To find the center on the ends of a dowel, I made my own centerfinding tool.

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To find the center on the ends of a dowel, I made my own centerfinding tool, shown left. With the dowel resting in the Vs, I rotate it against the point of a pencil that I've inserted into the pencil rest. As the dowel turns, the pencil traces a circle centered on the dowel's center.

By raising or lowering the pencil rest, I can dial in dead center on any dowel, but I find a small circle adequate for drilling or chucking the dowel into my lathe.
—Mark Ostrom, Lindstrom, Minn.