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How to Make Wooden Dowel Rods

Updated July 20, 2017

Making wooden dowel rods has the advantage of forming dowels in any diameter or length that is needed for a project, from a 1/4 inch up to 5 inches in width. Dowel rods get progressively stronger as they thicken. Rods over 1 inch in diameter are perfect for hanging clothing, curtain rods, spindles in railings, poles and other heavy projects. Smaller-diameter dowels are used in toys, crafts and any lightweight project under 4 feet.

A router table and round-over bits turn square lengths of wood into dowels of all sizes. Some woodworking skills and proper tools are required.

Cut a length of wood so it is a square board with each side equal to the diameter of the finished dowel. Cut the board 4 inches longer than the dowel length you want to make.

Select a round over bit that is one quarter of the size of the dowel. For example, use a 1/2-inch bit for a 2-inch dowel.

Put the bit into the router. Use a straight edge to adjust the fence on the router table, so it is flush with the front edge of the bearing that is on the top of the bit. Use the straight edge to adjust the height of the router bit so the bottom point of the cutting curve is flush with the table top.

Mark the board 1 1/2 inches from one end for a start point. Measure the length of the board from that mark 1 inch longer than the finished dowel length and mark as the finish point.

Turn the router on. Lay the board on the router table with the right end against the fence and slowly pivot the board in toward the router bit, so it contacts it at the start mark. Push the board along the fence until the bit is at the finish mark. Pivot the board away from the bit.

Turn the board a quarter turn lengthwise and repeat the step above. Do this for all four sides.

Cut the dowel to length with a hand saw starting just inside the start point where the actual dowel begins. Measure along the length and cut the desired length.

Sand lightly to finish the dowel.

Tip

Feather boards both above and in front of the dowel when cutting, make the process smoother and safer, especially for the smaller diameter dowels.

Warning

Use all safety precautions recommended by the manufacturer when using a power tool.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood
  • Table saw
  • Router Table
  • Router bits
  • Straight edge
  • Hand saw
  • Sandpaper
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About the Author

Judy Filarecki has been a health educator and writer for 45 years. Her published work includes (under the name Judith Schwiegerling): "Down Syndrome: Optimizing Health and Development," Msall, DiGaudio and Schwiegerling, 1990; "Diabetes and Exercise," Schwiegerling, 1989. She has also published "Painting with Acrylics: Sombrero Peak." She has a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy and Master of Education from SUNY at Buffalo.