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.