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Thread: Finding 'Dead Center' on Dowel Rod?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Owensboro, KY
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    15

    Finding 'Dead Center' on Dowel Rod?

    I've been struggling with ways to find dead center on pieces of round dowel rods, and didn't know if any of you have any suggestions?

    I'm having problems both with finding dead center on a piece to fasten it on my lathe, and finding dead center when I go to drill the end. Every single time I go to drill the end I am either 1/16" to 1/8" off one way or the other, and it makes the hole off center.

    Any tricks or tips?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Columbia Falls, MT
    Posts
    62
    One way that I have been shown is to take a piece of wood that is close to half the thickness of your dowel. Butt the end of the dowel up to the edge of your piece of wood and mark a line across rotate your dowel 180 deg. and mark another line rotate again 90 deg. mark a line and then rotate another 180 deg. and mark a line. You should end up with a very small square right in the middle. The nice thing about it is that you don't have to be absolutely perfect with your lines.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Stony Plain, AB CA
    Posts
    683
    I use one of these, they work great.
    http://busybeetools.ca/cgi-bin/picture10?NTITEM=B1246
    Always drink upstream of the herd.

  4. #4
    Glenn Clabo
    Charlestown Navy Yard

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Northwestern Wisconsin
    Posts
    436
    Mark I used to drill a lot of dowels. The biggest thing to drilling the holes is that I couldn't find too many dowels that are really round. Then on top of that they are not all the same size. What I found that works the best for me is to take a chunk of hardwood about 2 inches square X 3/4 inch thick. Drill a hole that is the same size as your dowel about half way through it. Then take the drill bit that you want to use and finish drilling through the block. You should now have a block that you can slip over the end of the dowel. The smaller hole should now be centered just drill from the top.

    It's easier to do than to explain. If you need more help just shout.

    Steve
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6

    Centering Dowels

    What I do is take a small skew and put it flat on the tool rest and draw it across the end of the dowel to square it up then push it from outside (toolrest side) to the center with the long point. That will put a dimple in dead center. It will stop cutting when it reaches center.....Ron
    A turning a day keeps the doctor away.

  7. #7

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Campbell View Post
    Mark I used to drill a lot of dowels. The biggest thing to drilling the holes is that I couldn't find too many dowels that are really round. Then on top of that they are not all the same size. What I found that works the best for me is to take a chunk of hardwood about 2 inches square X 3/4 inch thick. Drill a hole that is the same size as your dowel about half way through it. Then take the drill bit that you want to use and finish drilling through the block. You should now have a block that you can slip over the end of the dowel. The smaller hole should now be centered just drill from the top.

    It's easier to do than to explain. If you need more help just shout.

    Steve
    Nice solution. I'm going to use this.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Paradise PA
    Posts
    3,084
    they make a metal center finder that you place on the wood then tap it with a mallet, then turn a bit then tap again. it scribes the line. even on out of round peices. i cant seem to find one though to show a picture.
    14x48 custom 2hp 9gear lathe
    9 inch pre 1940 craftsman lathe
    36 inch 1914 Sydney bandsaw (BEAST)
    Wood in every shelf and nook and cranny,,, seriously too much wood!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Central Ohio
    Posts
    838
    I use the Veritas Center Marker. I think that's what Curtis is describing.

    http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.a...330,49237&ap=1



    It will split small dowels, though
    Ridiculum Ergo Sum

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Paradise PA
    Posts
    3,084
    thats what i was thinking of. for small dowels you can do 2 things. either tap it lighter. or you take a peice of chalk or a pencil and rub the marking point so it will draw on the dowel instead of marking the wood
    14x48 custom 2hp 9gear lathe
    9 inch pre 1940 craftsman lathe
    36 inch 1914 Sydney bandsaw (BEAST)
    Wood in every shelf and nook and cranny,,, seriously too much wood!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Chico, California
    Posts
    998
    For years I've used a Starrett center finder and just bought the Lee Valley one which is very accurate and faster too.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Ridgewood, NJ
    Posts
    21
    That's funny, I tripped over this about an hour ago searching for something else:

    http://www.woodworkingshop.com/cgi-b...onthsBetween=0

    cl70008.jpg

    It is hollow, with a matching point on the inside.

    Josh

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Golka View Post
    I use one of these, they work great.
    http://busybeetools.ca/cgi-bin/picture10?NTITEM=B1246
    Me too, it works great.

  14. Mike
    Sunny San Diego

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