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Squaring off a round dowel


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I've just started to square off the top of a mast for crosstrees to fit onto.


My first attempt by hand using a file isn't great but I suspect with a bit of work wouldn't look too bad, problem is I can't help thinking a jig of some sort would help.


Without involving too many tools has anyone got any good suggestions for jigs to help get things square?

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One Suggestion.


1. Find a piece of square stock the correct size.

2. Cut the mast where the square section should be.

3. Drill holes about 1/2" deep into the center of both the square stock and the mast.  

4. Insert a tight fitting dowel into the holes in both the square stock and the mast and glue it all together.


I never tried it, but it seems as if it would work.


I agree with you, squaring the round dowel can be a challenge to keep it uniform and straight.

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I think you will need a way to hold your dowel secure, some kind of vice leaving one edge proud. Plane/file it flat to the width you want. Some guide lines will help, if you have some angle brass you can make two lines parallel and carefully file to them. From there you should be able to transfer square lines to the ends and make your next set of guide lines.

You might be better off buying some square stock and transitioning to round where needed. Its not really difficult, a good sharp chisel and/or a micro plane, a file or two is all you need in addition to a way to mark the stock.

This link may help if you choose this direction: http://modelshipworld.com/index.php/topic/12265-mast-shaping-help/?hl=octagon#entry371234

Chucks Confederancy log and his Syren instructions will help also.



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Never had an issue using a good quality file for squaring off a round dowel, have used the technique on all my builds to date, start with a single flat turn it over through 180 degrees then put in the second. I usually repeat the 3rd and 4th flats holding the dowel in a small vise. To bring up the size I usually bond on some thin light coloured veneer a side at a time thick enough to bring up the square section to the original dowel diameter. Works equally well for a octagon section as well.



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Hi Peter,


I came up with a technique which worked really well for me. I was squaring up the end of a 3/8" dowel. I had some 3/4" scrap pine which I cut into 3/4" cubes and drilled 3/8" holes through the center. I then slid the jig down the dowel exposing the length I want to square and tacked it in place with a tiny drop of PVA, Using the jig as a guide, I then made 4 small cuts with a saw around the circumference parallel to the surface of the cube being careful that all the cuts were equal in length and depth, creating the basis for the squared section, After that I simply clamped the cube in a vise and filed away. The upper surface of the cube provided a great reference for keeping everything square as I rotated it in the vise.


When done a few drops of isopropyl alcohol a the jig slid right off.


I didn't take pictures of the process but you can see the results below.






Edited by Landlocked123
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What I might do is clamp a square guide to a board with medium sandpaper on it, then use the guide and sand one side of the dowel full length until there was a small flat on it. Then rotate the dowel so the flat is against the guide and sand a side perpendicular to the first flat just a little short of the desired depth, rotate and do it again until your first sanded side was brought down even with the rest. Now it should be close enough to fine tune by eye with the sand paper using the guide if needed..


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