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From: Woodcraft Magazine Issue 20

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species that will accurately match a drilled hole, including a counterbored screw hole.

THE SETUP:Included are the plate, a plastic storage bag, and some well-written instruct-ions. The plate has two pre-drilled, countersunk holes that provide the option of permanently mounting it over a series of relief holes that
such as chair spindles as shown in Photo B. It was immediately apparent that it would deliver plugs that precisely fit a Forstner bit drilled hole, with no voids for glue to escape and taint a finish.
The heavy steel plate is ¼" thick and measures 7 x 1½". Made from A2 tool steel that has been cryogenically treated (subjected to extremes of cold temperature to temper it), the plate has a perfectly ground and finished feel. The seven holes are machined straight for the first 0.025", and are then cut with a 6° taper on the under-side. This provides a cutting edge on the top surface that pares the wood as in Photo C, and a relief below that reduces friction and allows the shearing action to take place as in Photo D. While it will probably never need to be sharpened (it rates at 60 on the Rockwell scale, which is pretty darn hard), the plate could theoretically be touched up by dressing the top
The dowel plate is a beautifully made, very simple tool that reflects the extraordinary quality that we have come to expect from Tom Lie-Nielsen. It is made from cryogenically treated tool steel, and is available in both inch and metric versions. Simply tap a slightly oversized dowel (it doesn’t have to be round) through one of the holes, and the result is a plug in any you could drill in your bench as in Photo A, or it can be clamped in place for temporary use. If permanently mounted, it’s a good idea to mortise it flush into the benchtop.

TRIAL RUN: In our test, the Dowel Plate made quick work of sizing dowels perfectly for plugs. It can also be used to cut precise tenons on parts

surface with a series of waterstones. The inch version cuts dowels to 1/8, 3/16, ¼, 5/16, 3/8, ½ and 5/8" diameters.

BEST APPLICATIONS: The Dowel Plate is perfect for making plugs in contrasting species, and for sizing round tenons for a precise fit. In a pinch, it can be used to check the diameter of bolts, bars, and bits as shown in Photo E. Threaded bolts are marginally smaller than their nominal diameter, so they’re not so tight a fit that they will normally damage the plate.

TESTER’S TAKE: The Dowel Plate is one of those tools that you could live without, but once used, you'll reach for it again and again. It elevates something as simple as plugging screw holes to an art, delivering the kind of precise results that mark the subtle difference between work and craftsmanship. The callouts are clearly engraved and large enough for eyes with a few miles on the odometer This is a lifetime investment, and it comes with a guarantee from Lie-Nielsen that is good for the life of the tool.