Novice woodworker here, please help!
I am making a freestanding hi-fi rack unit using 35mm (dia.) dowels as the
vertical spacers between the 6 MDF shelves. I am using 8mm dowels (or metal
stud) going through the full height of the unit on each corner so as to
secure it all together.
I need each of the dowels to have perfect 8mm drilled holes through their
complete lengths. I have a need to make 24 of these dowels. (4 corners x 6
shelves = 24 dowels).
I've already done a trial (by eye) and it did not work out very
successfully. The hole was not perfectly straight as I would have liked it.
I don't want my finished unit to be wonky!
I have a drill with bits and a basic bench vice. I don't have a drill
stand, lathe or any other big woodworking tools available.
How can I best drill these perfect holes through the dowels ???
Any help would be much appreciated!
Thanks to all!
This is what I would do.
Make a box that surrounds the dowel snugly. Make it out of ply, 1x's,
whatever, but make sure to use the same material for all sides so the sides
are of consistent thickness.
cut a piece of 3/4" ply and affix it to the top of the box. Make sure the
edges meet up with the sides of your box. Drill a hole in the center of the
top piece, this should also be the center of your dowel. the 3/4 top board
will guide your hand held drill bit to keep it straight. After drilling as
far as you can (you should use a fairly long bit), take the dowel out and
turn it over, drill into the other side.
Why not just drill shallow 35mm holes in either side of the MDF shelves
with a forstner bit then glue the dowels in place? I would think this
would be sturdier than a metal rod threading all of the parts together.
steel washers are sold by size. The size is the internal diameter x the
external diameter. The sizes are common, like 1/2 x 1/4. 1x3/8", etc.
Therefore, there aren't that many really. There are diff. types, and a few
thicknesses, heavy duty thickness,etc. Its often not hard to match the ID
to thedrill you are using. You could clamp a washer(s) to the end of the
dowel and use it as a guide bushing, or buy a guide bushing, or cut a pipe
of tube/pipe to do same. You could go from both ends. Then wriggle through
with a long bit, maybe auger.
anohter thing that comes about by knowing this is that you can take a 1/2 x
1/4" washer and use it as an offset to scribe a line along a straight edge,
or profile to get an exact 1/8" offset line. Just put a pencil in the
center and swirl away. The offset is limited only by the eqn: 1/2(OD- ID)
You have bit off a "hard" problem. Even with a drill press, getting
the holes to be perfectly centered at both ends is going to be
a chore. Be prepared to toss as many rejects as clean ones.
I don't see how you can get where you want to go with the tools you
One approach would be to take pieces of wood 35mm x 18mm. Use a router
to scoop out an 8mm groove (semi-circular) down the middle. Glue two
pieces of this together. You now have an 8mm hole straight and centered.
Cut pieces to length, and run that 8mm drill down the hole to clean
out glue squeeze-out and any irregularities. Now you need a lathe to
make the outside cylindrical
No, I didn't say it would be simple.
Michael and MJ Houghton | Herveus d'Ormonde and Megan O'Donnelly
firstname.lastname@example.org | White Wolf and the Phoenix narrowwares
First a nit-pick. You will not get a perfect hole, no matter what
equipment you have available. You can get a plenty-godd-enough hole
for your purposes, but it will take more equipment or time (and
expense for practice material and waste) than you'd want to spend.
I strongly second the suggestion made here for drilling just a little
way into each end, then connecting the larger dowels that way. If you
want the shelves to be able to be knocked down for moving, get some
and threaded inserts http://www.mcfeelys.com/subcat.asp?sid "4. Drill
your shelves just a little larger than the hanger bolt, so it passes
through, but without a lot of slop. In the top of each 35mm dowel,
drill a pilot hole for the wood thread portion of the hanger bolt. In
the bottom or each, drill a hole that will let the machine screw
portion of the hanger bolt be inserted freely, then drill the proper
sized pilot hole for a threaded insert.
The hardware is probably available at a local HW store or a borg--I'm
just showing the lee valley and mcfeely's links since they are easy to
find online, and you know they will have things like this.
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.
Many thanks Alexy. That idea seems the most understandable and high quality
solution I've read so far in this thread, that may be a winner but I'll read
Much appreciation to all who are helping with these ideas!
Assuming you have a long bit, which is cheap at the Borg:
Cut 2-3 1" pieces of dowel
Mark centers and drill holes through
Thread two of the sections on the bit
Clamp the sections in line with a section of the dowel to use in the corner
of your TS fence, or other straight right angle corner
Drill the hole
If the short guides are a few inches apart they will align the bit pretty
Make the holes a bit oversize, to allow moving the dowel a bit if necessary.
Think you have troubles? Imagine drilling a rifle barrel in the 1700s!
Gouge out with a router round-end, using table and guiding jig, the
length of some squared wood. Cut in half and clamp/glue halves
together [carefully, of course.] Cut/shape the finished product. I'd
A laser in the correct laboratory environment might be able to do it...
As others have said, your design seems to far exceed your tools... most of us
use that as an excuse to buy more tools.. *g*
Are you working from a set of plans, or is this your own design?
If you could provide some dimensions, such as the length of the dowels or the
space between shelves, that would make helping you easier....
EXAMPLE: a 30 mm long dowel has much less complications and room for error that
a 300mm long dowel..
Sorry, should have mentioned that. The dowels and therefore the spacing
between the shelves will be approx 14 - 16cm each. Each set may vary so as
to give greater shelf height but not significantly. The plan is my own
design but part based on the Quadraspire unit that can be bought for a lot
of money. The Quadraspire is modular and uses metal supports. Have a look
at their website if you're interested. I thought dowels would be easier for
me to fabricate as an alternative, larger seemed better to drill and more
chunky so that's why I went for the 35mm dia.
Thanks again for all your help!
I know this is a woodworking group, but how about using metal tubing instead
of dowels? You can get nice looking metal tubing at the home stores over
with the ceiling fans. Cut it so size with a pipe cutter, run a length of
threaded rod through the tubes and shelves in each corner and you're done. I
have a bookshelf made like this and it's held together fine for almost 15
years so far.
Thanks for the feedback. I can understand what you say and I will
investigate your idea.
I am thinking of what you said, with washers and bolts inside to keep the
outer pip equidistant from the threaded rod inside. I've not got a pipe
cutter so will need to price one up.
The bookcase I have has shallow holes drilled top and bottom in each corner
of each shelf. they are the same diameter as the outside of the pipe and
about 1/8 inch deep. In the center of this depression, a hole the diameter
of the threaded rod is drilled that goes all the way through the shelf. The
shallow holes keep the tubing in place, and the holes through the shelves
keep the threaded rod centered.
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