The only power tool I have is a drill. I have a set of bits, too.

How can I make the edge of a wooden dowel rounded off inwardly, so I can place on another dowel?

This is the shape I’m looking for:

enter image description here

This is the effect I’m trying to achieve:

enter image description here

  • Looks like you are already using a spindle sander. What's wrong with that approach? Other than that, files -- start with triangular to cut away most of the waste, then a rat-tail file to round it out.
    – keshlam
    Dec 4, 2016 at 22:49
  • Are you looking for a list of all the ways this could be done so you can pick the way you'll do it with the tools you have available (or are willing to buy)?
    – Graphus
    Dec 4, 2016 at 23:22
  • 1
    You can buy spindle bits for your drill and shape it that way.
    – Ashlar
    Dec 5, 2016 at 1:25
  • One added detail for the Answer by @mmathis that might be of help, the ideal way to hold dowels securely for drilling operations is some form of v-block which can fairly easily be knocked up from scrap wood (see image for the type of thing). If you don't want to go to the trouble just two thin strips of wood with a small gap between them will work just as well on a temporary basis. The dowel will neatly sit in the gap between the two strips (held up by their corners).
    – Graphus
    Dec 5, 2016 at 9:28
  • @keshlam Those images are not of OP; they're from Nick Ferry's Drawer Pulls video. Dec 5, 2016 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


You can use your drill. You'll need a bit whose size is the same as the diameter of the inner curve you want to cut. Clamp your dowel stock firmly, position the drill so the outer edge of the bit is at the spot you want the curve to be, and drill. Clean up the cut, if needed, with some sandpaper wrapped around another dowel.

As @Graphus mentioned in a comment, the best way to secure the dowel is in a v-notch, which you can make easily with scrap wood.


If you don't have a saw, two scrap pieces of wood with a small gap between them will also work.

This will be easier on a drill press, of course, and may be easier with a forstner bit. You'll get better results if you cut to length after.

Nick Ferry has a YouTube video showing this process, which he used to make some drawer pulls.

  • Yep, this is the way I'd do it. I think it's the simplest and best, even if the person did have a spindle sander with (coincidentally) just the right spindle diameter for the chosen dowel.
    – Graphus
    Dec 5, 2016 at 9:22

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