Before screws and nails were common, adding dowels to joints was one of the first ways ancient woodworkers reinforced the joints they were working on. Since then, dowel reinforced joints for furniture construction, face frames and other applicaitons has been used in furniture factories and by hobby woodworkers as a fast and easy way to build projects.
While the joint is a venerable one, there are some down sides – there is absolutely no room for error – the joints must line up perfectly or they won’t work. There is little resistance to forces pulling the joint apart. And, because of the dowel’s shape, it will expand and contract differently than the surrounding wood, potentially leading to a joint failure.
This week, we want to know what you think of dowel joinery in your shop.
2 thoughts on “Quick Poll”
Typically, I will “dowel” a joint (like a mortice and tenon) to prevent slipping. So there is your answer. I don’t do just dowel only joints, but will use dowels in a joint.
Ahhhh! You got me! I had totally spaced out on pinned Mortise and Tenon joints, which use dowels to lock the tenon in place. A common feature on Arts and Crafts projects and timber framing…
Excellent call! However, I was referring to dowel-only joints… Gotcha…