Has anyone here tried/used the Miller Dowling system?

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Forum topic by oldskoolmodder posted 01-05-2009 09:02 PM 1981 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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801 posts in 3919 days

01-05-2009 09:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: miller dowel question

I’ve been interested in these for a month or more, but didn’t actually see them in person until a few days ago, and was surprised how much more expensive they were in my local store, than direct from the company.

The idea seems nice and easy, but was wondering if anyone here uses them on a regular basis.

For those not familiar with them, here’s a link to their site.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

7 replies so far

View azor's profile


65 posts in 3682 days

#1 posted 01-05-2009 09:41 PM

I have been using them for over a couple of years now, on and off. When I want to fasten some boards together quickly they get the job done fast. Most of my projects are at the utility level so I don’t have any experience with them with finish issues involved. They hold well and nothing has come apart on me yet. I don’t recommend using a chisel to reduce any part that is proud of the surface you drill into. A Japanese saw and final sanding work the best for me.

-- It isn't as easy as the demos make it seem.

View Cincinnati's profile


3 posts in 3666 days

#2 posted 01-07-2009 07:30 AM

I use it time to time. Good for what it is. What it is great for is cutting and drilling wood parts (Like a bird house) and let the kids hammer the pegs in to build a project.

View Kiersten's profile


69 posts in 3891 days

#3 posted 01-10-2009 06:20 PM

Hi Oldschoolmodder!

I use Miller Dowels all the time when joining 1/2 inch and 3/4 birch and baltic birch plywood. I design and build kids furniture and found these to be a lifesaver. Ever since using them, I haven’t had any issues with damage to pieces that are being shipped from LA to NYC. The finished look is great for what I’m doing and they sand down easily if a bit of the top isn’t flush. Hope this helps! And I second Jarrod—the bits last a long time!!


-- Kiersten, Los Angeles,

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4035 posts in 4303 days

#4 posted 01-10-2009 06:42 PM

I like ‘em, using the mini-dowels on jewelry box projects. Only complaint I have had is occasional tear out around the entry hole. Next time out I am thinking of starting the hole with a .25˝ brad point to cleanly cut the fibers before boring the tapered hole with the Miller bit.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View bobdurnell's profile


317 posts in 4136 days

#5 posted 01-10-2009 07:08 PM

Just used them yesterday. Tried something new though. I made some frames with butt joints and glued them up without any type of reinforcing device, just clamped to hold until the glue dried so I could drill for the Miller dowels. Used the large size walnut for contrast on red oak and took my time and found that when the shoulder of the increasing diameter starts to cut, slow is better especially the last one. Found out also not to beat them in to hard, could split a little, had one do it. This procedure took a little longer but I am pleased with the results.

-- bobdurnell, Santa Ana California.

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3919 days

#6 posted 01-10-2009 08:51 PM

Thanks all, for the comments about this system. I’ve gone through what I’d call a mini biscuit phase, and didn’t care for them as much as traditional, except for some things. Now trying out Pocket Screws, and loving the ease, when I have the right tools (clamp to hold piece to wood). But the Miller system is very interesting to me too, although a bit pricey for someone not selling their work. The idea for me,, is as was already suggested, of a contrast of wood types in the project, as much as construction.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View Karson's profile


35153 posts in 4640 days

#7 posted 01-10-2009 09:20 PM

One of the booths at the woodworkers show in Baltimore had them for a price of $15.00 for the drill and I think 25 dowels or 50 dowels in a pack. I picked them up, looked, walked away, looked again and then walked away again.

I’ve got many things I buy and then don’t use. I just didn’t want to add to the list.

I don’t know how the price compares to other places.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

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