Dowels for wood joinery.

The dowel and hole method is simple and effective for joining timber.
The end result is invisible.
Apart from that it is a strong way for connecting two pieces of wood together.
There are not a lot of special tools needed, you can even make this woodjoint if you only have a power drill.
In the case that you want to make hidden woodjoints with dowels then you will at least need an alignment plug.

Basics for woodjoints with dowels.

You will probably want to purchase one or more of these plugs to mark for hidden dowels.
This is most likely the only method to achieve holes that are exactly lined up.

Tool for aligning dowel and tenon.
Alignment of dowel holes with the plug and punch tool.

Invisible woodjoints with dowels.

How to use the alignment tool for dowels.
Use alignment plugs for woodjoints with hidden dowels.
  1. Firstly drill a hole in one piece of timber.
  2. Push the plug in the previously drilled hole.
  3. Position the second timber on the exact desired location.
  4. Hit it with a hammer, preferable with a piece of wood inbetween to prevent damaged timber.
  5. Now the dowel punch will have left its center mark in the second timber.
    This is where the second hole will have to be drilled.
  6. Put a bit of woodglue in each hole and on the dowel itself, but not too much.
    Tap the dowel in the holes of the first timber.
  7. Align the holes in the second timber with the dowels which stick out the other piece.
  8. Push both pieces together and tap with a mallet.
  9. Use a wood clamp to keep all pieces together untill the glue has dried.


Joinery of timber with the dowel and hole method.
How to connect timber with a wooden dowel.

Overlap wood joinery with dowels.
Tabletop corner lap joint with dowels.
  • Work precise, use a non strech measure tape and sharp markers.
  • Do not drill deeper holes than is needed.
    Use a piece of tape on the drill for depth measurement.
    Alternatively and even better are the special drillbits for dowels.
    Those bits have a ring for the depth setting attached.
  • Dowels can be cut off when you hit the chisel against it with a mallet.
    There will nevertheless be some sanding left to do for a smooth finish.
Drilling holes for dowels to the exact depth.
Simple trick to drill holes for dowels.

Make a frame for tables, with butt joints and dowels.

How to make a wooden frame using dowels.
Dowels in a pin and hole connection for wooden frames.

These DIY instructions were based on Dutch woodworking tips.
More about woodjoints and woodworking techniques on Wikipedia.

Use large dowels and a spoke cutter to make furniture from branches.
How to use a spoke cutter and drillbit for pointed dowels to make woodjoints.
How to make a pointed dowel wood joint with a spoke cutter and corresponding drill bit.
Some examples of farmhouse furniture, made with pointed dowels to connect spruce.

Other methods for joining wood.