How to make a dowel joint

Mr. HowToSpecialist December 1, 2011 Comments Off
How to make a dowel joint
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This diy article is about how to make a dowel joint. Generally speaking, wood pegs are used when making furniture or when joining together tightly several pieces of wood. In most cases it won’t be enough to fasten the wood joint of the wooden pieces by using  glue, but you also have to make a dowel joint using wood pegs. This techniques is quite old but very efficient, as it creates a secured joint between two or more wood parts. Usually, you also have to use glue beside the dowel pins, as it will enhance the strength of the wood joint, especially if you lock the components together with several clamps. After the glue has dried out, the dowel joint will be even  stronger than a regular piece of wood, provided you use the proper techniques and tools.

In order to make a dowel joint, you need the following:

Materials:

  • wood dowels / dowel pegs
  • wood glue

Tools:

  • level
  • rubber hammer
  • measuring tape
  • clamps
  • drill machinery and bits
  • metal dowel points
  • framing square
  • carpenter pencil

Tips:

  • read safety and disclaimer pages
  • use a good drill machine with torque control
  • use metal dowel points, as to make a proper dowel joint
  • the best option is to use a dowel jig
  • leave at least 1/2” from the edge or corner of the wooden part, when drilling holes

 

Drilling holes for dowel joint

Marking the holes for dowel pegs

Marking the holes for dowel pegs

If you don’t have a dowel jig (which is the best option when making a dowel joint), you have to use a L-square to mark the spot where you are going to drill several holes. Consequently, first draw a line over the median of the wooden post. Next, use the l-square or a tape measure to mark the exact spots where you are going to dill the holes (in our case the intersection of the lines).

Smart tip: make sure you leave at least 1/2” from the edges, as to make sure the wood won’t crack when dilling holes.

Drill bit for installing dowel pins

Drill bit for installing dowel pins

In order to get the job done in a professional manner, we have to use wood dowels and a sharp drill bit. Most dowel pegs range from 1/2” up to 1/4”, according to the type of your project. If you want to joint together furniture boards, you have to use in most cases 1/4” dowel pegs, as for bigger parts you can install 1/2” wood dowels.

Smart tip: use grooved dowels, as they let the excess glue to get out of the hole, while the smooth dowels don’t.

Drilling holes in the wood joint parts

Drilling holes in the wood joint parts

Next, use a good drill machinery with torque control to drill several holes. If the pieces of wood you want to lock together are no larger than 3-4”, then 2 wood plugs will do just fine.

Smart tip: use depth stops for drill bits, as to make sure you won’t drill larger holes than you actually need. You have to set the depth of the stops on the drill bit, just 1/10” more than half of the dowel peg size.

 

Holes for installing dowel pegs

Holes for installing dowel pegs

When drilling the holes make sure you hold the drill machinery perpendicular on the wood board’s surface. Although it might look difficult to drill the holes without a dowel jig, we assure you can do it with little practice.

Smart tip: use only good drill bits. If the drill bit it is not sharp, then you risk making poor holes, and your pieces won’t match. In addition, do not drill the first section of the hole using high speeds.

 

Drilling the mating holes in the other wood part

Using metal dowel points

Using metal dowel points

Next, we have to drill the holes in the other half of the wood joint. Consequently, we have to use metal dowel points, as to make sure the two components are aligned properly. Put the dowel point in the drilled holes, making sure they are set accurately into position.

Smart tip: make sure the tips of the dowel points are sharped, otherwise you won’t be able to see any mark on the other half of the dowel joint.

 

Marking the mating holes in the second component

Marking the mating holes in the second component

Next, place the second component over the first piece of wood, making sure their edges are perfectly aligned. If you are joining two small pieces, then you could set the components together beside a straight wall or a work bench.

Smart tip: after you made sure the two halves are perfectly aligned, you should tap the top wood piece with a rubber mallet as to make marks for the mating holes (in the other half of the dowel joint).

 

Drilling holes with brad-point drill bit

Drilling holes with brad-point drill bit

 

Next, we have to drill holes in the second piece of wood, as to join together the two halves using dowels. As to make sure the two parts will match each other, you have to drill holes over the marks, using the same technique described above.

Smart tip: use the depth stops, as to make sure you don’t drill too deep in the wood.

 

Installing dowel pegs

Installing dowel pegs

Next, as our project regarding  how to join wood with dowels is almost done, we have to install the dowel pegs. Consequently, pour a little wood glue in the holes and them tap firmly the wood dowels until you have inserted half of them.

Smart tip: After applying the wood glue you have to install the second half of the joint, as the glue usually dries out very quickly.

 

Fastening wood joint with dowels

Fastening wood joint with dowels

Last but not least, we have fastened the dowel joint by locking together the two wood pieces. Before tapping the top part with a rubber mallet, you have to make sure the components are aligned properly. Next, use more glue in the holes of the other half, before locking them firmly.

Smart tip: as to increase the strength of the dowel joint, you could secure them with clamps for several hours or put a heavy object on top of the components.

 

Thank you for reading our article on how to make a dowel joint, and we recommend you to check out the rest of our projects. Please share our projects with your friends, by using the social media widgets.

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