Intro: Make Your Own Dowels
In many woodworking projects the need arises for a dowel, either to plug a screw hole or to add a detail. This plate lets you make a dowel using a piece of falloff from your project, which will perfectly match the grain and tone of the wood you are using. This plate is for a single size dowel (5/16"), but you can have many different diameter holes on a single plate.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- 1/4" Thick piece of mild steel plate roughly 3"x6". The plate can be almost any size as long as it is at least 1/4" thick and bigger than 2"X2". Home centers carry some steel bar stock, or I am sure a local metal supply yard will have some fall off you could purchase cheaply.
- Four 1 1/4" drywall screws. This is what I used, because I had some laying around, but just about any wood screw would work.
- A piece of wood fall off from your project at least 6" long and larger than the dowel you intend to make
- Hand drill or drill press
- Drill bit for drilling main hole for dowel (mine was 5/16"), a bit for drilling through-holes for screws, and 1/2" bit for drilling a through-hole in a table (if your dowel plate is for 1/2" or over size dowel this will need to be larger)
- Utility knife
- Countersink (optional)
Step 2: Drill Plate
Drill a hole in the center of the plate, using the drill bit sized for the dowels you want to make. Drill a through-hole in each corner for the mounting screws. I countersunk my through-holes so my mounting screws would set flush but that is totally optional. Do not countersink your dowel hole. The hard edge helps with the forming of the dowel.
Step 3: Mount the Plate
Drill a hole through the edge of your work table using the 1/2" drill bit. This hole is just there to allow the dowel through, so it can be any size as long as it is larger than the biggest dowel you are making. Mount the plate above the hole in the table making sure the dowel hole is completely clear.
Step 4: Size the Material and Hammer the Dowel
Cut your material to exactly the size of your dowel hole. I made a 5/16" dowel, so I cut my stock to 5/16"x5/16" and then sharpen a point on the end of the stick, which makes it much easier to start the dowel. Hammer the stick through the hole. You should get a very nice dowel the exact dimension you need. If there is any defect, like a knot in the board, it will probably snap when you try to hit it through, so use very clear wood for this.