Input or Advice for Dowelling

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Forum topic by Garfman posted 04-18-2013 03:42 PM 1347 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 1836 days

04-18-2013 03:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dowel joining contrast impact

This is the backbone of my Floating Shelf Stereo Stand. It is walnut, the shelves are going to be red oak and slid into the slots. I’m trying to build it without metal fasteners. I have created a channel to hide the cables by “laminating” three sections of walnut.
I don’t want to rely on glue to hold these sections together. I’m asking for advice/input/suggestions on how to dowel these together. I favour putting the light coloured dowels in front and making them flush. I like the visual impact. Does anyone have any strong preference either way? Should I just hide them from behind? Stain them? How far apart should a put them on the longer piece?

-- Fingers are a poor substitute for a push stick.

9 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4187 days

#1 posted 04-18-2013 03:53 PM

You may get some differing opinions on this, but I don’t think the dowels are really going to add any structural integrity. It looks like you’ve got plenty of glue surface, which should provide a bond stronger than the wood itself. So, if you want to use the dowels because you like the way they look, spacing is totally up to your own personal taste. Aesthetically, I would go with the contrasting light color.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2546 days

#2 posted 04-18-2013 04:11 PM

If you’re referring to the laminations, glue alone is more than enough unless you glued them with spit. :-P

Make sure to post a pic of the completed project; it sounds interesting and the wire channel is pretty clever.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View madts's profile


1855 posts in 2308 days

#3 posted 04-18-2013 04:20 PM

Why not use glue? It touches 100% of the surface and is much stronger than any fasteners.
Lets see some pics.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View muleskinner's profile


896 posts in 2405 days

#4 posted 04-18-2013 04:33 PM

Aesthetically I like the high contrast especially on pieces that wouldn’t have much visual interest otherwise (not that that applies to your piece). I go that route so often that sometimes I think I might be getting in a rut and should try something more subtle.

Structurally, I pretty much believe anything I read from Charlie.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View Loren's profile


10278 posts in 3617 days

#5 posted 04-18-2013 04:49 PM

Usually doweling is done “blind” which is to say the parts
are drilled with stopped holes individually. Doweling
from an outside surface I tend to call “pegging”.

You can get decorative pegs with a mushroom-shaped
top, or similar things that cover a hole with
a screw hidden underneath.

I used such plugs here:

You can also make your own tapered plugs with a tapered
plug cutter on a drill press. The tapered plugs are cut
off flush and contrasting woods may be used.

Fluted dowels may not have a clean look when cut off
flush on a surface, due to the flutes.

Dowels are very useful for alignment of parts and where
structurally a glue joint alone is vulnerable to being
levered and broken. The the 3-layer channel you are
working on, dowels are not at all needed for strength,
though parts can slip around on wet glue when you
put clamps on. Dowels can be used to control slippage
when gluing but it’s usually more hassle that it is worth.

View Garfman's profile


17 posts in 1836 days

#6 posted 04-19-2013 02:34 PM

Thank you for your input and encouragement.
Yes, I have glued it; there is plenty of wood for Titebond to adhere to.
I like the aesthetics of the solid, not fluted, dowels I will make. I found a great technique on I want to add a subtle visual interest. This backbone will be covered by stereo components.
BTW, I’m going to use the shelves in my avatar. I used a 2×4 to mock this up.

-- Fingers are a poor substitute for a push stick.

View Garfman's profile


17 posts in 1836 days

#7 posted 04-20-2013 04:24 PM

Here is the completed backbone. There are holes to accomodate the cables which go into the channel. The edges of the hole on the inside are bevelled to relieve pressure on the cables. I’m going to cut holes through the back for the power cords to be hidden, too.
I’m going to chamfer the long edges. After that I re-evaluate adding dowels for visual accents.

-- Fingers are a poor substitute for a push stick.

View Garfman's profile


17 posts in 1836 days

#8 posted 04-22-2013 04:39 PM

This is the built spine of the stereo stand. There are holes through the rear channel to keep the power cords out of the way. The AV cables go through the channel to keep out of the way. I decided the dowel accents were not worth the effort, yet. The cap has a slot to accommodate the CD jewel.

-- Fingers are a poor substitute for a push stick.

View Garfman's profile


17 posts in 1836 days

#9 posted 04-27-2013 02:30 AM

My floating Stereo Stand project is finally finished! Here is the final unit. The top of the spine has a notch to display the current CD. Santana’s Abraxas was an idea choice to celebrate having my stereo running again.

-- Fingers are a poor substitute for a push stick.

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