I'm working on some outdoor chairs and find myself in need of cypress
dowels. That is, if there is no reasonably available substitute for
doweling in cypress outdoor chairs. Even though widely available, I
don't expect maple, birch or oak would be long lasting. No luck in
finding a cypress dowel source and the only dowel maker I've found is
at Lee Valley and rather pricey. Can someone point me in the direction
of a cypress dowel source or a dowel maker that is not in the several
hundred dollar range? Thanks
know anyone with a small lathe? how about knocking the corners off a square
rod with your saw, and sanding, spokeshave, or chucking it in a drill press
and rounding it off?
depends upon if you need a few inches, or ten feet of it.
You can make your own if you are willing to upgrade the look of your
pieace just a bit. You can use the old Greene and Greene square pegs
For 1/4" holes, rip down some stock to 1/4" x 1/4" strips. Cut to short
lengths. Use a pencil sharpener or whittle with a knife to a pencil
point on one end. Pound then into the hole and trim.
A few pointers.
1. Test various hole size and strip size variables. It will vary
depending on the hardness of the material. Typicially equal sizes work
fine as described above.
2. For a true upgraded look don't cut the pegs flush. Using a piece of
thin stock as a guide, cut them off with about a 3/16 protrusion. Then
with a "Very" sharp chisel trim them into a pyramid. The bottom edges
of the pyramid should be about 1/16th above the face of the piece (ie
the square page extends 1/16th out of the piece and has a little 1/8th"
tall pyramid on top). Sand off very lightly.
3. You could do these with pretty much any material as the pegs won't
get much water intrusion inside where it matters but maybe some Teak,
Mahogany or White Oak would give a nice contrast.
If you want to plug screw holes - sounds like a job for a plug cutter. It
will also let you cut cross-grain plugs that will blend in better. Should
be available from several sources. I bought a set of cheap JET cutters a
few months ago for around $30. Included four tapered and four straight
cutters (1/4" to 1/2" range if my memory is correct). Veritas and others
make more expensive cutters if you want a little more quality.
Otherwise the lathe suggestions are good. I find it hard to find walnut
dowel material locally and usually make my own. Just takes a few minutes
once I am set up.
Sometimes when I need dowels I can't get, I will drill a hole in 1/8"
or so metal the size of the needed dowel. Then cut a square stick a
few feet long, slightly larger than the hole in the metal. Whittle one
end so you can chuck it in a drill, whittle the other end so it will
fit in the hole, fire up the drill and slowly push the stick through
the hole. Another swell thing to do with a drill and which doesn't have
a thing to do with this topic is to fold a piece of wire in half, clamp
one end in a vice and the other in a drill, pull it taut and turn on
the drill. You end up with a straight piece of spiraled wire which you
may or may not have a use for. Sam
I found that an old plywood sawblade worked well for the steel.
You might also google: tenon plug cutter. You should be able to find
something to make up to about a 3" dowel. You'll probably want several
clamps and a drill press.
Thanks very much for all the constructive responses. Armed with
several options I'll now do some testing on which best suits my needs
and hopefully report back on a successful implementation.
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