We have been selling dowels for singing handbells since 2010 and have delivered over 4,000 of them thoughout the USA and Canada. Our dowels are walnut and birch. We do not purchase our stock from area home improvement companies. We select the best wood for our dowels. They not only perform well but look great! The wood is stripped down bare and processed from there.
We have tried the softer woods but they just do not work as well (they DO work, it just takes time and patience). Birch and walnut work on most bells. Walnut works wonderfully on all bells including the high bells (C5 and up) and lower bells (G4 and below).
Please NOTE: Walnut will not work on Schulmerich 3’s. It will work on Malmark 3’s. I will keep experimenting with different woods to see if I can find a wood that will work on Schulmerich.
Since the bells tend to leave markings on the dowels, you know that the bells are not being damaged (ah, yes, high school Science 101).
You will find that they are not sanded smooth. This allows the dowel to start the vibration of the bell sooner. These dowels will usually start a G4 bell (one of the hardest to get going) quickly (3-5 rotations). 50 grit sandpaper will roughen up any dowel to help start the Singing Handbell technique.
We do not coat our dowels. This is an added expense that we found is not needed.