Dowel Center Finder





Introduction: Dowel Center Finder

About: Hi I'm Kriss! I’m a 20-something that likes to build tools, jigs, and other random contraptions with wood.

An easy-to-make tool that accurately marks the center of wooden dowels.

Step 1: "X" Marks the Spot

As you can imagine, accurately marking the center of a wooden dowel (by hand) is a tricky task.

This funny looking 3-sided box gets it right every time.

Step 2: Cut the Parts

A scrap of 3/4" plywood is cut at the mitre saw. Two pieces are required measuring 3" wide and about 7" long.

Step 3: Form an "L"

Glue the two parts that were just cut into an "L" shape.

Step 4: Cut at 45°

Back at the mitre saw, the sides of the "L" piece are trimmed at 45°.

Step 5: Cut Into Two Parts

Splitting the previous part right down the middle. The resulting pieces will form the 3-sided box.

Step 6: Cut Dados

Shallow grooves are cut at the router table. This creates a slot which provide space for the utility knife blade. The two halves will be glued together... but for added measure, the knife blade is held in with a few strips of double sided tape.

Step 7: Final Glueup

Gluing the 45° mitre joint. Tape holds the parts together while the glue dries.

Step 8: Sanding

Any imperfections resulting after the glue up can be fixed on the disc sander.

The disc sander I use is made using a drill press. Check that Instructable out over here.

Step 9: BAM

Just two blows of a hammer and the center is found! Apparently I also got pretty close with the freehand mark on this one – I'm usually not that lucky.

HIGH FIVE for reading :)



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    41 Discussions


    2 years ago

    The next instructables video I watched used a dowel centre finder, with a much more simpler tool, that allows one to draw a line, instead of notching one, located at the 3m27s mark:

    circle finders are readily available and kludged together frequently, but this is a whole new level. You really have built a better mouse trap. Now you've got my mind going. Maybe using a surface that will hold an ink or grease pencil line to mark harder stock, or even making a jig to run lightly against your band saw to definitively mark metal rods? Thanks for planning my day. I once had to make 5lb plumb bobs for a friend (it was very windy, huge job, don't judge) and this would have saved me probably an hour right off the cuff. Definitely building this and/or variants.

    3 replies

    Your comment got me thinking too - having a slot window instead of the blade would allow me to mark it through the back side.

    Or this! Brilliant! A permanent fine liner marker pen could very well do that. Hats off to you slippyshoe.

    As soon as I saw that he intended to recreate an "upgrade" version of the available tool, the first thing that came to mind also was if he was going to create a device that drew lines instead of an indenting device.

    Perhaps a Sharpie felt nib extracted from the pen (or some other permanent ink marking device's nib?), cleanly sliced into a finer strip, and sandwiched between the boards that way? And an "inkwell" could be incorporated to accept extra ink to the felt from the base or outside, whenever the ink dries up? Or just a sliver of straight edge timber used instead of the utility blade that has some ink spread over the edge every time a line needs being marked that way? Just a thought... or two.

    As already pointed out, this has been around awhile, but if you did it from first principles, well done.

    Centre finders come in several different forms, but the combination square with a 45-degree rule is ages old. For users of drill presses, the "jiggle" centre finder is also available.

    What you have created is a ply combination square without the 45-degree rule.

    Cute, but why not simply add a "Center Head" for your combination square to your tool kit. It will take up no room and will accurately give you the center of any round object in seconds

    4 replies

    or, take one of the "triangles" off the devise in this (well made) intractable, and use a pencil. Cheap and easy.

    Well a "center head" would only work with a fixed size dowel

    The center head attachment for my machinist square will accept up to 2 1/2 inch dowels down to 1/4 inch. Perhaps you are thinking about another item? A Center Head looks like a V with a steel ruler sticking through it. Just put a round stock in it, pencil in a mark, then rotate the stock and scribe another mark. The crossing will be the exact center.

    ok now I know what you're talking about. yup, you're right

    I see that the dowels dont have to be round as I have tried square ones and they are perfectly marked. Rectangular should also mark correctly but you may have to make severals strikes and fincd the center.

    1 reply

    squares are rectangles too. perhaps you are thinking of an oblong ;-)

    How do you change the blade when it gets too dull? Or does it stay sharp enough to use? Thanks!!

    I have the Veritas device and to avoid making deep marks, I rub pencil on the lines so marks can be seen and erased.

    Guess it's time to fire up the time machine?...

    Oh, I missed the time machine instructable! :-)

    On topic, I really like this idea. Very clever.

    I simply like it and can think of many uses. I too shall build one