Full Chisel Blog

March 21, 2012

Making a dowel

In the process of restoring this table leg, I needed a 1/2″ diameter hardwood dowel, two inches long.  I spent about 20 minutes looking for a half inch dowel, and do you think I could find just two inches?  No I could not.  I got out my dowel plate and decided to make my own.

I made my dowel plate from a section of wagon wheel tire, it is true wrought iron.  The large stepped hole in the center was for a tire bolt.  The holes are drilled the size of the dowel, then the top edge is turned by hitting it with a ball-peen hammer then using a cold chisel I serrated the edges of the hole to score the wood as it is going through the plate.

I cut a three inch piece of hickory and split off the cut sides to insure the grain runs straight through the dowel.  I could not put my hands on my basket froe, so I used my small froe to split the piece.

I then split off the corners and whittled down the end to go in the proper hole in the dowel plate.  I also used a rasp to chamfer the top edge to prevent edge chipping as I drove the piece of hard hickory through the plate.

I placed the blank into the proper hole and positioned the dowel plate over a hole in my workbench.  I started with a round carvers mallet.

I then had to move on to the froe maul.

And pound and pound and stop and move the things on the bench dancing toward the edge, back to safety then continue to pound.

After I had driven it through the plate, I turned it end for end and pounded it through again to smooth out some of the ragged surface.

In less than 10 minutes I had this dowel done and that includes the time it took to take a picture of each process.  I think next time I am at a store that sells hardwood dowels I will have to pick up a couple of half inch.  But for this application, this is the way to go, nice straight grain and grooves to provide a key for the hide glue.



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