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Thread: Turning Small dowels

  1. #1
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    Default Turning Small dowels

    Hey guys.....I need to turn some small 1/8" dowels
    How do you turn these little things?

    I do have some small gouges, But never use them.

    The way I have done It was using 1/4" dowel, chucking It up In the drill bit chuck, And turning It down to 1/8"
    I bet there's a better way.....
    Thanks for any tips on your method

    Merry Christmas
    Dan From Rockwood ,Ont.

  2. #2
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    Bill

    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    I thought you can buy it?

    billh

  3. #3
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    Chris Wong

    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    How long are your dowels? There are two ways that I would do it and neither involve the lathe.

    First, if they are short, get a piece of steel (1/8" thick angle iron works well) and drill a 1/8" hole through it, as well as a couple incramentally larger holes. Then prep a blank 1/8" square (or a shade larger) and knock off the corners. Then pound it through the holes, starting with the largest. Depending on the rigidity of your stock, you might be limited to 2" dowels or shorter.

    The other way involves making a jig to essentially turn the dowel. Use a drill to feed the work through. I couldn't find a picture for you, but it's basically a piece of wood with a 1/8" hole cut through it and reamed (countersunk). There is a rabbet that intersects the 1/8" hole and you positione a plane blade at and angle to shape the dowel. THIS is the closest I found.
    Chris Wong
    http://flairwoodworks.com
    http://timewarptoolworks.com

    If you don't think your work is good enough, maybe you need a Magic Square.

  4. #4
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    George

    Smile Re: Turning Small dowels

    Daner, I agree with billh. I buy the small dowels, 1/8, 1/4, 3/8 etc.. Unless it is an odd size. I go that route. I think Leo at one point showed a sharpened wrench to finish sizing dowels.
    Perhaps he will come in with a better explanation.
    Take Care
    George
    Forgiveness is easier to get than Permission

  5. #5

    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    You need a tool like a modified pencil sharpener that has a blade shearing off the excess diameter as the dowel passes through a hole. I think that's just what the tool in the link flairwoodworks had in the preceeding post does.
    (or, as suggested, go buy a dowel in the hardware store!)
    BOB

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    I make them with a dowel plate which is basically a polished steel plate with one each 1/8", 9/64", 5/32", etc hole drilled through it. Whittle or make by some other means a straight grained piece of wood about 3" long and drive it, using a wooden mallet, through successively smaller holes until the right diameter is reached. Riven or split wood makes the best job. I sometimes clean up commercial wooden dowels this way to make them round. I made my plate but LN sells one made of hardened steel.

    http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?grp=1239

    Ken
    Last edited by KenL; 12-08-2010 at 12:04 PM. Reason: added link

  7. #7

    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    you can make them with a router.
    http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/dowelmakingjig.aspx



    jack

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    One method would be to make a collet chuck to hold the original sized stock, with the excess length extending through the chuck into the headstock bore. Mount the stock with an inch or so sticking out and turn that length to your finished diameter. Loosen the collet and slide another inch or so out and turn that down. Keep doing that until you have your required length of 1/8" dowel. That is sort of what I did in this video: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_lis...A528EBEE61AB7A

    Someone on another forum pointed out that you could mount a piece of wood in your chuck, bore a hole of the required size all the way through it, then take it out of the chuck and cut a kerf from one edge in to the hole. Then simply tightening the chuck around it would squeeze the hole around the stock. I don't know if that would throw it off center enough to be a problem or not, since I didn't try it.

    Good Luck!
    Bob

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    Thanks for the tips guys....The 1/8" dowels are for a few bird houses I'm making, So there short.
    I never knew that they sold 1/8......I dont want to make the trip too HD.
    I see Leo turns his own dowels, And he has a sholder on them, Bu the's propally stuck shovelling out his drive way again........I will try one of your methods guys.......Thanks again
    Dan From Rockwood ,Ont.

