1/2" Dowels

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Forum topic by woodtablet posted 01-03-2015 02:55 PM 796 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 658 days

01-03-2015 02:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dowel joinery question

I am new to woodworking and got a fun new doweling jig, and so far I like it.

I do have a question though, and that is when has anyone here used 1/2” dowels ?

I was thinking of just using like 2 of them to in bigger stock like 6/4 or 8/4 instead of these combinations of 4 to 8 3/8” dowels. It seemed to make sense to me because less drilling, but I am might be missing something.

What do you guys think ?

The general application for this question would be like house hold furniture. I made a head board, but too late for that. In the future I plan on making a pergola (hope I spelled that right) and a couple of coffee tables.


Wood Tablet

5 replies so far

View Crank50's profile


170 posts in 995 days

#1 posted 01-03-2015 05:38 PM

I don’t think I’d be looking to assemble a pergola with small internal 1/2” dowels. More likely to do some notching or mortising held together with carriage bolts or perhaps through tenons pinned with big wooden dowels. Depends on the design of course.

If you are talking about dowels to connect the apron to the legs, I think two 1/2” dowels might be too small and/or too few; depends on the thickness of the apron. Don’t know where else you would be referring to using just two dowels.

View RussellAP's profile


3059 posts in 1705 days

#2 posted 01-03-2015 09:37 PM

I’ve always considered dowelling to be decorative, but there are some applications where it is necessary. Outdoor projects are not good for dowels though, you want carriage bolts and screws for that.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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30 posts in 658 days

#3 posted 01-03-2015 09:52 PM

Oh, that is good to know. Okay, I will not use dowels for strength on the pergola.

What about 1/2” dowels in general ? When does anyone use them ?

There is a deal for the jig right now to buy them, but I am still trying to figure out if 1/2” dowels are useful compared to my 3/8” dowels. They do look very wide in diameter.

Thanks again.

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 839 days

#4 posted 01-03-2015 10:27 PM

In all seriousness, doweling, imho, is a matter of choice. In some projects, I may use doweling & pocket hole screws. Other projects, I may use one or the other. It just depends on the amount of strength you’re after, & what you think is best. No doubt, there will be feathers ruffled by my answer, but I do what works for me, and adds the most strength & support to my project. As far as 1/2” dowels go, I don’t use them to often in much, I use the standard sizes of dowels. Just because its a bigger dowel, doesn’t mean you’re adding wood strength. Take a look at the size of the hole you’re drilling for that 1/2” dowel to fit in. The bigger the hole, the less ACTUAL WOOD STOCK you have to support the dowel. The idea of creating a wood project is to use the wood itself.

-- Sawdust703

View Nubsnstubs's profile (online now)


809 posts in 1149 days

#5 posted 01-04-2015 12:26 AM

1/2 dowels were used in doors at one time. They might have been 5/8”, but not sure…... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

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