Make Your Own Dowels At Home

Dowels are a useful woodworking technology making it easy to connect several pieces of timber, particularly with the aid of adhesive. However, depending on where you live, it can be difficult to come by a wide variety of stock. This is particularly important if you’re concerned about appearances – cheap pine dowels could spoil the look of a delicately finished hardwood piece, for example.

Thankfully, it’s easy to make your own dowels at home. [Pask Makes] has used a simple dowel plate before, but this time, decided to build the deluxe version. A thick steel plate is drilled with a series of holes, and then mounted to a wooden block. Square stock can then be forced through the holes to produce the dowels.

[Pask] notes that there are several methods to use the dowel plate. Hammering the wood stock through the holes works best for hardwoods, while fitting the square stock into the chuck of a power drill and forcing it through while spinning gives a better finish on softer woods. There are also useful tips on how best to produce dowels, with notes on strength and grain orientation.

It’s a useful tool to have in your workshop, and means you can turn just about any wood into dowels for your woodworking projects. If you’re fresh to the world of wood, worry not – we’ve got the primer to get you started. Video after the break.


28 thoughts on “Make Your Own Dowels At Home

    1. you’re not alone, unfortunately I have to admit to making dowels on a small metal turning lathe because at the time it made sense,right now it makes sense to drill some holes in a bit of steel.

      1. If you take a block of wood, drill a hole the same size as the dowel and drive a wood screw at right angles to the hole penetrating the hole a bit (adjustable by moving screw in or out)
        you can create a glue groove in the dowel by passing it thru the hole several times.

    1. It would never come to my mind to split wood against the grain. How is that even possible? “Split wood with the grain” is like saying “use the brake pedal to help your car to slow down”.
      That doesn’t mean that I dislike the video!

      1. Sometimes I drive without using the brake pedal, down shift (manual), observe trafic flow, anticipate.
        My journey to work is 15miles.
        My current record is just over 11 miles without touching the brake pedal.

        Traffic, junctions, roundabouts, traffic lights, etc. No braking.
        Try it :)

        1. I used to drive from Altrincham to Bury thru Manchester City Centre doing the same (20 miles). No touching the brake pedal. I memorised the light sequences. Yes, the journey was that boring. Once I did the whole thing without touching the clutch either, cog-swapping only – thanks to HGV driving lessons in the ’70s.

        2. You obviously don’t live in my town. If you leave more than a car length in front of you, someone will cut in front of you forcing you to hit the break over, and over, and over. If you leave less than a car length, you aren’t “anticipating” as you mean it and will have to keep breaking with the flow of traffic.

          That said,wherever you live sounds like a nice place :).

      2. So, specifically in this context when we talk about ‘splitting wood along the grain’ we mean that in contrast to rip-sawn wood which observes a cut parallel to an existing edge, which may or may not actually be along the grain.
        Take a look at any piece of solid wood board and you’ll see what I mean: the grain boundaries probably do not precisely align with the straight long edge for a multitude of reasons not least of which is that the grain is typically not entirely mechanically straight.
        By splitting the wood (as opposed to sawing the wood) the resultant billet which will be turned into a dowel will be straighter and stronger.

        1. Technically rip sawing is also with the grain. Grain orientation is also the difference between a dado and a rebate/rabbet in period writings. They’re used interchangeably more often than not the days

        1. “Mil” is also used the PCB world for describing trace widths, via sizes, etc. It’s about 1/40 of a mm. As an EE, I only ever heard “thou” used by mechanical engineers.

  1. Another way to make dowels that is less risky as regards splitting but arguably quite a bit more risky as regards personal danger is to drill a hole the size of the dowel you want in a chunk of wood, then drill halfway down that hole with a drill the same diameter as the hypotenuse of the square (the smallest circle into which a piece of square stock will fit) then clamp that whole mass down oh so carefully on your tablesaw and raise the sawblade into the wood so one cutting edge is flush with the smaller diameter hole. Fire up the tablesaw, and feed the square stock in, and as you turn it around when it’s dowel-shaped it’ll start passing through. If it stops keep turning it until it starts feeding again.

    1. Yeah,
      I think I’ll pass on that one…
      I do have a table saw, (well, lately it has been more of a “table” than a saw), but I’d feel safer drilling 3/8″ thick stock with my drill press.

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