Dowel joinery

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by NewPilgrim posted 02-25-2010 11:22 PM 1894 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My neighbor and new buddy Paul has been teaching me how to do dowel joints, pretty fun. I am new to wood working so I am very appreciative when someone can demonstrate their skills for me.

I am currently building a wooden, Victorian-style, (vintage) baby gate for our stairs. I am trying to match my current stair rail and baluster look-and-feel. I bought some Hemlock balusters, shoe rail/fillets and a nice hand rail. I’ve conditioned, and stained it to match, and so far it looks good.

Initially, I was going to ‘toe-nail’ with a brad-nailer the balusters per the advice of a Home Depot worker, but Paul suggested we do better – maybe try a mortise and tenon approach, or just use dowels. Dowels it was.

I used his ‘Dowel Max’ jig, which is awesome, albeit, very pricey but it works perfect. So far we’ve dry-fitted everything and we’re going to begin glue-up tonight.

Has anyone had success with other types of doweling jigs? Dowel Max is about $300 but it supposed to be well worth it. I wish to purchase a jig but I can’t afford that price. Does anyone have any suggestions?

It feels so good to be able to create something, something that is functional and looks good.

I will post photos of this project soon.


5 comments so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3134 days

#1 posted 02-25-2010 11:27 PM

I have a review of one I am particularly in favor of from Wolfcraft. It is quite inexpensive. It does have limitations as it can only handle stock up to just over an inch thick. But the fact that you can perform simultaneous board drilling makes it very useful. Others have picked it up and expressed similar happiness with the product.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3100 days

#2 posted 02-25-2010 11:31 PM

I’m sort of a fan of Freud’s dowelling joinery machine. I say “sort of” because I don’t own one yet. I have seen a demonstration and I even took it for a “test drive”. If I had to make a choice between the Dowel Max and the Freud machine, I would take the Freud. It’s dead on accurate and very versatile.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View oluf's profile


260 posts in 3064 days

#3 posted 02-26-2010 03:20 AM

I use a lot of dowels in my shop. I only have a 6” joiner, so anything wider than that gets ripped down, joined, planed, and edge glued back to what ever width the project calls for. I have an old Rodgers dowelling machine and it does take up a lot of space. It is well worth the space. My edge glue up’s are so accurate that all you have to do to the surface is scrape off the glue squeeze out. I have some drilling guides that I have had for years, but I never could make them work any more accurate than the biscuit pocket jigs that came out later.

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

View NewPilgrim's profile


24 posts in 3063 days

#4 posted 03-02-2010 07:43 PM

Hey thank you guys… all this has been really helpful. It’s nice to see these different insights and solutions into doweling.

View lcurrent's profile


125 posts in 3841 days

#5 posted 06-11-2014 10:14 PM

These took maybe 15 min.

-- lcurrent ( It's not a mistake till you run out of wood )

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics