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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This might seem like a waste to some but I plan on turning some soft maple dowel rods for some small folding tables I am making. I did this on the last table I made for two reasons. First, I could not get a good fit with a store bought dowell in a hole drilled with my forstner bits. Second, I knew that I couldn't find a matching wood that would stain the same as the rest of my project.

It took a lot of time to turn these dowels (7/8" dia x 28" long) and most of it was done with sandpaper so as not to take too much off. If anyone has any slick tips on how to turn accurate dowel rods I'm all ears. Maybe I'm the only one crazy enough to do this. Any input is appreciated.

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Dowels that long and thin can be a pain. I started making mine for the same reasons. Store bought dowels tend to be oval in shape or slightly too small for the holes.
The method I use is a router jig that I built. I would probably have to take a photo to show you but I turn the router upside down or use a router table. There is a large hole for the route bit. Perpendicular to that hole is a hole large enough to accept a square dowel of the right size. one end of this dowel is chucked into a drill but I suppose you could rotate and feed it by hand. This square dowel is pushed past the router bit. It's a straight bit by the way. The dowel is rotated past the bit and the bit cuts it to size. There is a hole on the other side of this jig that the correct sized dowel feeds into. This stops the wood from chattering as it goes past the bit.
You can find this jig in several of the Router jig books. You can make one for every size dowel you need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Although I really liked the idea of the router jig, I'm not confident that is would hold the tight tolerances I'm shooting for. I decided to turn them on my lathe again but I came up with some ways to make it easier on myself. First I cut my square stock to 27" (2" longer than final length). I rough out the diameter with my gouge and then with 80grit sandpaper. Since I only need the accurate diameter on the last 3" of either end I use my skew to close in on the diameter near the ends. Then I took a 4/4 piece of poplar and got one face perfectly flat on my jointer. I then stuck a piece of 150 grit adhesive backed sandpaper to the poplar and used this flat sanding block to work the ends down to final diameter. The flat sanding block helps to maintain an even diameter unlike a loose piece of sandpaper. Then when I have the ends to the right diameter I just sand the center portion to visually blend without much concern for diameter. It still takes a lot of time but having a method makes it go much better without as many mistakes.
 

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This little contraption makes accurate dowels with a router, tons faster than I can with a lathe. And it makes other stuff too. Funny, I have had it for awhile and it just hangs on the wall though ? http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1070&highlight=router+crafter

Funny they don't make them no more, and i thought they were good, the Legesy machine is dam good, not sure if right spelling.
The router jig does very good, i used it at one time for making arrows when i was shooting and it is accurate if you set it up and use it right.

See a few of the trend router lathe on ebay Daren fetch a good bit more than new at times. Hang onto it mate. LB.
 

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That Legacy Ornamental Mill you mentioned is really something from the looks of it. I have had the brochure/dvd for a couple years...but have never sprang for it $$$.
I had a chance to buy one a few years back with the power feed, 2 routers, a butt load of bits...the whole shooting match. The kid wanted I think $2000 (and was moving out of state, job relocation, so that was negotiable). I did not really need it, but I wish I had bought it. At the time I needed the $2000 worse I guess :laughing:.
http://www.legacywoodworking.com/
 

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I had a deal like that a year ago. The guy had a ton of stuff with it. I think he wanted about $2700. I kept looking at it and wondering where on earth would I store it. Of course I didn't have the money and figured it would take a year or more to produce a market for the work. there isn't a lot of custom woodworking demand around here.
 

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How to Make Any size dowel for $5

This is a jig I built when I needed dowels and pegs to match the wood I was building in. First get a 2"X2" peice of angle aluminium or steel about 2' long, this is the onloly thing you will need for the jug. I have used both, but aluminium is esaier for the next to steps. Take this and drill holes from 1/8 to 3/4 by 1/16 along one side only spaced about 1" apart staggering if you like. For reply to this post also drill 7/8, 15/16, and 1". Now here is the trick, on one side of the jig take a chisel and make teeth by driving it in the edsge of the hole working around clock wise so that the teeth face back like brarbs on a fish hook. For a 1/4 hole you need about 6 and a 3/4 can have over 12. These are the cutting edge of the tool. Clamp this to a solid work table teeth facing out at about waist high. Now cut a sqqare rod/strip 2' long 1/16 over the size you want the peg or dowel. Carve a crude point on one end and size the other to fit into a drill. Chuck it into a drill frimly but do not chush the wood. Start it in the hole 1/16 bigger than its is and 1/8 bigger than the finish size. Slowly push it through at about 250-125 rpm. Be very carefull here because if you put to much torque or push to fast the wood could splinter leaving a very sharp and nasty spear pointing right at your gut and you will impale yourself:no: :thumbdown: :no: . If you do it right and keep it roughly centered it will cut very smoothly, then pull it back out with the drill running in the same manner and move to the next hole. After this step you can stop and sand it down while still in the drill very quickly. For gluing pegs run it though a slight angle will give you just a hair more off with a great surface for gluing or run it though the next hole and under size your drill bit 1/64". Hope that is all understandable:blink: If not please ask questions:yes:

I have used this trick for years and the jig holds up well plus you can add fresh barbs/teeth when you need to. Pine and cypress cut fast but offer the most impaling risk, oak cuts well, and mahogany seems to wear the teeth very fast but cuts nicely. I will try to get some photos of one but left the last one I made with my old boss for the shop to keep using.
 

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Just went and made a singel hole to show it. Also drill the holes on the drill press if possible the hole helps keep the wood centered so it needs to be as clean a hole as possible. Sorry the photos are not that clear but one is the jig and one is a squared up peice of shoe molding, first thing I saw, that I ran though half way. On the next pass, smaller hole, it would takes less wood off and smooths the cutting marks out better. good luck
 

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