Consistent diameter wooden dowel rods

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Old 02-03-17, 08:36 AM
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Question Consistent diameter wooden dowel rods

Does anyone knows where I might find a very consistent diameter and roundness dowel rods (5/16" diameter).
I keep getting them in local and big box hardware stores and they always vary greatly in diameter and shape along it's length.
One I got in Home Depot was only partially 5/16" and rest of it was much thicker... Another one started off round and then became oval
I don't mind paying extra (I use them to make axles for custom toys). Any good source?
Also what about hardwood type? Are some better for consistency than others (i.e. birch vs. oak)?
Also if you know source of metric ones, that would be even better, cause I really need them for 8mm, 5/16" is a little loose (but I can live with that)...
 
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Old 02-03-17, 08:52 AM
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If you go to a mfg instead of a retailer I'm sure they can make whatever you need. I needed a lot of 1/4" dowels and my search lead me to Kingfield Wood Products - Specialty Wood Products and Turnings no affiliation and I'm sure there are others. Businesses like this have the equipment all set up and running and for something as simple as a dowel they probably have some in stock.

Bud
 
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Old 02-03-17, 09:06 AM
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I have never had any problem with the dowels at Menards. Adding your location to your profile would be a big help. Its pointless to ask for a supplier if we don't know where you are located. (example, Menards is not a nationwide chain.)
 
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Old 02-03-17, 09:09 AM
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Store bought dowels are misshaped for the same reason store bought 2x4s are almost always misshaped. Wood changes shape as the moisture content changes in response to its environment. And wood changes shape as it reacts to internal stresses from the grain structure of wood, which are further activated by the machining process.

If you want axles of consistent size that stay straight and stable, you are better off looking at metal or plastic.

If you must have wood, then you could consider making your own. Simple dowel plates are not likely to be satisfactory for you, but there are other more sophisticated ways to make good dowels.

Check out the following link for many options. But hold on to your wallet!

https://www.fine-tools.com/duebelherstellung.html

And keep in mind that making your own will give a smooth straight dowel of consistent diameter, but that doesn't mean it will stay that way for long, for the reasons above.

Good luck with your project!
 
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Old 02-03-17, 10:53 AM
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Thanks guys! I'm in New York (Orange County), so there are no Menards out here unfortunately...
I get most of my stuff online these days anyway, so that's what I meant
Trying manufacturer is good idea, I'll reach out to those suggested, see what their tolerances are.
CarbideTipped, I think it's not just drying of the wood, but it looks like just like really bad manufacturing process... At least those that I've seen. Straightness I don't really care about, I cut them in small (about an inch size pieces) with my chop saw and jig I made. This jig has 5/16" hole thru which I feed dowel, so I realized that HD rod was way thicker when I can longer push it thru the jig...
That's an excellent suggestion about making my own dowels! I don't mind spending couple of hundred $ to be able to make my own
 
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Old 02-03-17, 10:57 AM
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Too bad. Try an Ace hardware store.
 
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Old 02-17-17, 07:48 AM
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I went to Lowes and rummaged thru all the 5/16 rods they had This time I brought an 8mm OD bearing to measure. If I could slide bearing thru, I picked that rod, if I couldn't I put it aside. All in all got about 8 good ones out of probably 30...
Haven't tried Ace yet, but I imagine result will be similar. I also called other suppliers and they honestly told me that I can probably expect same variation from them.
Lately I've been going thru a lot of dowels, so I decided to bite a bullet and ordered Veritas Dowel maker (as suggested by CarbideTipped) with 5/16" attachment
 
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