Custom made dowels and DJ-1

Moderator: Michael

Custom made dowels and DJ-1

Postby rwest » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:27 pm

Hi,

When the DJ-1 was "unveiled" I got pretty excited because I had sketched an idea for a nested dowel inlay some time before that and had not been able to figure out a simple way to make it. So this past week I made some custom dowels in Holly and Ebony in 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, and a 1/2 inch! I used a Lie-Nielsen dowel plate to get everything round. Both the Holly and the Ebony tore out a bit, but worked out well enough for my test, I may use a vintage Delta metalworking x/y tool holder that goes on my wood lathe to make the dowels for the actual project.

Here are my square blanks.

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Here's my jig to make them into octagons, I made the groove with an HP6 with the 90deg. "V" cutter and used an HP-3 hand plane to take off the corners of my blanks.
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"Whacking" them through the dowel plate!

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Finished dowels.

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Six dowels nesting! 3 Ebony and 3 Holly. Not perfect, but I learned a lot to use on the next go around! I used the DJ-1 to drill into the ends of the dowels smallest to largest, nesting as I went.

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Rutager
rwest
 
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Postby PFranks » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:28 pm

Cool, Rutager! Not quite as perfect as one might hope, but certainly close. And what a great decorative element!

What's that curious table that your dowel blanks are sitting on?
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Postby rwest » Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:25 pm

Hi Peter,

The "mystery" tool is a Performax 16-32 drum sander. I used it to sneak up on the blank thickness after I cut them slightly oversize on the table saw.

I was a bit disappointed by the final result, it was purely a function of the dowels. I'm confident that I would get very crisp circles with perfectly smooth and round dowels. The dowel plate is a fast and very fun tool for making custom dowels out of different woods, but are more suited for custom pegs where the sides aren't exposed.

One final note, a lady at work commented that it looked "tribal" or African. It does have an interesting look to it, but I'm more of a micrometer to the .001 kind of guy! So I will figure out a method of dowel making that gives perfect results. If anybody has an idea or jig to do this, please share. I sort of remember reading about using a router bit through a hole and using a drill to spin the wood blank.

Rutager
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Postby Michael » Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:58 pm

That is really cool rutager.

Round dowels are indeed hard to come by. The dowel plate is a great start.

One other technique is to insert your, for example, 1/2" dowel in to your 1/2" bushing. Insert the bushing w/ dowel in the dj-1 just half way in. Then stack the 3/8" bushing on top of it. Insert the whole setup in a vice and drill away. We have found this to be pretty accurate. You will have to smack the 1/2" bushing off.
Good luck!
Michael
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Postby rwest » Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:19 pm

Michael,

Thanks, I did the drilling like you described. I put the 3/16 Ebony dowel into the 3/16 bushing and topped it with the 1/8 bushing and drilled with a 1/8 bit and then inserted an 1/8 Holly dowel, then worked my way up the bushing dowel set! The DJ-1 centered the dowels great, It was truly a matter of imperfect dowels, some with flat spots, some with tearout and most with both!

John had told me about this technique in a e-mail when I wrote him that I thought my tool was "off" because I couldn't get the dowels to drill in the center. I think what happens when you just clamp the dowel rather than install it in the bushing is that as you remove the wood from the center of the dowel, the clamping pressure squeezes it into an oval and the bit goes off center. One of us should post some photos of this technique, as it works great. I'll try and do it this weekend!

Rutager
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