cutting dowels?


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Old 01-22-12, 04:52 PM
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cutting dowels?

I'm making a couple of racks to hold my softball bats, similar to the one in the pic below. I made one this morning but had somewhat of a problem cutting the 3/8" dowels. I found that when cutting the dowels (I need 26) several splintered. I've repaired them with a little glue but wonder how I should have done this correctly in the first place.
I used a table saw with a sled. The blade is a Freud with 24 teeth. I have a 40 and a 60 toothed blade. Would one of these be better? Should I tape each with masking tape where I intend to cut?
I don't have a band saw.
Any thoughts?
By the way, mine won't have multiple racks as the one in the pic has.



 
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Old 01-22-12, 08:47 PM
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The tape will probably help, but I think the best option is the finer toothed blade. Either the 40 or the 60 should work well; the 24 tooth is a bit coarse for that small a cut.
 
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Old 01-22-12, 09:00 PM
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Thanks, I'll give it a try!
 
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Old 01-23-12, 12:54 AM
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Using a hand miter box/saw is also an option. Would even give you some exercise, and very little, if any, splintering.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 04:01 AM
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This is one of Bruce's first "retirement" project, guys. I would use the sled, but instead of cutting through the dowel, bring your sled to a point where the blade (60T) touches the dowel close to the 1/4 point and clamp it down. Then put the dowel in the sled and roll it on the blade. That way you will cut all around the dowel and prevent splintering. You won't cut clear through so you will actually break the dowel, then finish the broken ends with sandpaper. Of course the longer the dowel the safer it will be. Bridgeman's idea of the manual box is good, too, as the teeth on the back saw are really fine.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 05:59 AM
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Thanks guys!
Chandler, you're correct, my first woodworking project after retiring. I've made a list of others. I should be busy for quite a while!!
 
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Old 01-23-12, 06:31 AM
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You could also just cut the dowels with a boxcutter. Set them on a flat surface like a workbench, apply pressure on top with the knife, roll them around a few times then snap. Should be easy enough on a 3/8" dowel. Not something I'd do for a 1/2" or bigger.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 07:06 AM
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Hmmm, wild guess but, in the spirit of "backing up" a board to prevent splintering, would it help if the dowel was passed through a hole drilled in a board, and the end cut off flush with the board?
 
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Old 01-23-12, 10:13 AM
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more great ideas, thanks!
 
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Old 01-23-12, 05:38 PM
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While the rolling the dowel idea will work, it sounds dicey. I would shy away from that for safety reasons.

A blade with more teeth on it is what you need. It also needs to be sharp. So if you 60 tooth blade doesn't work, get it sharpened.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 03:49 AM
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Duh, I read "3/8"" but my brain envisioned 3/4" dowels. Yeah, the skinny ones just score with a razor knife and snap them, cleaning up the ends. BUT, this would give an excellent opportunity for you to go buy a band saw
 
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Old 01-24-12, 05:34 AM
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You're right Chandler, that will probably be my next purchase
 
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Old 01-26-12, 01:02 PM
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Hi Bruce, Great project! Instead of worrying about how to cut them, how about just cleaning them up a bit. You could just hold them against a belt sander or RO sander and clean up the splinters, kind of like a pencil sharpener. You could take it a little farther and round over the ends to have a more finished look. You probably wouldn't have to cut them any longer to do it.

If you want to clean up your table saw cuts, a finer blade (more teeth) is one way to go. The other way is to make a 0 clearance jig for this. You could drill a 3/8 hole through a 2 X 2 block and cut it in half lengthwise to produce a cradle for the dowel. Clamp it to your sled over the blade path, put on a dowel, and cut through both the first time. Make sure it is positioned so you can hold the dowels down on both sides of the blade and be safely away from the blade - 3" minimum!! More is better!! If it works, you can leave it clamped to the sled and just keep putting your dowel on it and against a stop block and keep cutting to a consistent length, The cradle should support the fibers on the tear out side of the dowel and give you clean cuts every time. Once the cradle wears a bit, you can just slide the pieces together and re cut the slot.

Who knows, you might have to un retire and go into the bat rack business!

Good Luck with it!
Jim
 
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Old 02-01-12, 05:07 AM
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thanks Jim, I like the idea about the jig.
As for cleaning up the edges, I put each cut dowel in my drill and did it that way.

thanks again!
 
 

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