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Thread: Dowel Cutter

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Herndon VA
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    180

    Dowel Cutter

    I've noticed (no big surprise) that store bought dowels are slightly undersized. For example some 3/8" dowels I got from Woodcraft have a noticable slop when inserting them into a 3/8" hole. I've tried several 3/8" bits. Measured with calipers, the dowels are slightly undersized. I would not be too worried about it but there is enough gap to be noticable after glue up on some scrap.

    Do you guys make your own dowels? Any particular recommedations for the dowel cutter?

  2. #2
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    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    Yes and I just cut em on my scroll saw since it's handy then I round off the ends on the disk sander.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Mountain Home, Arkansas
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    11,697
    On sizes, I actually had to buy a 25/64" drill bit to accomate some 3/8" dowels I was once using. I belive the imports have little conscience when it comes to precision.
    On making your own. Pictured are two different dowel cutters. The black one on the left is a cutter that is inserted in a hand crank machine. My father had the machine in his shop and used it for many years. He sold the business then about twenty years later I saw an ad for tools for sale. When I went, I essentially found the contents of his shop being sold off. The dowel cutter was part of what was there. The owner didn't know what it was and, even after explaining, he sold it to me very cheaply. I later traded that off to a friend but kept three of the duplicate size cutters.
    The one on the right is a hand-operated cutter that works much like a pencil sharpener. The one pictured is 1/2". I inherited this and a couple others of different sizes. They were branded "SPEE-DOWEL" and were manufactured by John's Manufacturing Inc. of Dunllen, MI. There is no zip code and I presume they pre-date zip codes by a good number of years.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Herndon VA
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    Frank - I was actually looking at either the LN Dowel Plate or the Lee Valley dowel cutters. I stopped by HD today and picked up a 23/64" bit to try tonight.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    Since I normaly use a self centering dowel jig I find that the under sized bit can make a big differance when I use an undersized bit so my preferance is to use the proper sized dowels.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Herndon VA
    Posts
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    Don - point of clarification, the dowels I'm setting are for draw bore (pinning a tennon) so the size of the dowel should match the hole to get tight joint and good looks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    Gotcha..
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
    Don't know about dowel cutters but I became real frustrated with inconsistant dowels. Now I buy all my dowel stock from Midwest Dowels. Their dowels are made just a hair over usally requiring a quick sanding.
    One thing I liked most is they sell white or red oak most other places I have found there will be a mix
    Dan

    Not affiliated just good product and nice people to deal with
    http://www.midwestdowel.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    29,092
    Mike, I've got one of the Lee Valley dowel cutters (the 3/8" model). I've had some trouble getting consistent dowel diameter with it, and the sides of the dowels are not as smooth as I'd like, especially when using harder woods like purpleheart. This may be due to my own ignorance in setting it up, but I usually have to run a few feet of material through the cutter in order to get a few good inches of dowel.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Monroeville, IN(Fort Wayne)
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    111
    Beall Tool has pretty true sized dowels in maple, oak, cherry, walnut

    http://www.bealltool.com/products/threading/dowels.php

    (not affliliated, just previous customer)
    my goal in life is to be as good a person as my kids think i am

    life is short, even in it's longest days

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