Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
Dowel Plate

Warren in Lancaster, PA
Dowel plate is another tool that is hard to find in inventories. The pins for mortise and tenon work are not dowels at all. They are tapered. Putting stock through a dowel plate is too time consuming. For 1/4 inch holes, I make a dozen tapered pins in 8 minutes.

I get to work on a barn occasionally. I have done both joint making and raising. For a raising we usually have forty or fifty guys helping, so there is a lot of experience around. Most of the guys are descendants of the original Lancaster County settlers over 300 years ago and have been continuously engaged in farming since that time. I have never seen a hook pin in use in this neighborhood. They just aren't needed. One time I helped disassemble and move a heavy timber cider mill building in a nearby county. When a peg broke, tool dealer Bill Phillips whipped out a hook pin to get it out of the hole. That is the only one I ever saw.

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