Peg and Dowel Plate

A wooden rake needs teeth, wooden pegs driven into holes in the rake head and wedged. When you want to drive a peg into a hole, a certain degree of misfit helps the grip. Roughly rounded, octagonal, or even square pegs grip better, but too much of a square peg risks splitting the round hole.

When round is what you want, you can drive the square-split wooden peg through a round hole in a steel plate. The steel plate will shear all character from the rough peg, allowing only cylindrical conformity to emerge. When making tines for a wooden rake, you set the plate over a hole in the bench, drive the billet almost flush with the plate, and then start another billet atop it to drive the first one all the way through—shooting down into the bucket set below the bench with a satisfying plunk.

The rough wooden peg will shear more easily if it is still fresh and soft from water in the cells and cell walls. But as this water evaporates, the wood will shrink and you'll have a peg that drops easily through a hole that it once had to be driven through. The hole drilled in the steel plate is going to stay the same size from day to day—but not so the peg you drive through it. That's why a dowel plate you drill for yourself may do better for you than a store-bought one with fewer gradations in size. You can drive green hickory pegs through an oversized hole, let the pegs dry and shrink, and then drive them through the final-sized hole some weeks later.

Mild steel works fine for a dowel plate. You can always drill out a dulled hole to the next larger size. Counter-drill on the underside of each hole with a bit that is the next size larger, leaving about 1/16 inch of the original diameter remaining. If you want to ensure that the pegs are straight as well as round, mount the plate over a thick wooden block with slightly oversized holes bored beneath each hole in the plate. The long holes through the block will hold the pegs straight as they emerge.

There are not many items outside of hay rakes and scythe cradles that call for them, but sometimes you need long slender rods of straight-grained hickory or the like. You can't drive these through the dowel plate—you have to pull them through. As always, the wood has to be split, not sawed, so that the grain stays intact.

Pulling is harder than hammering (imagine pulling a nail into a board instead of driving it) so work these rods down through a series of gradually diminishing holes while they are still fresh. Then let them shrink to their final size.

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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