terry meant. Thats actually very close to what i had envisioned in my mind. Sadly tho, i do not one a band saw.


If i can find the right type, and price, for a jap pull saw tho, i think i should be able to do what i want in a slightly different way. But it would help me out with another issue i had (that i didnt mention in this post). So thats worth trying i think.


There wasnt a great selection for pull saws on lowes or HD tho. I ended up looking at this one. Tho i cant tell from the pic if that blade is flexible/bendy a little bit, or solid. - My hands cramp up a lot when i work with smaller things like this so i think a handle would be nice. And a longer blade so that i could bend in and cut a to a flat surface if needed.
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post #8 of 21 Old 03-17-2020, 09:57 PM
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Seriously,,, I have watched your posts ove the years and perhaps, you are way past your abilities, and the capabilities of your tools...I would suggest you get a pro to solve your problems and be done with it in an hour or tow.
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post #9 of 21 Old 03-17-2020, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Onefreetexan View Post
Seriously,,, I have watched your posts ove the years and perhaps, you are way past your abilities, and the capabilities of your tools...I would suggest you get a pro to solve your problems and be done with it in an hour or tow.

you suggest i find a pro to cut a small wooden dowel?
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post #10 of 21 Old 03-17-2020, 11:07 PM
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Make a miter box and use a Japanese pull saw.

I made mine from Baltic Birch and a 2x4. If you have a miter saw, cutting a second 2x4 for the right angle cut is a piece of cake. Really, it's not difficult.

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post #11 of 21 Old 03-18-2020, 09:09 AM
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Like NoThankYou said. It's a piece of cake. Go to the 9:10 mark of this video.


I use most of the ones in the video, easy to make and use.

Good luck

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post #12 of 21 Old 03-18-2020, 12:38 PM
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Absolutely, yes I do...Find a wood shop, maybe a high school, or a carpenter, or some one with much more experience and equipment,,,and ask them....If I were near by,,,I would cut them for you for free. Quick and easy,,,
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post #13 of 21 Old 03-18-2020, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onefreetexan View Post
Seriously,,, I have watched your posts ove the years and perhaps, you are way past your abilities, and the capabilities of your tools...I would suggest you get a pro to solve your problems and be done with it in an hour or tow.
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you suggest i find a pro to cut a small wooden dowel?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onefreetexan View Post
Absolutely, yes I do...Find a wood shop, maybe a high school, or a carpenter, or some one with much more experience and equipment,,,and ask them....If I were near by,,,I would cut them for you for free. Quick and easy,,,

I realize im no expert in the world of woodworking or construction, and lack many more specific tools.. but i do know how to cut a small piece of wood. I was just looking for ideas on how to do it better and more efficiently. - Iv been making these basic huts for a long while. They might not be anything pretty, but they are for animals that are going to chew em up anyway. As long as they are safe, im not worried about looks. (No nails, screws, toxic glues etc.)


These are some from years ago..






same version but smaller, for the smaller critters






I can do them.. i just want to improve the method. And asking questions/seeing how others do things is a more efficient way for me to learn.





As for the other projects over the years, 98% of those were for the demo/cleaning/prepping/and building of a room in the basement suitable to my chins specific needs. While it took a long time... i actually did finish it. I put my chins in there last summer and so far it has worked exactly how i needed it to. May have taken 10 million questions.. but i did it. - Would i have liked to hire someone that could a better job, yes. But they was way out of any budget i could muster. So i do what i can with what i have.
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post #14 of 21 Old 03-18-2020, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onefreetexan View Post
Absolutely, yes I do...Find a wood shop, maybe a high school, or a carpenter, or some one with much more experience and equipment,,,and ask them....If I were near by,,,I would cut them for you for free. Quick and easy,,,
I appreciate that offer.

And even if i did want to ask others.. i know no one in this area i moved to. So at best, i would literally be asking strangers to do my work. And if there is one thing iv learned around here.. even the 'professionals' that i have had to hire for certain things.. dont seem to know what the heck they are doing. Which is really not good for jobs like plumber and an electrician...
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post #15 of 21 Old 03-28-2020, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
I think that if you buy a Japanese style pull saw your problem will be solved.
George

I bought a pull saw and gave it a try. It was certainly a lot better then any other method iv tried. It also is a thin enough blade that the cut doesn't clog up the little knife slit down the dowel. So thank you for that suggestion!


I do have a little bit of an issue with stability and keeping perfectly straight, but i think thats mostly do to the lack of a better jig. The one in the video at about 10m in that jpl posted looked nice. But i cant make that with what i have. Closest thin i could do was some scrap 2x4 and a square dowel piece glued on. Not as stable for sure, but it got the job done for now.


This was the small first batch. Had a few more after that. But the pull saw worked pretty nice!
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post #16 of 21 Old 03-28-2020, 02:43 PM
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Glad that the pull saw worked for you.



A jig for what you are doing is the simplest thing to make Two 1" x 3/4" boards glued edge down to a third board. Since you are making only one dimension dowel then make the two boards that dimension apart. Use a known square to make the guide cut in the two boards. First use the square to draw a line down the side of each board that is perpendicular to the top This will help you keep the cut square to the top and bottom.


Good luck.


George
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post #17 of 21 Old 03-28-2020, 09:03 PM
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You seem to have a lot of time and perhaps money invested in your chins. Are they a profit center for you? Just curious,,,How many do you raise?
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post #18 of 21 Old 03-29-2020, 01:13 PM
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https://www.harborfreight.com/2-in-m...saw-62136.html

Pretty cheap experiment if nothing else

I need cheaper hobby
etsy.com/shop/projectepicfail
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post #19 of 21 Old 03-29-2020, 02:35 PM
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https://www.harborfreight.com/2-in-m...saw-62136.html

Pretty cheap experiment if nothing else

That ought to do it.


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post #20 of 21 Old 03-30-2020, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
https://www.harborfreight.com/2-in-m...saw-62136.html

Pretty cheap experiment if nothing else

Thank you for showing me that! Iv been looking for some kind of 'baby miter saw' like that for a while now. Nothing ever came up when i searched for it tho.
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