Tuesday, May 03, 2011

How to make a dowel rod

Sometimes the best solutions are very simple ones.

A few months ago, I made a shadowbox/flag case for a fallen soldier. The fellow who commissioned it called me with another woodworking project. He asked if I had a lathe, and if so, could I make a six foot long pole. I explained that my lathes didn't have the capacity to hold a six-foot long piece of wood, and asked a few questions, to figure out just what he wanted.

Turns out, all he needed was a long dowel, about 1 1/2" in diameter. It's curious how people think - the first thought he had was to use a lathe. My first thought was to use a router.

It's just simple geometry - if you want to make a dowel of any given diameter, all you need to do is locate a round-over bit whose radius is half that size. So if you want a one-inch dowel, all you need is a 1/2" roundover bit. Easy-peasy.

In this case, I had a 3/4" roundover bit. It's a huge bit, one that could be used for that perfect bullnose edge you might have on your Corian kitchen counter. Here is a scrap of wood measuring a perfect 1 1/2" square.

Here the bit is set up in the router table, where I'll rout all four edges.

That will make a perfectly circular shape.

If you put the miter gauge in it's slot,

you can easily rout the tip of the dowel to create a domed end.

It's the best (and safest!) way to hold the dowel while routing the tip.

Once I tested the cut with this piece of scrap, I cut a nice piece of Ash (no pun intended) to the length I needed, and routed it. Some sanding and a coat of stain,

and viola ~ a six foot dowel.

Like I said, easy-peasy.


Anonymous said...

thx now t can make my kite!

Anonymous said...

Now I know a better way to dome my .25" dowels that I use when I make coaster holders.

Anonymous said...

How would i do this without power tools, please reply. I have a long wooden stick that goes from a diameter of just under an inch to just over an inch. I want to make it uniform. How would i do this?

Wood It Is! said...

It would be hard to do it without power tools, but a hand plane would be the tool for you. It would be very slow work, though.