why-is-dowelling-beneficial

     
 

Why is dowelling beneficial?

 
         
         
  Shop for Dowels  
         
         
  A wood joint using only glue instead of being reinforced with dowels  

While it’s possible to just glue two pieces of wood together to make a joint, there are multiple benefits to using dowels to reinforce them. These are listed below.

 
         
     

Strength

 
  A t-butt dowelling joint being assembled by a DIYer to illustrate the strength of dowels  

Dowel joints are strong and can withstand a lot of pressure without breaking.

 
         
  Testing the strength of a dowel joint by standing on it  

Various tool manufacturing companies have conducted tests to see just how strong dowel joints are in comparison to other methods of joinery.

 
         
  Image illustrating the differences between dowel joints and mortise and tenon joints  

According to those tests, dowel joints and mortise and tenon joints came out as the strongest types of joint.

 
         
  Image showing that a reinforced dowelling joint is one that is made with multiple rows of dowels  

Joints that use multiple rows of dowels are sometimes referred to as reinforced dowel joints. These were found to be stronger than homemade mortise and tenon joints.

 
         
      Wonkee Donkee recommends using strong glue  
         
     

Alignment

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

If set up accurately, a dowel joint will ensure that you can only join your pieces of wood in perfect alignment, guaranteeing a neat result.

 
         
  Diagram to show how a dowel holds 2 pieces of wood together and stops them from slipping around  

Once a dowel joint is formed, it cannot slip, as the dowel pins hold it firmly in place.

 
         
  Elaborate wooden shelves constructed precisely through the use of dowels  

For this reason, dowel joints are used when making pieces of furniture that rely on frames, such as shelves and cabinets, to ensure accuracy during construction.

 
         
     

Speed

 
  Image to illustrate how quickly a dowelling joint can be created  

Dowel joints are quick to prepare and assemble.

 

For more information, see: How to use dowels to make wooden joints.

 
         
  Dowelling jig available in some dowelling kits used for accurate location of dowels  

When using a dowelling jig, this process becomes even faster.

 
         
  DIYer using a dowelling jig to line up a dowel hole  

Dowelling jigs are plastic or metal tools designed to act as templates that allow DIYers to accurately find the centre line of a wooden edge and drill evenly spaced dowel holes without having to use a measuring tape.

 

For more information, see Dowelling jigs

 
         
  Image of a DIYer creating a mortise with a chisel which takes a lot longer than drilling a series of dowel holes and inserting dowels  

Mortise and tenon joints, the direct competitor to dowel joints in terms of strength, take much longer to create than dowel joints. This is because this method requires square slots to be chiselled out of wooden boards, which is a time consuming process.

 
         
     

Simplicity

 
  Image showing basic dowelling equipment: tape measure, drill, glue and dowels  

It’s possible to make dowel joints with just a drill, dowels, glue and measuring equipment.

 
         
  Image of a DIYer who has just found out how easy and quick dowelling can be  

While accuracy is important and will take practice for an uninitiated woodworker, the process of dowelling is not complicated.

 
         
     

Advantages and disadvantages of using dowels

 
  Image to indicate advantages and disadvantages  
ADVANTAGES    DISADVANTAGES
  • Dowels create strong joints that are easy to make in a home workshop.

  • The dowelling process is quick.

  • You don’t need nails, screws or mountains of equipment.

  • Dowelling ensures a neat finish.

  • Dowel joints are one of the strongest types of joint in woodworking, especially when using multiple rows of dowels.

 
  • Getting the alignment right can be difficult for beginners who are not using a dowelling jig.

  • Mortise and tenon joints are sometimes regarded as being stronger, even if they take longer to construct.

 
         
      Wonkee Donkee recommends the use of dowels