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Thread: Modify dowel size

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Austin TX
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    405

    Modify dowel size

    Does anyone have a tip on re-sizing existing dowels? I bought six 3ft. long hardwood dowels (cherry, walnut and birch) that are all labeled 1/4". The birch is slightly oversized, the cherry is really oversized and the walnut is just about right on. I just built a small table out of walnut with M/T joints and wanted to use some nice contrasting dowels as pins through the glued joint. I cut a test hole in a scrap piece of wood and tested the birch dowels which seemed like they would work. After drilling the holes in my table legs the dowels are too thick. Test piece wasn't as hard as actual project wood! I'd like to be able to take off a consistently small amount to sneak up on the fit and not have any gaps afterwards. One more thing, I've already cut the dowels into small pieces (about 2" long) that are the proper length for the holes I drilled.

    Thanks in advance for any assistance.
    Lee Laird
    Austin TX

  2. #2
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    Mar 2008
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    NH
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    Lee I would say maybe sneak the drill bit size up to the dowels. maybe a 5/16th would work.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Villa Park, CA
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    Some companies make dowel plates which is a steel plate with holes drilled in it. LN makes one.

    But if you have a piece of steel, drill a hole in it and then just hammer your dowels through the hole.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2007
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    Texas
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    What if you put a test dowel in the microwave and nuke if for a minute or so to lessen MC and shrink the thickness? Dunno

  5. #5
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    Greg, Still haven't added the lathe to the shop, yet.

    Chuck, Thought about that, too, but the 5/16" was too large. Might have to look for one closer to a 32nd or 64th oversized.

    Mike, I tried a poor man's version of that last night. Drilled the hole in some hard wood and pounded them each through. Thought that compression might just make it work. I can start to get them in but still too tight. Maybe I've got some old iron I can use???

    Jack, I'll try nuking one of the already compressed dowels and see what it does.

    Thanks to each of you for your great ideas. I really love this forum.
    Lee Laird
    Austin TX

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Laird View Post
    Mike, I tried a poor man's version of that last night. Drilled the hole in some hard wood and pounded them each through. Thought that compression might just make it work. I can start to get them in but still too tight. Maybe I've got some old iron I can use???
    You have to use steel - the steel is not compressing the dowel, it's cutting it. See John D's post for ideas.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Location
    Austin TX
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    Guys,

    I decided to try what seemed to be the easiest and quickest, first. I put one of the dowels into the microwave and hit it for a minute as per Jack's suggestion. Was just what the doctor ordered. Fits like a charm. Why didn't I think of that??


    Thanks again to all for the great ideas. Logging away the ones I haven't tried yet. I'll post a pic or two of the table in the near future.
    Lee Laird
    Austin TX

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Austin TX
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    I snapped a picture after having the first successfully sized pin glued in place. Just so it really happened. I'll post a couple when the table is complete and with finish.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Desk first pin2.jpg  
    Lee Laird
    Austin TX

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Update with photo - Modify dowel size

    Forgot to provide a title showing a change. Oops. Second attempt.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Desk first pin2.jpg  
    Lee Laird
    Austin TX

  10. #10
    Glad it worked out for you, but if this should ever happen again, you should know that Greg's idea could have worked, but without the lathe. People often forget that a drill press is a lathe turned on its end. Because you already cut the dowels to length, you would have had to chuck the dowel in the drill press, sanded one half of it down to size, then flipped it over and do the other half.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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