Shop-made Flutes on Dowels

The WoodEzine workshop is located in the far reaches of western South Dakota and the nearest large town, Rapid City, is about 45 minutes away. We were repairing some bar stools the other day and discovered that we needed some 7/16” diameter fluted dowels to match the originals. Despite having two lumberyards and a huge hardware store, the only fluted dowels we could find were 3/8” and 1/2”. However, there was one 36” long 7/16” straight dowel in town. After thinking about all the machines and power tools at our disposal, we finally realized that the best way to flute this smooth stick was with a Japanese saw. We tried it with a pair of pliers (a more traditional approach) but the results were mixed at best. Dragging the saw sideways along the dowel gave us quite acceptable results every time. Nope, it’s not rocket science, but it is a simple solution to an annoying little problem.