One of the coolest uses for wooden dowels is in the custom fabrication of wooden hinges. Our first exposure to the wood hinge concept was via Rob Cosman's superb instructional DVD titled "The Wood-Hinge Box". In it, he shows one variation of a wood hinge made from a dowel. While there are endless variations and applications of this concept (both integrated into a project and in free standing hinges) several critical operations are required to fabricate a successful wooden hinge. Check our gallery page for several completed projects with wooden dowel hinges.
First, you have to buy or make an accurate dowel of the appropriate diameter, length, and of the desired matching or contrasting wood species for your project. See the page discussing our Dowel Shaper TS product line for more details on how to make a dowel from the wood of your choice on a table saw.
Second, this dowel has to be accurately and safely sectioned into multiple segments. Various jigs and sleds can be constructed for use with a hand saw, table saw, or band saw.
Third, an accurate channel needs to be routed in the pieces to be hinged with a round nose or core box bit.
Fourth, a centered hole must be drilled into the ends of each dowel segment so that the segments can be held together with pins and allowed to rotate relative to one another as the hinge is opened /closed. Elkhead Tools Dowel Center Drills are precisely machined from solid stainless steel to prevent discoloration of the dowel as it is drilled. They feature a hex shank to be securely placed in a handheld drill, drill press, or lathe, and a recessed stainless set screw to hold the replaceable drill bit. Our Dowel Center Drills are available in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, and 3/4 inch versions. The 1/4 and 3/8 use a 1/16" twist drill bit, the 1/2 uses a 2/32" bit, and the 3/4 uses a 1/8" bit. Copper coated steel pin material is also available, each pack is enough for numerous projects.