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Thread: WTB: Lie Nielsen Dowel Plate or Lee Valley Doweling Jig

  1. #1
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    WTB: Lie Nielsen Dowel Plate or Lee Valley Doweling Jig

    I need to make some hardwood dowels. I guess I could do it the old-fashioned way but thought I check if someone has the modern device they aren't using.
    Let me know what you have with the cost shipped to Philadelphia 19129
    Last edited by Ron Kanter; 03-02-2021 at 3:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    There is one dowel plate available from a machine shop in the US, but the savings isn't great and I'd rather support LN or LV even indirectly.

  3. #3
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    Ron, do you have access to a piece of plate steel 1/4" - 1/2" thick and a drill press?

    You could make your own dowel plate.

    How much dowel do you need?

    Making a dowel cutter for longer dowels than can be made with a dowel plate isn't difficult:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    There are other ways to make dowels depending on what tools you have at hand.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
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    Hi Jim, thanks for the suggestions.
    I have seen some roll-your-own dowel makers, but I don't want to spend my limited time adjusting jigs or making multiple versions depending what size dowel is needed.
    Your note did prompt me to see what plate steel I had in the shop. Found a slightly bent, short piece of 1/4" that had a 3/8" hole in it.
    Cut a stick of wood to rough size, tapered the end, and started banging away. No joy. It wasn't moving through and eventually broke off with only a little bit of the end looking dowel-like.
    I had "sharpened" the plate surface on a diamond stone. When I looked at the hole more closely it didn't seem to have smooth sides.
    Using a 3/8" drill bit, I smoothed the hole and tried doweling again.
    Amazing difference. I actually produced six or eight inches of dowel.
    Made me think that with a clean piece of plate steel and a couple of sharp drill bits I could actually make my own dowel plate.
    Amazon has a piece of 1/4 x 4 x 12" steel plate for $12. Hmmm
    Last edited by Ron Kanter; 03-05-2021 at 3:17 PM.

  5. #5
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    Looking forward to seeing how it turns out Ron. With pics! :0)

  6. #6
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    Ron, If you have fractional bits you might try drilling a starter hole a 64th inch bigger. You might even try two holes bigger with two steps down to the size desired.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  7. #7
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    I also found more success when splitting off the dowel blank from a block of straightish grain wood. This eliminates or minimizes any grain run out in the dowel blank before pounding through the jig.

  8. #8
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    Phil, I will definitely try to use straight grain blanks.

    Jim, are you suggesting oversized starter holes that lead to the desired size through hole?
    Since the steel is only 1/4" thick there won't be much depth to a starter hole or two.
    Is this a way to peel off excess a little at a time?

    Ordered the plate steel and a set of titanium drill bits. They should arrive tomorrow.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Kanter View Post
    Phil, I will definitely try to use straight grain blanks.

    Jim, are you suggesting oversized starter holes that lead to the desired size through hole?
    Since the steel is only 1/4" thick there won't be much depth to a starter hole or two.
    Is this a way to peel off excess a little at a time?

    Ordered the plate steel and a set of titanium drill bits. They should arrive tomorrow.
    Yes and yes.

    It will also make for a smoother dowel.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  10. #10
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    Go with the Veritas dowel maker. It's a solid tool.

    That being said, I'll stick with my Stanley 77.

    I like hand tools, but sometimes, modern solutions are better. You can always chuck up the Veritas drivers in a brace or breast drill. I still think about getting the Veritas tool sometimes, but admittedly, I am a fan boi.

    Go oversize by 1/8". Any more than that just makes for more work.
    Where did I put that tape measure...

  11. #11
    Years ago many just scrounged up a piece of junk steel plate about an inch thick ,drilled holes and countersunk them enough to remove
    any sharpness. We bought birch or maple dowel rod and cut to length. Used any kind of power sander to champher edges. Drove the dowels thru the
    plate. That compressed them enough to easily fit in the bored furniture or mill-work parts. Dowels swelled back up from just a little water
    added to the glue. The wood parts never split and the joints never failed.

  12. #12
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    Made my own dowel plate. So far not a great tool. Maybe I need to polish the entry area.
    Jim: tried your idea of a lightly oversized entry hole around the dowel hole. Didn't help. Seems like it trapped the little bit of excess diameter that had no place to go when it reached the dowel-sized hole.
    Phil: I understand the importance of straight grain. The challenge is finding straight grain with the type of wood I want to use for the dowel. I have to keep experimenting with splitting to stock to get the dowel blank.
    Gary: Never hear of the Stanley 77 before you mentioned it. Now I know what I want for my birthday, but the price with a couple of cutters is hard to swallow.

  13. #13
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    Jim: tried your idea of a lightly oversized entry hole around the dowel hole. Didn't help. Seems like it trapped the little bit of excess diameter that had no place to go when it reached the dowel-sized hole.
    Oops, this is my fault for misunderstanding your question. The idea of larger sized holes was as a separate 'pre-sizing' hole. Run the riven stock through a hole 1/32" larger, then 1/64" larger then run it through the hole of the size wanted.

    Each hole should be as square and sharp at the entry point as possible. The sharp edge is what shears off the excess material.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 03-29-2021 at 2:22 AM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  14. #14
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    ron,
    i can't believe no one suggested using a round over or bullnose bit in the router table. you can make very accurate dowels as long as you want. i often do a run of 4' long stock. rip some extra stock for set up. run stock through the planer to get it sized accurately, i shoot for for 005." to 01." oversize, then route. bullnose is faster, but round over almost never has tear out. depends on wood species. if it has to be perfectly sized, then point end and push through dowel plate.

  15. #15
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    Keith,
    I also hadn't thought of using a router.
    A router isn't my favorite tool because of the noise, chips, and setup time.
    On the other hand, it does produce a smooth finish and makes many pieces quickly.
    I'll definitely give it a try.

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