Dowel Joints

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Forum topic by athomas5009 posted 06-16-2014 03:18 AM 956 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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293 posts in 1041 days

06-16-2014 03:18 AM

I was thinking about building some outdoor benches from cedar and want to go with dowels instead of M&T joints. I’ve done a little research on them and all the information is geared towards jigs. Is there a simple way to drill for dowels on a drill press?

If so could someone explain it or send a link on it.

-- Sometimes you're flush and sometimes you're bust, and when you're up, it's never as good as it seems, and when you're down, you never think you'll be up again, but life goes on.

8 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


5683 posts in 910 days

#1 posted 06-16-2014 04:04 AM

You could but what would you do if you had to drill into the end of an 16”-20” leg? That’s where the jigs become handy. Not to mention portable, fairly easy to use, and to be had for 20$-50$ or so.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View gtbuzz's profile


427 posts in 1866 days

#2 posted 06-16-2014 04:21 AM

I suppose you could do it with a drill press, but you’d spend a lot of time and effort setting up stops and whatnot just to get repeatable results. Jigs are definitely the way to go; much easier and faster. Plus, as TheFridge mentioned, it’s gonna get real hairy trying to drill dowel holes in the end of a long stretcher while trying to use a drill press.

I use the DowelMax jig and love it. While it’s a bit pricey $250, iirc, it’s one finely crafted tool, and worth every penny IMO. They also have a “junior” model that doesn’t include all the bells and whistles of the top end model that starts at $99.

View hairy's profile


2378 posts in 2956 days

#3 posted 06-16-2014 12:08 PM

It can be done without buying a jig, if you make one. It can be done without a jig, if you take the time to do it right. I use dowels at times. I have made a pattern on paper,—like a gasket—, transferred that to hardboard or mdf to make a template. Usually this is just for layout, but if you make it sturdy and have a means to secure it to the workpiece, you could use it to layout and drill.

I do this on small projects. You might need a stronger joint.

-- stay thirsty my friends...

View bondogaposis's profile


3972 posts in 1775 days

#4 posted 06-16-2014 12:48 PM

I think that mortise and tenon joints are going to be a lot easier than trying to make dowel joints on a drill press.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3642 days

#5 posted 06-16-2014 12:57 PM

The time and effort you would save by spending $50 on a jig would be well worth it, IMO. Plus, you would have the jig for use on future projects as well.

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

View hairy's profile


2378 posts in 2956 days

#6 posted 06-16-2014 01:56 PM

You could assemble, then drill and drive in a dowel from the outside. A peg instead of an internal dowel. Maybe leave it proud and it would be a nice detail. Just a thought…

-- stay thirsty my friends...

View 7Footer's profile (online now)


2529 posts in 1373 days

#7 posted 06-16-2014 03:45 PM

I just saw an interesting shop made dowel jig the other day, not sure how it would stand up after a lot of use, but it is a pretty clever idea. This one wasn’t on the DP though, just a handheld drill, but I suppose you could adapt it to the DP.


View lcurrent's profile


121 posts in 3239 days

#8 posted 06-20-2014 01:16 AM

The best way is depending on how many different sizes you are going to have is from aluminum plate keep flopping it and you will be OK

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

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