Dowel Joints Advantages and Disadvantages – (Top Joining Method)


Dowel Joints Advantages and Disadvantages – (Top Joining Method)

Safe Milli
| March 20, 2020 Last Updated 2020-03-20T19:22:38Z
Dowel Joints Advantages

Are you building something using wood? Then you may be searching for the best wood joinery method to use. But the kind of method you use should depend on the project you’re working on. Though there exist numerous types of wood joinery methods, in this article, you shall get insight into the advantages and disadvantages of the dowel joints. But first, let’s define a dowel joint.

Meaning of a Dowel Joint

It is a wood joinery method that joins two or more wood sections together. In this technique, sections of wood get lined up. Then holes get drilled to secure them together using a wooden dowel. For reinforcement, a top-notch strong wood glue gets added.

With this joint, the need for nails, screws, and staples get removed. As a result, the potential injuries that occur while working with such hardware get avoided. Also, the project gets a better finish look since the grain pattern doesn’t get disrupted. You can collect dowel jig for woodworking or DIY Project; before buying a dowel jig, check this dowel jig buying guide. The Dowel joint is famous with many homeowners and woodworkers due to its many benefits as follows;

Dowel Joint Pros

a) Easy to Assemble

After the dowel joint gets prepared by drilling the corresponding holes into the wood’s section, assembling it is simple. Only a rubber mallet gets used gently to ensure the dowels gets into the first wood’s section. Then the holes of the second wood section get lined up and lightly tapped together.

b) Secure

Dowel joint is renowned for its incredible tight fit when adequately made. Also, it lasts longer, making your structure secure and safe. It is advisable to use the professional woodworking tools and equipment to make the right dowel joint. Also, ensure that you make the right dowel size and use the appropriate wood glue.

c) No Use of Staples, Screws, or Nails

If you need a clean and unmarred wood surface on your structure, avoid using joints that require nails, staples, or screws to join. The best joint to use is the dowel joint because it comes as hidden, leaving you to see only the beautiful melamine color and grain of the wood.

d) Versatile

You can use this joint in other materials other than wood to join them either at a right angle or flat. As a result, they get used to various numerous cabinetry projects.
Though dowel joints come with a bunch of benefits, they also possess some disadvantages as stated below;

Dowel Joint Cons

a. Misaligned Dowels

If it’s your first time making a dowel joint, you may get frustrated. Dowel joints require the use of the right sizes, and some experience gets needed to get it right. With practice and the use of proper tools, you get to learn the ropes. Otherwise, getting misaligned dowels is inevitable as a new woodworker, and may make your project fall apart.

b. Shearing Dowels

In cabinetry, dowels are generally small in diameter. The wood’s thickness of the sections to join limits their size. As a result, the wood dowel shear when the excess weight gets applied to the wood joint. It is the reason why a dovetail joint is robust. The woods’ entire edge sections get used to joining them firmly.

With the above benefits and drawbacks of a dowel joint, you can now use it accordingly. But there are instances a dowel joint isn’t appropriate to use. In such a case, you get to choose from other wood joint types available, depending on what you are making. When you compare different joint types with a dowel joint, the tenon, dovetail, and mortise joints are more substantial. But to make these joints costs and requires more of your time and professional tools. Also, you may not succeed in making these joints if it’s your first attempt or not skilled.

Also, for picture frames, windows, and doors, a miter joint is ideal to use than a dowel joint. If you are wondering why you need to join two 450 angles to get a 900 perspective, you can use the meter or power saw to cut the edges. Besides, it provides perfect alignment and looks excellent. Many woodworkers also have fun while making a miter joint. Unfortunately, it’s not strong.


As illustrated above, a dowel joint is easy and fast to make. The tools needed are also easy to find and use. Also, unlike the other wood joint types, a dowel joint does not come with a hefty budget.

When made using the right tools and size by a professional, this joint is impressively strong. But as explained above, you don’t have to use a dowel joint in all your wood projects.

Some structures are best when made using another joint other than a dowel joint. For example, a picture frame is best when made with a miter joint. Same to the doors and windows. A dowel joint may have some disadvantages, as explained above, but the benefits are more. Use one where appropriate.
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