Wooden dowels come in a variety of lengths and widths ranging from 1/12” to 3” in diameter and typically in stock at 36” and 48” lengths. Larger diameters are also available, as well as lengths up to 16’ in some species.
Custom wood dowels are available for a variety of uses. Samples of some specialty products include:
Common Wood Species Available for Wooden Dowels and Dowel Pins are as Follows:
The standard dowel of choice for the past 150 years has been white birch, based on smooth grain, light color, strength, machines well, stain / paints well and cost effective. Because of the volume of birch processed, we can also offer bulk quantities that are cut to your desired lengths and is also the species of choice for extra operations of drilling, rounding, chamfering etc. The 3’ and 4’ lengths at 1/8” though 1 ¼” diameters are typically available in stock at considerable bulk quantities for prompt shipment. Cut to specific lengths and secondarily machined dowels are shipped ASAP, depending on operations involved.
Other wood species available are:
Poplar – relatively soft, straight and cost effective in larger diameters, stains and paints well
Ash – straight, strong, flexible and ideal for tool handles and gym equipment
Soft maple – smooth grained wood that stains /paints nicely at lower cost than hard maple
Oak dowels– distinctive grain, hard and strong for furniture applications
Hard maple – hard, smooth grained, dense wood, ideal for furniture applications
Cherry – beautiful, warm color and grain, machines quite nicely and ideal for higher end furniture.
Walnut – dark and distinctive brown color and the premium of domestic woods
Why is birch such a common dowel material?
White birch has been the wood of choice for nearly 150 year of dowel production. It machines smoothly based on close grain, is relatively inexpensive, uniform in color, fairly hard and strong, stains and paints well. Early uses also included these as candy / lollipop sticks and skewers and this wood is odorless and tasteless (also used for ice cream sticks and tongue depressors). Maine dominated the birch dowel production through the entire 1900’s and then eastern Europe and China became actively involved. China is now the predominant manufacturer of white birch dowel with logs sourced from Siberia.
The following wood species are available as well:
- Imported species
All domestic species are harvested in sustainable manner, as a matter of course in U.S. forestry regulations.
Extra operations for your specific needs:
- Finishing in non-toxic paints and stains
- Ends can be pointed, rounded, chamfered, drilled, slotted, tenoned, beveled, ferruled, tapered and sanded
- Shafts can be beaded, slotted, grooved, crossbored, resized to custom diameter
Printing Capabilities Include:
- Pad Printing, Silk Screening, Branding, Laser Engraving and more.
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.
Where can I buy wood dowels?
At H A Stiles, we supply the size and shaped dowel that you need. All of our work is custom and we are there to help and get you the perfect product. Get in touch to find out how we can help!