3/16” cherry dowel source


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Anyone have a source for 3/16” cherry dowels? I can find 1/4” locally and online, but haven’t seen 3/16” in cherry. 

I designed a project with 96 3/16”x~1” cherry pins. I suppose I should have checked for availability in the beginning, but here we are. All I can find in 3/16 is birch and unspecified “hardwood.”

I bought some 1/4” cherry dowel thinking I’d turn it down to 3/16”, but my lathe chucks can’t grab something that small. I briefly tried using my drill chuck in the lathe, but in order to hold it tight enough that it won’t slip, it digs into the dowel which I’d like to avoid. 

Any thoughts? 

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52 minutes ago, treeslayer said:

is it too late to make them 1/4” ? That 3/16” is going to be tough to find, I make my own on the router table but the smallest I do is 1/4”

Unfortunately it has to be 3/16”. It’s a shelf to organize my wife’s sewing thread spools and bobbins. The spools can probably take 1/4” but the bobbins cannot.  

13 minutes ago, Tpt life said:

Dowels can be found in some box and hobby stores. Cherry is not often common, but occasional. 

Yes, I can find cherry in 1/4” and up, but not in 3/16”. 

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1/4” square stick of cherry and use a 1/8” round over bit on all four corners on you router table and Ross’s suggested drill and sandpaper to finish it off. 

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@JohnG, you can try making a sort of jam chuck for the 1/4" dowel.  

Turn a disk round and the correct diameter to fit in your chuck.  With the disk in the chuck use the tail stock and drill chuck to bore a 1/4" hole in the disk to hold the dowel.  

This is one of those "in theory" solutions.  In reality the 1/4" dowel is neither perfectly round, nor a perfect 1/4".  Maybe slot the end of the dowel so you can put in a wedge to tighten the fit.  

And if you attempt to turn any length of dowel you'll have a lot of vibration to contend with.  You can try to stabalize the dowel with one hand the dowel where your turning. This works surprisingly well.  But if you have a live center for your tail stock I'd try to make a "receiver" for the tail end of the dowel similar to the jam chuck.  

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You could try the dowels you can get in a test piece, apply finish and see how it looks. End grain soaks up finish, and may darken enough to give you the look you want. Brass  does look good, too. 

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2 hours ago, treeslayer said:

 steel plate with a 3/16” hole, like a dowel plate, spin 1/4” shop made dowel, never done it but I hear it works

I've done it. Notch the hole or drill overlapping holes to form cutting points. And use straight grain, not too long, or you will just twist it in two.

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3 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

1/4" dowel + Battery drill and sandpaper = 3/16" dowel pretty quick.

 

I had thought this might take too long but I’ll give it a shot and see how it goes. 

2 hours ago, Mark J said:

@JohnG, you can try making a sort of jam chuck for the 1/4" dowel.  

Turn a disk round and the correct diameter to fit in your chuck.  With the disk in the chuck use the tail stock and drill chuck to bore a 1/4" hole in the disk to hold the dowel.  

This is one of those "in theory" solutions.  In reality the 1/4" dowel is neither perfectly round, nor a perfect 1/4".  Maybe slot the end of the dowel so you can put in a wedge to tighten the fit.  

And if you attempt to turn any length of dowel you'll have a lot of vibration to contend with.  You can try to stabalize the dowel with one hand the dowel where your turning. This works surprisingly well.  But if you have a live center for your tail stock I'd try to make a "receiver" for the tail end of the dowel similar to the jam chuck.  

Good idea, I’ll also give this a try. Maybe drill the hole and cut a slot in the disk so as I tighten the chuck it will clamp the dowel too. I think I can actually stick the dowel through my headstock so I could keep the dowel long and only have a short bit protruding to work on, then could part it off, move dowel, and start the next pin. Might still need the tailstock support. 

1 hour ago, Barron said:

You could try the dowels you can get in a test piece, apply finish and see how it looks. End grain soaks up finish, and may darken enough to give you the look you want. Brass  does look good, too. 

I went back to Woodcraft to pick up some of the 3/16” birch dowel, but they were sold out. If the above don’t work or if I get to another store before I can try the above, I’ll see if the color is close enough. 

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13 hours ago, JohnG said:

Maybe drill the hole and cut a slot in the disk so as I tighten the chuck it will clamp the dowel too. I think I can actually stick the dowel through my headstock so I could keep the dowel long and only have a short bit protruding to work on, then could part it off, move dowel, and start the next pin. Might still need the tailstock support. 

You've gotten a lot of other good suggestions, but if you pursue using the lathe cutting the slot in the disk is an excellent idea.  I have seen it done and should have thought of it.  

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On 3/11/2020 at 1:52 AM, treeslayer said:

Lie-Neilson has a dowel plate with 7 different sizes including 3/16”, 55 bucks

Not only will this work for many projects, but you can make something similar very easily.  Find a quarter inch or so piece of steel.  Angle iron will do in a pinch.  Drill a 3/16 in hole.  You don't even need to start with a dowel, just 8 side a piece of cherry.  Use a wooden mallet.  3/16 dowel stock will come out the other side.  

 

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For dowels, in a pinch I've used a 3/8' nut from a bolt and nut.  Lock it in a vise, drive a 1/4" square piece of straight grain stick  and with a mallet, drive it through, then stick the piece in a drill bit and hit it with 220 grit sandpaper. Viola!

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  • 1 month later...

John, do you have a miter saw where you could replace the wood cutting blade with a thin metal cutting abrasive blade and make a jig to hold the rod? 

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