Making thin dowels - no jig required

Working on a table, I needed some thin dowels about 1/4" or 6 mm or in diameter. I didn't feel like spending a lot of time setting things up.

So I cut some 6 mm square pieces from some very hard wood to use as blanks.

I then used a small palm plane to bevel the corners so it's roughly octagonal. If it was entirely soft wood I was using them with, I could have just hammered them into undersized holes like nails. But they were going into particle board, which might split from that.

So I used a drill bit of the right size to set a spacer on my belt sander leaving just the right amount of space.

Then spinning the octagonal pieces between the block and the sanding belt.

The dowels turned out to be a tiny bit larger than the drill I set them to. Rather than make adjustments to the block, I just switched to a slightly bigger drill bit for drilling the holes.

I made a simple disposable jig for drilling the holes.

The jig also served as a depth stop.

Then applying glue to the dowel and the hole...

... and hammering them in place.

This method is good for dowels of about 4-8 mm. I wouldn't want to use it for anything bigger, but for making dowels 8 mm or smaller, it's probably the best method, unless you have a half round router bit of the right size.

See also:

Making dowels, pencil sharpener method
Making dowels with a half-round router bit
Bamboo skewers as 5mm dowels
conic dowels and spindles on the jointer
Paul Grundbacher's dowel maker
More about using dowels
More shop tricks

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