Sunday, August 6, 2017

Working with Dowels

There are a couple details on R5 that I made using wooden dowels. When making these parts I needed to drill holes in the center of the ends of dowels. This required a couple special tools that I will talk about here.

The first thing I needed was way to mark the center of a dowel. Here is a store bought centering tool that I got as a hand me down. It has a V-shaped slot on each side that you put the dowel into and then mark along the straight edge. You need to mark at least two lines to get the center, but I always mark a third just to be sure that I didn’t mess up one of the other two lines. You can buy one of these from here, among other places.


Another option is to make your own centering tool. This is made with two pieces of plywood glued together at a right angle and a piece of style cut with a 45 degree angle. For this to work properly you need to be sure the angles are as accurate as possible. Be sure the two pieces of plywood are square to each other, be sure the styrene is exactly 45 degrees. This is used the same way as the store bought one.


The second thing I needed was a way to hold the dowel while I was drilling it. To do this I started with a piece of 1”x3” pine and drilled holes for each size dowel I would be drilling. I then cut a slot through the center of the holes with a band saw.


To hold the piece, I put it in the appropriate size hole and then clamped the end of the board which squeeze it tight around the dowel holding it in place. Before drilling the dowel I used the centering tool to mark the center and then used a nail to put a small guide hole at the center.


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