  10. #10
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    just what you thought :^')

    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    Quote Originally Posted by Daner View Post
    Thanks for the tips guys....The 1/8" dowels are for a few bird houses I'm making, So there short.
    I never knew that they sold 1/8......I dont want to make the trip too HD.
    I see Leo turns his own dowels, And he has a sholder on them, Bu the's propally stuck shovelling out his drive way again........I will try one of your methods guys.......Thanks again
    Hi Dan, just back from shopping with LOML , and yes I have to go and clean that driveway some more

    The perches I make are done one at the time, and less than a 1/2" long.
    I bandsaw some pieces to about 1/4" to 5/16" thick and a couple of inches long, chuck them up in with the step jaws, they close up pretty small, I'll have the wood sticking out about a 1/2", then I use a small skew to first get it round to maybe 1/8" or less.
    Then I turn the end that goes into the birdhouse wall, about 1/16 thick (fit the opening you drill), then turn the rest of the perch down to say 3/32" and leave just a thicker shoulder to but up against the house, cut off, and extend the wood for the next one.
    Goes pretty quick after you have done a few, HTH

    Have fun and take care
    Leo Van Der Loo

  11. #11

    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    Thanks guys, I've been looking for a method to make small diameter dowels as dowels made from dark coloured woods are hard to find. Again I only need short lengths for toys.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo Van Der Loo View Post
    Hi Dan, just back from shopping with LOML , and yes I have to go and clean that driveway some more

    The perches I make are done one at the time, and less than a 1/2" long.
    I bandsaw some pieces to about 1/4" to 5/16" thick and a couple of inches long, chuck them up in with the step jaws, they close up pretty small, I'll have the wood sticking out about a 1/2", then I use a small skew to first get it round to maybe 1/8" or less.
    Then I turn the end that goes into the birdhouse wall, about 1/16 thick (fit the opening you drill), then turn the rest of the perch down to say 3/32" and leave just a thicker shoulder to but up against the house, cut off, and extend the wood for the next one.
    Goes pretty quick after you have done a few, HTH
    Leo, I hope you have a snow blower, I have been watching the weather that your getting out there...Will It ever stop? Its tough being a snow removal contractor with back to back storms like that, We are right between thos 2 main lake effect streamers, non of my site have been plowed yet this year.......Take care, Thanks for the dowel trick
    Dan From Rockwood ,Ont.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    I bought a package of 100 bamboo skewers at a dollar store for $1. They are pretty consistent at 1/8" diameter, and the odd one that is too small is not a big loss. That is what I used for the perches I made for my little acorn birdhouses. They might be a bit too small for a larger ornament.

    Take care
    Bob

  14. #14

    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    I often use those little round tooth-picks that you can get at the grocery store...... They come in all sorts of colours.......

  15. #15
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    just what you thought :^')

    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    I did use both the Skewer and the big tooth picks at first, but didn't like the look of them, so a half dozen years ago I started turning them from scrap wood I had sitting around, and yes it's a bit more work but they do look much better IMO ;-))

    Have fun and take care
    Leo Van Der Loo

  16. #16
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    Steve Morris

    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    to turn precise diameter dowelling for inlay and exposed joinery, i use a modified open end wrench to do the final trim to the diameter, i dont know about 1/8 dia though!!

    i just grind one jaw of the wrench to form a scraper edge, the other jaw stays origanal and acts as a guage
    my shop is a beaver lodge
    steve, sarnia, ont

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    Passed down to me from Father and Grandfather I have this tool that would work very well for the dowels you wish to make.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Egon
    from
    The South Shore, Nova Scotia

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    It seems the only time I need dowels is after all stores are closed. My solution is to rough turn it on a lathe and then drive the turning through a metal plate drill for whatever size needed. The blank plate cost about $5.00 at a metal retailer and permits drilling for any size dowel you wish to make.

    The upside benefit is the dowels can be made of whatever wood suits the project with either matching material or contrast for artistic creativity.

    Ken.
    Plan for tomorrow, live for today, and party tonight.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    Quote Originally Posted by jgarrett forsberg View Post
    you can make them with a router.
    http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/dowelmakingjig.aspx



    jack
    This is a great way for long dowels.

    If shorter dowels are needed all one needs to do is leave a couple of inches of square material at each end of the wood to act as blocks. After the dowels are turned just cut off the square ends. No fuss, no muss, no extra jigs.

    Ken.
    Plan for tomorrow, live for today, and party tonight.

  20. #20
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    just what you thought :^')

    Default Re: Turning Small dowels

    Quote Originally Posted by stevem View Post
    to turn precise diameter dowelling for inlay and exposed joinery, i use a modified open end wrench to do the final trim to the diameter, i dont know about 1/8 dia though!!

    i just grind one jaw of the wrench to form a scraper edge, the other jaw stays origanal and acts as a guage
    I have shown this picture some years ago on the forum and elsewhere, yes it makes slight oversize wood this way, but doesn't make a very smooth surface, a skew would do much better surface wise

    turning wood to exact size.jpg

    Have fun and take care
    Leo Van Der Loo

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