One for Mr D! Sorry I didn’t fix this up earlier :-(

Remember the Veritas dowel cutter.  Well I got it motorised today.

After sorting through quite a number of socket drives and hex drives I arrived at a workable solution ending in a half inch square drive that took the end of the band-sawed half inch square section dry oak.

I fastened the dowel cutter to a block of beech with two screws in the holes provided and clamped it into the vice.  The drill now turns the square stuff and applying pressure, feeds it through the cutter:

This set up works well until the drive gets close to the cutter blade.   Have to withdraw the drill/drive at that point and finish the dowel off somehow – rather tedious to withdraw as there is a lot of friction and a risk of upsetting the blade positioning.  Notice the edge of the bench supporting the outfeed from the cutter?

The solution was to drill an inch hole in the same beech block and inserting a handle (in my case borrowed from the 1 inch auger) makes finishing right through a breeze:

The output is accurately cut 7/16th oak dowel, just right for the dog gate I’m on with for a client.

New pencil sharpener

I thought one of these would come in handy for sessions with children or when time is too limited for learning how to make an accurate tenon the pole lathe e.g when someone wants to make a stool in a day. I bought mine here.

Veritas are renowned for decent kit. I already have a 1 inch and a 1 1/2 inch tenoner and they both perform really well. This little number does really work like a pencil sharpener, but on a larger scale and, of course, produces a tenon or a dowel. There are good instructions in the box, showing how to hold it without wearing out your skin on the sharp bits that hold the blade in place. It also shows how to use a drill to produce dowel. Nah! Blummin’ instructions, what is life if you can’t sort things out yourself. I sawed up some very dry straight-grained oak first to produce the blanks:

These are about 1/2 inches square and about 4 inches long, I sawed them with my trusty old band saw (powered by a 1960s washing machine motor). The cutter makes 7/16ths dowel so 1/2 inch is just oversize. At first it’s possible to turn the blank in the cutter by hand, but once the outfeed starts coming out the friction gets a bit of a pain, so I squirted some lube on and it turned OK. Helped my hands by using a spanner to turn the blank. Trouble then is the blank square end eventually disappears into the infeed of the cutter and there’s not enough on the outfeed to get hold of and turn the blank to finish the job. Here comes the solution:

Drilled an interference fit hole in a one inch thick beech block, the friction was not enough to hold the dowel while turning the cutter, so I drilled for a screw that can be tightened into the dowel to hold it from rotating. Now really easy to finish off, just turn the cutter and pull a bit until all the blank is done and the cutter slips off the end. Loosen the screw and knock the dowel out, quick rub on some sandpaper (recycled palm sander stuff) to put a bevel on the end and ready for whacking into the hole:

Mrs Law was not very impressed with the greenwood chestnut gate I’ve been making for the way into the field, too many bolts:

Well a mixture of coach bolts and coach screws actually, but I was inclined to agree, they did take something away from the handmade look. Much better now:

Just three bolts holding the brace in place that spreads the weight back to the left hand side where the hinges will be. I’ve sawn a disused electricity pole to length and split it in two to make the hinge post and sneck post. Digging them in and hanging the gate are tomorrow’s jobs.