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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Colorado Springs, CO USA
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    72

    Default connecting with dowels

    I have a horse's head attaching to his neck. I'm following the plans. It uses 3 dowels. I have an expensive dowel tool. I drill the original holes using measurements and squaring for center lines. The dowels get glue and are set in place. Then I attempt to attach to head to the neck. The 2nd piece doesn't want to fit. So I begin carving away at the dowels and enlarging one set of holes. I use a glue that expands to fit the added space. I can't get a nice tight fit between the 2 pieces and the head is slightly tilted in 2 directions after I made sure the two boards were perfectly thinned to match. I'm not sure where to go with this in order to avoid it in the future. I'm wondering about using smaller dowels and larger holes. I'm wondering about using the norm on one piece and enlarging the holes on the other piece. I'm sure two dowels would be simpler than 3 but I'd like to learn how to get this setup to work properly.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Melbourne
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    Default

    There are dowel pins that may work for your job ,these fit into a drilled hole of your choice size,fit the pins into the holes,each pin has a spike in the centre,place the adjoining piece in position where you want it to join and apply pressure,the spikes leave a centre mark which is where you drill for the other dowel hole
    Drill the holes where you want as many as you want but make sure you drill square off the joining surface
    You can get these pins from Bunnies in a couple of sizes
    I use this method when I can't use a dowel jig,works well for me

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    used to live in Sydney, now it's Canada
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    64
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    10,696

    Default

    I think you need to drill for the dowels before you carve the head and neck. Working off square sides, you should be able to get a very good fit of the boards
    regards from Canada

    ian

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Brisbane
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    1,712

    Default

    I'm not sure what "an expensive dowel tool" is as there are so many dowel tools. However, if it makes you feel any better, some users have the same difficulty even using a super expensive tool like a Festool Domino machine. ian's response above most probably gives you the clue. Working of perfectly flat, square surfaces gives the best chances of success. Even if you use dowel-locators as nrb suggests, you will have problems if the dowels are not perfectly in line - that is if one hole goes in one direction and the other in a different direction (even slightly). Twas ever the way with dowels.

    If you can give us some photographs there may be more expert people than me who can give better advice where to go from here. One thought that I have is to question whether you need dowels at all to locate a head on a rocking horse (if that is what you are doing). Because you have a large contact surface there are plenty of really strong adhesives that will provide a good joint without dowels as long as both surfaces are flat. Some epoxies even allow the surfaces to be imperfect. Then, especially if you glue before final carving as ian suggests, you can locate using wide tape around the circumference and, as long as you can clamp the joint firmly it will be strong. Then, final trimming and sanding will remove any inaccuracy in alignment.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO USA
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    72

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nrb View Post
    There are dowel pins that may work for your job ,these fit into a drilled hole of your choice size,fit the pins into the holes,each pin has a spike in the centre,place the adjoining piece in position where you want it to join and apply pressure,the spikes leave a centre mark which is where you drill for the other dowel hole
    Drill the holes where you want as many as you want but make sure you drill square off the joining surface
    You can get these pins from Bunnies in a couple of sizes
    I use this method when I can't use a dowel jig,works well for me

    Thank you. This does not seem to replace the dowel jig. I have seen these and I think I understand how adding these may assist. The other thing I'm thinking is that if the wood project is not perfectly thinned across the board then when you place the jig in one direction for one end and then reverse it to fit on the other end of the board, the dowels may not end up pointing in exactly the same direction.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO USA
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    Default

    You know what? I think I own some of these. Typical of me to keep buying tools and then forgetting I own them. I have bought two identical tools on some occasions!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO USA
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    Default

    another good idea

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Melbourne
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    74
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    Default

    These dowel pins are used instead of a doweling jig NOT with a jig
    I'm sorry if my explaining how to use the pins is not clear

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    McBride BC Canada
    Posts
    3,333

    Default

    Some of my wood carvings finish as glue-ups where I have elected to use different woods.
    The dowel pins are lifesavers inside fitted joints.
    It's not so much the depths and the angles but the simple spacing for a pair of pegs.

    My sole bit of advice is to buy 2 sets. One might be used for indexing purposes while
    the next set is being used for fresh markings.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    geelong
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    117

    Default

    If going for sloppy dowels in the holes to correct alignment use something like epoxy that has strength after setting. Taking a guess polyurethane was what you were talking about (expanding) It glues well but the foamy part has very poor strength-gap is filled but not with anything substantial.

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