Coyote Jim

Dowel Plate

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Can anyone recommend me a good dowel plate? Or is making my own so simple that I should not really even consider spending money on one?

Follow up question: Is there a such thing as a "good" dowel plate? It's just a piece of steel with some holes in it right?

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Thanks J-Dub!

I'll add that to my ever growing Amazon wish list. I only need 2 very short dowels at the moment. So that $57 price tag is super steep for 2 super short dowels. I know that you have a video on making your own, I have yet to watch it, if all I need is one size for something small would that video give me the know how to make a single size one time use dowel plate?

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Lee Valley carries a decent selection of dowels and every time I've bought them, they've been spot on for size.

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6 minutes ago, treeslayer said:

I make my own dowels on the router table, 1/4” round over bit =1/2”

Doing this would mean I need to buy a router! Don't get me wrong, I love buying tools, but two dowels is a pretty weak excuse to buy a router. I suppose what I should do is just come up with a better excuse!

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I've never used anything but a hole drilled in a piece of steel plate, and once even the holes in the leg of a contractors table saw.  Especially if you have a set of number drill bits, you can get them a little tight for what you need, if that's what you want.

Also, I have taken digital calipers into Lowes, and found some that would work.  They are never exactly the size they are supposed to be.

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14 minutes ago, Tom King said:

and once even the holes in the leg of a contractors table saw. 

I love this. I think I have my answer. I'm sure I have a piece of steel laying around her somewhere.

 

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38 minutes ago, Coyote Jim said:

Doing this would mean I need to buy a router! Don't get me wrong, I love buying tools, but two dowels is a pretty weak excuse to buy a router. I suppose what I should do is just come up with a better excuse!

Or you could buy a lathe, turning tools, chuck set, positive pressure face shield, bench grinder and wolverine sharpening jig. That will make the router or dowel plate seem really cheap!

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10 minutes ago, JohnG said:

Or you could buy a lathe, turning tools, chuck set, positive pressure face shield, bench grinder and wolverine sharpening jig. That will make the router or dowel plate seem really cheap!

Genius! 

According to my tracking number I should have all those items by the end of the week.

(P.S. Is it a bad sign that I had to google how to spell genius?)

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I've used a nut from whatever size bolt I needed to make a quick dowel... Clamp the nut in a vise grip, clamp the vise grip over a vise of some kind open enough to allow the dowel to slide through.Drive your semi shaped dowel through the nut and then put the nut back on the bolt.

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My dowel plate is a piece of mild steel, with sized holes drilled in it, and notches cut around the edge of the holes with a dremel. Chuck a piece of stock in a hand-held drill and drive it through the hole.  Another style uses one or two small holes overlapping the perimeter of the sized hole to form cutting edges.

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I have a lie Nielsen one it worked fine the couple times I have used it. My preferred way is with the Dowel Shaper TS on the table saw. There is a bit of set up but when I need some I make a dozen or so about 18" long in various woods then I always have some lying around. I make a fair amount of wood boxes with wood hinges and the dowels have to be pretty consistent to do that.

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Yeah, the ones made by pounding through a hole in a piece of metal are good enough for pegging tenons, but not many long ones would come out good enough for something like wooden hinges.

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When I did some research into draw bore pins, I read about the importance of selecting straight grain and hand riving it down to size before running it through a dowel plate. I decided that was waaayyyy too much friggin work so went & bought the Lee Valley dowels & got on with the project. I didn't have a single dowel that failed or was too big/small for the hole.

But if I had to make lots of them, and I mean LOTS, I'd consider the Veritas Dowel Maker. It gets good marks from users but is very expensive.

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It's not That much work.  I just use a straight claw hammer.  Split a small piece with the claws, and then drive it through with the hammer.   I keep tenon cheek offcuts in a box.  They make good dowels.  You can look at the grain to see if it's nice, tight, and straight before they get thrown in the box.  Any that aren't worth keeping get tossed in the kindling box.

Otherwise, hard to buy Heart Pine dowels, or tight grained White Oak, or Walnut.  If I pull a piece out of that box, I know it's good enough for pins.

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