Graphical Construction Glossary >> Woodwork. >> Joints >> Dowel Joint
A dowel is basically a round piece of timber that can be any length and diameter, but for the most part they range in standard sizes from 1/4" to 5/8" for joinery work.
At a pinch they can be made by hand. Use a piece of say 6mm mild steel plate and drill a hole in it the correct size. Then make some square section material the same size and drive it through the hole to make it a round shape. Trim to length and sand off the arrises at the ends.
Far easier is to buy standard length from a hardware store. The size should be a good snug fit to make a good joint.
Good dowelling material has a groove down one side. This is to let the air and excess glue out of the hols as the dowel is being driven in and as the joint is being assembled. If there is no groove, just plane a small flat on one side. The air has to escape.
These joints were seen as a quick and easy way to make simple joints and in a factory situation they are still used a lot, but in terms of small and one off jobs the biscuit joint is replacing them. See the next page.
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