Woodpeckers has come out with a new One Time Tool – a monstrous dowel press. It’s designed to cut dowels out of any wood species of your choosing.
This Woodpeckers dowel press costs a bit more – $399 for the inch or metric set. If you want the fullest capabilities, it’s $399 for the inch set and $80 for the add-on set of metric dies.
Obviously, this is only going to be a purchase for those who work with lots and lots of wood dowels.
Its operation is relatively simple. You start off with a square blank, although you could probably start with hex or roundish stock. You start with a rough cut, to take the corners off larger blanks. Then there’s another cutter 0.10″ wider than your desired finish diameter. Lastly, there’s a finishing die.
The inch set can create dowels 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ in diameter, with smooth or fluted surfaces, and 3/4″ with a smooth surface. The metric set can create dowels 5, 6, 8, and 10mm with either smooth or fluted surfaces.
Woodpeckers recommends that you start with a blank 1/16″ wider than your desired dowel size.
The dies are easily swapped out, and additional features include oil-less bushings, a 5/8″ Acme screw, drop-down auto-centering guide, swivel handle made from aircraft aluminum, and what look to be final push-through plungers.
You can easily sharpen the dies on a whetstone or similar sharpening equipment. I’m thinking that the laser-etched markings can last through a few resharpening sessions.
In the “behind the scenes” video, it’s mentioned easier replaceability is a benefit of the individual cutting dies – “You could replace them if they’re ever lost” – but I don’t see how you’d be able to buy just one die once the One Time Tool is long sold out.
It looks like this will pair well with their ultimate doweling jig One Time Tool.
Order Deadline: 10/31/2016
Shipping ETA: April 2017
Personally, I would love the ability to quickly create dowels from any species of wood. But I have a knock-through Veritas dowel former I don’t even use all that much. Besides, if I really need to turn a dowel from a certain type of wood, I could buy pre-formed dowels. $400 is close enough to the price of a good small lathe.
There’s great appeal to being able to crank out dowels without power tools, and without having to pound them through a die. But you’ve got to make a lot of dowels before this press will pay for itself.
Don’t forget that it occupies a bit of benchtop real estate too. The Woodpeckers dowel press measures 15-1/2″ long x 2-7/8″ wide x 4-5/8″ tall, and weighs around 10 pounds.
Why post about a tool that’s beyond the needs and justified budgets of most woodworkers? I find the design to be inspirational. If you want similar functionality but the $400 price point is way beyond reasonable for your needs, use the design as a stepping point and build your own. It’ll be easier if you have machining tools, but there seems to be ways one could build a DIY version out of off-the-shelf parts.
Following are Woodpeckers’ promo videos, the first being a tool intro, and the second a “behind the scenes” type look at the dowel press’s development.