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Redwood Dowel? Where to Get?

16807 Views 21 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  vsmith
Anyone know where I can buy some 1/8, 3/16, and 1/4" redwood dowel? If not redwood, any wood will do in a pinch.

Thanks! :)
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If you have access to a farm supply (possibly some nurseries) you might find some sticks they use to support plants. Our local supplier has 3/8" cedar dowel about 3 feet long for 10 cents each. I've used them as roof supports and they are quite nice for the money although you need to go through them to get the best ones. There might be smaller sizes available at some locations but probably not under 1/4". Additionally skewer sticks are about 1/8" I think and are about 12" long approx. They are available where they have cooking/baking supplies and in some grocery stores.

If the material doesn't have to be wood don't forget TAP Plastics. They have plastic rod and tubing in various sizes.
First, find a suitable length of redwood 2X2 or larger.

Next, locate a lathe of necessary length.

Now, mount the piece of redwood, engage power switch, and feed your tool until you obtain the desired dowel thickness.

Whatreya, new?
Posted By Curmudgeon on 08/23/2008 11:58 AM
First, find a suitable length of redwood 2X2 or larger.
Next, locate a lathe of necessary length.
Now, mount the piece of redwood, engage power switch, and feed your tool until you obtain the desired dowel thickness.
Whatreya, new?

Ah HA! Now I know who you are!!!!

You're the owner/operator of that sawmill in the Warner Brothers cartoons that makes "ONE" toothpick from a whole tree!

MicroMark sells a metal plate with a set of graduated holes that you push a dowel through to reduce the diameter. You just keep putting it through smaller and smaller holes until you get the size you need.
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Hahaha Dave. Leave it to you.

I'm sending you some 8x8x10' timbers via UPS to turn down to 1/8" dowels for me. We do things big here in Oregon you know. Please let me know when they're ready. ;)
Try Woodcraft. They don't have redwood, but they do have some hardwood dowels: http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=667

I've ordered wood from them before and it seems pretty nice.

If I might ask, why redwood?
Oops. Noticed they only have the 1/4" stuff. For 3/16 and 1/8, try Micromark. $2 for a package of 10...

Thought Woodcraft DOES have the LIE-NIELSEN Dowel Plate - Lets you quickly and easily make exactly sized dowels from any wood you choose ;)
Have you tried Home Depot or Loews? I used a lot of 1/4" square stock from Home Depot when I made a bridge back when I lived in the States. They had circular stock too, different diameters. Also Michaels or Hobby Lobby type store should have lots of different diameters.


I know our local ACE hardware has a rack with several different sizes of dowel ranging from 1/8" up to 1". I believe the wood is ramen, a foreign hard wood.
Thanks gents. Searching online turned up zilch, though I didn't think of Micro-Mark's dowel plate.
Bruce - I want redwood if possible because this is destined to become On30 cord wood for loco tenders and wood stacks, and that's what the SPC burned (among other things) as it was very plentiful. I'd also like to make wood piles for my Accucraft 4-4-0's if I can find some larger dowel, though I can probably go up in the hills and find some redwood twigs for that.
Neat. But I wouldn't go with dowel at all. I'd go get those twigs - it will look MUCH better.
Check places that sell clothes racks and cedar closets. Many of these are made of cedar (and possibly redwood) to repell bugs and cedar also does well in the exterior environment.
I agree with Bruce--get some small twigs and split them. If you want the reddish hue of redwood, a light stain will work quite handily for that. Dowels are too "round," and they probably will not split as cleanly as you'd like them to for the project.



Back when I lived in Livermore I had a big California Peppertree in the back yard that I was contantly trimming. I took some of the 2-3" diameter branches that were trimmings and cut them into 1" long rounds. Then it was a simple matter to sit down on a nice Sunday afternoon, have a nice glass of Wente Bros. chardonnay, and take a wood chisel and split away. The bark looks a lot like redwood and with staining the wood does too.
Why would a logging railroad in Redwood country be using limb wood to feed the bolers? Even your 1/4 inch dowel is only representing a 1 ft dia log. I don't think they fell many 12" Redwoods back in the Glory Days of logging, let alone took the time to limb them up to feed the boilers.

Wouldn't you see mostly split wood? Usually 3-4 feet long and 6 to 8 inches square stacked along the right of way by wood contractors to load on the tenders.

Most people make the mistake of cutting their model wood way to small, like 3-4 inches square and 16-24 inches long. Those sizes are what we use now for the stove and fireplace but they are way to small for firebox wood.

Just my thoughts.
Rick Marty
You could always whittle them by hand. Then scrape it with a saw to get some bark detail.
I can see it now, Dwight sitting in a rocking chair with a pile of shavings all around him. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif
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Rick - to be honest, I know very little about split wood or splitting wood. I assumed they would cut up and split the larger limbs and the scrap cants they couldn't make usable lumber from. Educate me please. :)

BTW, this won't be a logging line but a common carrier hauling finished timber.
Most hardware stores around here have a display rack, a bit like a K&S tubing rack only bigger with a range of sizes of dowel, usually some un-named hardwood.
Failing that, you could try here.
Hi Dwight,

A logging line would usually use slab wood (the outside cuts from the logs) to feed the boilers and locomotives. This was because, they had to cut it anyway to get to the good wood and it was basically free.

A common carrier would "usually" contract with independent wood cutters to supply x number of cords to be stacked beside the track or in specified wood sheds at track side.

Now an independent contractor of 1870 was no different from one of 1970 they were going to supply the minimal accepable product at the least cost and effort to themselves. It is far more economical to saw rounds from large logs and split them down then it is to brush-up and split knotty small logs and limb wood.

Most railroads, steamboat lines, etc, would specify what they would accept for firebox wood. The size, and species of wood was of prime consideration but they also would have limits on the amount of bark,and sap wood, as well as punky or rotten wood.

Different species of wood will produce different BTU ratings. The hard woods like ,Walnut, Oak, Locust, etc will produce far mor BTU per cubic ft. then soft woods like Redwood, Fir, or Pine. Other considerations were the amount of creosote, ashes, and sparks that a given wood would produce. Then there is the wet wood, dry wood, green wood, problem that effects both the burnability and the BTU's produced.

Now having said all that, a common carrier line in your local would perhaps have contracted for Oak, Madrone, and Mountain Maple rather than use a soft wood. It would cost them more but they would get more efficiency per cord, as well as not having to sand out the flues as often thus saving on repairs.

Using the Oak, Madrone, Maple, etc they would have a lot more bark and sap wood present and also be in smaller cross sections then split Redwood or Fir would have been.

I'm probably all wrong
but it's a good story.
Rick Marty
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Dwight you live in a state where redwood grows.... Cant you find a branch around 1-2" in dia and cut and split it to the approaite size? Thats how I made my wood but happened to be from a maple branch
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