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But, why?

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.

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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.

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