What are wooden dowels used for?

 
     
     
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 DIYer slotting together an accurately drilled corner joint constructed using dowels 

Dowels are used for making strong, accurate joints in wood.

 
     
 Image to show that dowels are thicker than screws and nails 

They are thicker and sturdier than nails or screws and therefore less prone to breakage.

 
     
 DIYer lifting a weight to illustrate 

They provide a stronger joint than just using glue as they insert into both the pieces of wood being joined together. This means they cannot easily snap apart.

 
     
 Wooden door frame made with a mitre joint held together by wooden dowel pins 

They are regularly used in the construction of a huge number of wooden household items and pieces of furniture, including picture and door frames...

 
     
 Chair with wooden legs attached and secured with dowel pins 

...attaching table and chair legs...

 
     
 Wooden cabinet created through the use of dowel pins 

...building cabinets...

 
     
 Wooden shelves constructed and held together with dowel pins 

...and constructing wooden shelves and racks.

 
     
   

Why are dowels so suitable for joinery?

 
 Image to show that there is no need for nails or screws when dowelling as the dowels and the glue bind the joint together on their own 

Using dowels eliminates the need to use nails or screws.

 
     
 DIYer constructing a drawer using dowelling edge and carcassing joints to show the accuracy and strength of dowels 

Joints made with dowels cannot slip and, when constructed accurately, are guaranteed to be neat.

 

For more information, see How to accurately align dowel joints.

 
     
   

Other uses of dowels

 
 Dowel rods for use in woodworking 

Dowels are used in woodworking for a variety of purposes other than jointing.

 
     
 Image of stripped screw holes in a door frame that can be repaired using dowels 

They can be used to repair stripped screw holes. These are holes that have lost their thread and will no longer hold a screw.

 
     
 Land yacht with dowel rods for axels 

In toy-making, dowels are perfect for axles in toy vehicles.

 
     
 Decorated arrows crafted from dowel rods 

Amateur fletchers use dowel rods to make arrows.

 
     
 Image of a gymnast gripping the high bar wearing a gymnastics grip with wooden dowel reinforcement 

Gymnastics grips are often reinforced with dowels, which rest between the gymnast's fingers and the gymnastic equipment to prevent blistering.

 
     
 DIYer hammering dowels inoculated with fungal spores into a treated log 

Dowels can be seeded with spores, then hammered into treated logs to create home fungus farms.

 
     
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