Turners have a leg up when it comes to furnituremaking. Without an
easy means of creating round parts, lathe-less woodworkers are stuck
searching for ways to squeeze square pegs (e.g. leg or spindle stock)
into round holes. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution. Using your
router table and a few bits, you can mill perfectly round stock for
spindles, legs, and more.
Aside from chair and bench making,
shop-made dowels and spindles are useful for all sorts of projects.
Using available stock not only saves time and money otherwise spent on
store-bought dowels, it also enables you to make spindles from matching
stock, or select a species that isn’t commercially available. And by
selecting straight grain stock, routed dowels are often straighter and
truer than those that have been sitting on a shelf.
Now for the
fine print: Bear in mind that routing dowels is a specifically paired
arrangement. A 3/8"-radius bit will only create a 3/4"-dia. dowel. Also
note that this technique works best for dowels 3/8"-dia. and up. Smaller
stock has a tendency to vibrate, resulting in an uneven cut.