How Are Round Wooden Dowels Made?
Dowels are typically made in two different processes to maximize the yield from the raw material. In the case of smaller diameters of 1” and less, they are typically made on a molder. Boards are molded with a set of knives cutting a half round on the top of the board and another set cutting half round on the bottom. With careful set-up of the molder, a several inch wide board can “extrude” multiple round dowels at once form that single board. Set-up of the molder is key to insure accurate diameter and true roundness of the dowels.
A second process of making dowels is via a single rod machine / dowel machine such as a Hawker brand which has been in use for over 100 years. This process involves feeding a square into the machine and a rotating knife spinning around the square creates the round dowel. This work best for larger diameter dowel, where defect free raw material is more difficult to access and improves yields. Dowels produced in this manner are typically not as smooth as molding, though sanding cleans them up nicely.