installing dowels

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Forum topic by camin posted 03-11-2010 01:59 AM 1159 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 3556 days

03-11-2010 01:59 AM

I’m making a workbench. Am going to use thru dowels in some parts of frame assembly. Want to use 1/2” walnut dowels in red oak frame. Should I try to groove the dowels to accomodate glue? Should dowels and holes be same size? or should holes be slightly smaller?

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View sphere's profile


109 posts in 3509 days

#1 posted 03-11-2010 02:16 AM

For blind holes, yes on the grooves. Think of a piston in a cylinder. It can lock up before full clamp other wise.

I TRY for exact match hole to dowel, but you’ll find store bought dowels are not usually (A) True size, and (B) truly round..sometimes enough to negate the need for groove(s).

A simple way I make em fit well is to “crimp” the tight fitting dowel with channel lock pliers, making a compression situation. when the glue gets on, they swell back up and stay put.

-- Spheramid Enterprises Architectural Wood Works

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10 posts in 3556 days

#2 posted 03-14-2010 05:19 AM

Makes sense. Thanks for the info.

View Les Casteel's profile

Les Casteel

160 posts in 3537 days

#3 posted 03-14-2010 08:44 PM

I use dowels in the seats of the chairs I build. Make really sure that they’re very, very, dry before you use them. I’ve put them in the oven (at the lowest temperature) for a few hours to make sure they’re really nice and dry. They shrink slightly, go in nice, soak up the glue. The dowels aren’t always sized correctly so, you might try a few on a scrap glue up and hone your technique before you work with the good stuff. Also, be very careful about the grain orientation on the dowels. Sometimes when driven into the holes they’ll break because the grain was off at an angle.

Good Luck!

-- Les, Missouri,

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10 posts in 3556 days

#4 posted 03-16-2010 01:09 AM

I had not thought to inspect the grain…I’ll surely do that.
I’ll give the pre-bake exercise a try also.
Thank you!

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