I've got some dowels whose diameters are slightly bigger than what I need, and I don't want to purchase some smaller ones since I'm on a tight budget. Does anyone know how to reduce the diameter throughout the length of the dowel, preferably efficiently? I only need to reduce the diameter throughout the dowel by 0.25~0.5 cm.I was thinking maybe I can sand it down either with sanding paper, file, electric sander or a electric belt sander, but am not sure whether it will work or will be time efficient (the project is slightly in a rush). Many thanks.
While you can sand dowels to reduce their diameter it's not the most efficient method even to take off just a millimetre or two, and it's difficult to ensure consistency along the length. Especially since you want to remove as much as 5mm I think you'd be much better of using a cutting rather than a sanding operation, following the rule shavings > dust where possible.
So I think your best option here would be to rig up a simple dowel-cutting tool, which at its most basic requires one piece of wood, a sharp edge of some kind and two clamps to hold everything in place.
Here are a few different iterations of the concept:
As you suggested, the simplest way is sanding. I would start with a coarse grain sand paper (60 or lower) to get the bulk of the material removal, since 2.5 to 5 mm is quite a bit to sand away. The best way to reduce the diameter evenly is to put the dowel in a drill, then spin the drill while at the same time holding the sand paper to the dowel.
A few suggestions:
- Don't hold the sand paper with your hand - it will get very hot very fast. Use a thick glove, or better yet, a concave piece of wood to hold the sand paper. Going slower with the drill will help with this.
- If the dowel is thicker than what can fit in the chuck of the drill, shave off at the tip of the dowel until it does. This will cost you a few CM off of the length of the dowel.
- If the dowel is fairly long, you should brace it on the other end. The simplest way would be putting the end of the dowel through a round hole in a piece of wood.