Thursday, September 3, 2009
Dowel Plate for Bamboo Skewers
I go through a lot of bamboo skewers in my shop. I use them to stir paint, apply glue, cap glue bottles, etc. I also frequently use them as pins or plugs in my projects. I like the size, the price is great, and I enjoy the look of the finished piece. They do however have one major drawback - they are rarely round.
The most usual defect is a lump, or ridge, that runs the length of the skewer. They also can vary significantly in diameter. While these defects in no way interfere with the paint stirring ability of the skewers, they can make for some very messy looking pegs. I used to dig through whole packs of skewers trying to find the best ones, all the while thinking "If only my LN dowel plate had holes smaller than 1/8th."
But then, "Eureka!" I hit on an easy fix. I took my metal drill gauge and tried using it as a dowel plate with the skewers. The gauge is not exactly beefy, but then again neither are the skewers - it works great. I find that the 7/64ths hole gives me consistantly round skewers with the least amount of effort or waste.
After I drive them through the gauge, I cut them with a knife. A rolling action makes the cleanest cut, and avoids the skewer's tendency to splinter or shred. The end result is a much cleaner look.