Friday, April 25, 2008

Cutting dowels with a V-block

OK, I've been threatening to do this for a while, but this is my first attempt at posting a woodworking video here on this blog. I've been practicing making videos, it's not at easy as it looks!

Just know this - splashing Watco on the lens of a digital camera isn't a good thing.

I received a question from someone inquiring about cutting dowels. If you've ever attempted this, you know that it's easy to get a lot of chipping and splintering. So here's a quick and easy way to cut dowels.

First you need something to hold the dowel steady. In the video, I use two small blocks of wood with a V-groove cut into them. I realize that there are some people that don't have V-blocks laying around, so as an alternative, you could use a book. A well-worn book that stays open on it's own would work just fine. Even your local phone book would work.

Lay the dowel into the V-groove, overhanging it the dimension of the piece you want to create. So if you want a 3" dowel, overhang it by 3 inches.

Then, using a fine toothed handsaw, hold it on the dowel and rotate the dowel. You want to score the wood fibers all the way around the dowel, to reduce the chance for chipping and splintering. You'll want to score it fairly deeply, not just on the very surface.

Once it's scored, you can saw through it. A fine tooth saw is best here, not an old, rusty saw left over from World War II. The better the saw, the nicer the cut.

Hope this helps! Any other suggestions for the next video?


Max Zelin said...

Thank you for this video! It definitely helped me! I will probably have suggestions for future videos, let me think about it. . . .


Maxie Zelin, Orlando, FL

Max Zelin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Robert said...

Nice video.

I am building a project cabinet with dowels and glue (no nails or screws) and that little hint you gave with the V blocks will definately help.



Anonymous said...

Great video. Your cabinetry is beautiful. I actually worked for a cabinetmaker for a couple of years and can say I have an appreciation for how difficult it can be to do well. Wood and I parted ways when I had a close call with a shaping tool(!). I figured that was probably a sign to focus on clay. ;)

Look forward to reading more of your blog!

All the best! Anne

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the help! You made it easy for a retired Kindergarten teacher to do it herself.