Dowel Joinery Technique

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Blog entry by Cozmo35 posted 09-08-2011 03:42 AM 11199 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

There have been many projects that have used dowels for the joinery. When I have used that technique, I often had an issue with lining up the holes correctly. Time after time, I would “attempt” to use this technique and end up with some really nice fire wood. Well, who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? I thought “If I could only mark the hole, I would be able to drill the holes accurately. So, here is my obscure way of getting the results I was looking for.
I used chalk line marking chalk that is used on a string line to mark lines in framing houses and a glue stick.

After drilling the first set of holes, I then put a little of the chalk into the holes.
I then marked the section of wood that was to receive the second set of holes for the dowels with the glue stick.

I then placed the two pieces of wood together in place and tipped them up side down.

I could then take the boards apart and see where the chalk had stuck to the glue. This will allow me to drill the holes accurately.

I used a sharp screw to tap a pilot hole that will enable the drill bit to be center of the hole.

I hope this help someone. I know it helped me!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

16 comments so far

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2080 posts in 3800 days

#1 posted 09-08-2011 03:47 AM

Pencil + scale + punch = faster

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View rance's profile


4278 posts in 4321 days

#2 posted 09-08-2011 04:17 AM

Yes, there are multiple ways. This is another one that could come in handy. :) Thanks for sharing Cosmo.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 3663 days

#3 posted 09-08-2011 04:19 AM

Well that’s one way of doing it. Otherwise there are always dowel centres, which are quite inexpensive, or a dowelling jig, but that costs a bit more.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 4083 days

#4 posted 09-08-2011 04:26 AM

Thanks Mike,
Have you ever tried the stencil method. All you need is the pattern of your holes and make a reference point straight or perpendicular to the hole. Then mark both pcs to be drilled on. I was successful on this when I made my narra boxes as shown below:

The difficulty is not on centering the hole in the face of the board but how you drill the hole straight and perpendicular to the boards using a portable drill… it needs practice. Sometimes, I use a guide stock whenever possible however in the above case, my drill bit is so short and the length is not enough to get through… you need two passes to get the right depth.

Your method is the one I use in making gasket… Transfering the pattern via hammering method.
God Bless,

-- Bert

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 4237 days

#5 posted 09-08-2011 01:56 PM

Necessity is the mother of invention…. Well done on figuring out the best way that works for you Mike…. There is always more than one way to skin a cat…. Good stuff!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4356 days

#6 posted 09-08-2011 02:14 PM

Interesting technique. Thanks for sharing. A doweling jig helps align one hole between two boards, but when you have a whole board with dowels its not that helpful keeping them all in line, at least that was my experience. I found the metal needle tipped dowel inserts work pretty well for me.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4197 days

#7 posted 09-08-2011 02:27 PM

Its novel. I’ll give you that, Mike. Always handy to have many ways to achieve the same end.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3636 days

#8 posted 09-09-2011 05:32 PM

Ok, I know I m going to get roasted but, get one of these…..

I get perfect alignment every time.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View Rockbuster's profile


499 posts in 3769 days

#9 posted 09-19-2011 04:36 PM

Anyone who spends $444.00 just to drill a hole,don’t have to make anything, they should just buy it.

-- Rockbuster,Ft. Wayne,In It is far better to remain silent, and appear the fool, than it is to open ones mouth, and remove all doubt.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4197 days

#10 posted 09-19-2011 04:41 PM

Quite. Its not what you’ve got but what you can do with it that counts.

Cozmo, I think you’ve made excellent use of your brain.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5258 days

#11 posted 09-19-2011 04:45 PM

/bows to JGM0658. Worth the roast.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 4197 days

#12 posted 09-19-2011 06:51 PM

JGM0658, I have always been a man of megar means. My wood working is a hobby (that I dearly enjoy). My wife would cut my head off even with my toes if I told her I bought a $400 new tow for drilling holes. LOL! I can understand the usefulness of this really nice piece of equipment, but in the elecant words of Steve Marin am but a Mere Mortal”.

Martyn, my wife will tell you I don’t seem to use it often. LOL!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View baoluo's profile


7 posts in 3706 days

#13 posted 09-20-2011 12:04 AM

I really appreciate it. Because there are NO doweling jigs or alignment tools of any kind in my area. And I can’t order ANY from a website where I am.

View mancave's profile


114 posts in 4225 days

#14 posted 09-20-2011 06:02 AM

Dowel centers. Woodcraft # 123721 set or 8 for $5.50, #123717 set of 10 1/4” $6.50, set of 10 3/8” $7.50, they also have 5/16” and 1/2” sets, Rockler also has them, I just happened to have the Woodcraft catalog handy. $400, You cannot be serious!

View baoluo's profile


7 posts in 3706 days

#15 posted 09-20-2011 10:55 AM

Please note it was $444 yes that’s right fellow lumberjocks $444 I would first use the 101 ways listed here before dropping that kind of cash for a dowel jig.
I appreciate everyone’s contribution here.

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