24 May. 2013|
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Prior to the development of the Stanley benchtop dowel and rod turning machine, craftsmen cut wood to the approximate size needed.
Stanley introduced its eggbeater-type mechanism in 1911, adapting it for use with both the dowel machine and several breast drills. Cast iron and 15" long, the earlier dowel machines were coated with a hard black varnish (japanned).
In 1911, the machine sold for $8.50, with the other cutter heads selling for 80 cents each.
Then they pounded the rough, oversized stock through the tapered, circular hole in a metal dowel-sizing plate. On the dowel maker, the metal gear-driven cutter head rotates around the stock, shaving it to a cylinder much as a pencil sharpener shaves wood to a point. The resulting dowel proved that you really can fit a square peg into a round hole--if you use a big enough hammer. 77 dowel and rod turning machine represented the most important improvement in dowel making since Medieval times.
This crude method worked well enough for short joinery dowels, but rods had to be turned on a lathe.
The cutter heads themselves are similar to the Scottish wooden rounder, which dates back to the 18th century.