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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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Building:Shipyard - HMS Mercury card madel


Completed Builds:

Wood Models; AL Bluenose II 1989, Corel Toulonnaise 1995, Corel Flying Fish 2000, AL Scottish Maid 2005,

Sergal President 2010, Mamoli Beagle 2011, Corel Eagle 2013, Mamoli Constitution Cross-section 2014, Victory Cross-section 1/98 by Corel 2015, Occre San Francisco Cable Car 2018, Model Shipways Armed Long Boat 2021

Card Models

Christmas Train by PaperReplika 2012, Yamaha DSC11 Motorcycle 2013, Canon EOS 5D Mark II 2014, WWII Tiger I Tank by Paper-Replika 2014, Wrebbit Mercedes-Benz 500K Roadster 2014, Central Pacific no. 60 Jupiter card model 2015, Mirage III 1/30 converted to 1/33 card model 2017, TKpapercraft 1912 Mercer 2021


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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.



Current Build Constructo Enterprise

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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.






Current build Trumpeter Arizona 1:200 with White Ensign PE and a Nautilus Wooden Deck.

Built Caldercraft Convulsion, HM Brig Badger and HMS Snake.

Awaiting - Zvelda HMS Dreadnought planning to get the Pontos Deck and PE Upgrades, Panart 1:23 Gun deck model and couple of the cannon kits Manatu - French siege mortar, and American coastal cannon.

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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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