Woodworkers are nothing if not do-it-yourselfers. But there are a few things that baffle me that anyone would want to do themselves.
There’s almost nothing we can’t make when we put our minds to it, and that’s a good thing. Woodworking’s all about making things; it’s natural. But some things are just so easy to get, while the methods of making them yourself are so tedious, why would you? The perfect example is dowels.
While looking for something else online I stumbled across a how-to video of making dowels on the table saw. I’d heard of doing that but had never seen it done, so I watched it. Having clicked on it, of course, I immediately got links to dozens of similar videos, so I watched some of them, too.
They make dowels all right, but all of them involved creating a time-consuming jig, using the table saw with the blade extremely high (and, in some cases, exposed), and required or recommended feeding square stock with a drill. They all turned out perfectly fine dowels, I guess, but you know what? The Big Box store down the street has perfectly fine dowels in any size I’d need, in several wood species, for just a buck or two. If I need something more unusual, virtually every woodworking supplier offers them inexpensively.
OK, I can see instances where you might need dowels of a really oddball species. Maybe you need dowels during a pandemic, taking place during a shipping strike, while Internet service is down, your car has been stolen, and your checking account is empty. Sure, under those circumstances I can maybe understand making dowels yourself.
But at any other time, no thanks. I’d much rather just pick up dowels on my next trip out – or order them online – and spend my time working on the projects themselves, not on such minor project components as dowels.