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When I was thirteen my Grandpa gave me this Stanley No 77 dowel making machine. I was just getting into woodworking at the time and the machine sitting on top of a cabinet in his shop caught my eye. When I asked what it did, he told me it makes dowels out of any wood you shove into the cutter. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. A few months later he ended up giving it to me and I have kept it to this day as something I would never sell.

After being diagnosed with NMO/Devic’s Disease earlier this week, I started to put things into perspective. With treatment, I should be okay but the vision loss in my left eye and the tightness in my legs and groin may never get better. Nevertheless, I realize what is truly important in life.  I think of all the tools I own and the tools I’d like to buy if I’d just had the money.

I have wanted a Apollo HVLP sprayer for the past few years but they’re about $800-1200. Not the kind of cash I have just lying around. So I keep looking at some of the tools I own but never use to help pay for the sprayer. The dowel making machine is on top of the list.

I’ve kept the dowel machine for sentimental reasons along with its cool factor. The only problem, is that I never use it. I’ve owned it for over twenty-five years, probably longer than my Grandpa, and have only played with it a few times. I really don’t think my Grandpa used it either. My Grandpa was more of a mechanic than a woodworker restoring old Model T’s when he was alive. The only time he got involved with woodworking was when he repaired the spoked wheels on the cars. I never saw dowels lying around his shop where he was cranking them out with his Stanley No 77. So why did he own it? I have no idea. Maybe he picked it up at a yard sale thinking it would come in handy someday.

It may be the very reason he gave it to me. Since he never used it, he thought with my budding woodworking aspirations that maybe I would. But I never have. I don’t use dowels all that much, and when I do, I go to the store and buy some. Even if I needed a dowel out of a certain hardwood, I could simply turn it on the lathe. Not only that, but the only cutter I have for the dowel machine is 3/8″ so I’m screwed if I need a different size. Forget about buying additional cutters for it. They run about $100 a pop and a $100 will buy a whole bunch of dowels.

Screw it, I’m done. I’m selling the machine and using the money toward a HVLP sprayer. Something that I’ll actually use. I don’t think my Grandpa would care.

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