Q.: Is it OK to shear steel rods when fabricating dowel bars for concrete slabs?

A.: Unless there are further finishing operations for the dowel, avoid sheared dowels. Shearing tends to form a lip at the end of the dowel. This will cause the bar to hang up when the slabs move apart and may cause a transverse crack along the dowel ends. Smooth dowels are intended to make adjacent slabs or pavements share loads by deflecting together. There should be little restraint along the length of the dowel.