what size hole for a 5/8" wood dowel. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-28-2018, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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what size hole for a 5/8" wood dowel.

I am making a table and would like some advice from some of you technically savvy carpenters. I am making a table and assembling the legs and using a combination of mortise/tenon joints with 5/8" wood dowels in the wood. My concern is the wood dowels. I drilled a 5/8" hole and placed a 5/8" dowel in there. The dowel goes in there a bit loose but I wanted it to go in there a bit snug and I was going to lock it in place with wood glue. Would it still work or should I get a bigger dowel and shave it some and make it a tighter fit and lock it in place with wood glue?

Any advice is appreciated.
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post #2 of 11 Old 01-28-2018, 06:19 PM
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It depends on what wood you're using. Most commercially available dowels are either beech or birch, mostly birch. If you made your own, that's another factor. Once you add glue, the dowel will swell up and fill the space. If you don't want to use glue, which honestly you should unless you plan on taking it apart in the future, drill a 1/2" hole or go to the home center and get a slightly larger dowel to pound into place.
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-28-2018, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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I want to use glue. It will be permanent. Do you think the wood dowels in Lowes would work?

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post #4 of 11 Old 01-28-2018, 07:44 PM
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Put the end of the dowel in some water and then let it dry. I bet it will be snug then. Usually you have to drill an oversize hole for dowels. Then come from the factory the size they are marked but sitting in the store exposed to humidity they tend to swell up a bit.
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post #5 of 11 Old 01-28-2018, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Put the end of the dowel in some water and then let it dry. I bet it will be snug then. Usually you have to drill an oversize hole for dowels. Then come from the factory the size they are marked but sitting in the store exposed to humidity they tend to swell up a bit.
I drilled a 5/8" hole and was able to put the 5/8
dowel through the hole pretty easily. The hole was not extremely oversized. I was still able to push it through by hand. I think I will just use the glue to keep it in place. I am thinking the glue will expand the dowel and keep it there.
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post #6 of 11 Old 01-28-2018, 09:05 PM
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Most of the dowels I use are for engineered pieces for fixtures and templates and are frequently used as pivot pins. Because of that I usually take my dial calipers with me when I buy dowels to find the ones closest to the size I need. They seem to vary as much as 0.020" I have found. Can you split the dowel and insert a wedge to lock it in place, in addition to the glue?

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post #7 of 11 Old 01-28-2018, 09:35 PM
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You wanna find the perfect size dowel?

Use the drill size you want and make a hole in a scrap of wood about 3" square by 3/4" thick. Take it with you to the store and try the dowels of that size by fitting them into the scrap. They may or may not fit, but you will be able to buy the one that fits best. Simple. If all the dowels are too large, you can sand them down very slightly on a belt sander or by hand using a "shoe shine" technique with a 2" strip of sandpaper backed with duct tape so it won't break. Simple.

A previous post suggested using a 1/2" dowel. You stated you were using 5/8" dowels. I don't understand how it got confused .....?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-28-2018, 09:46 PM
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OK. How many monkeys and gorillas are going to be jumping around on your table?
I use 5/8" holes for 5/8" dowel pegs. I wet the dowel peg with water, slop it up with Gorilla and slam it home.
Nothing moves.

The totally bigger issue is the puzzle to get the surfaces to match up (kinda, sorta.)

What? Bed side tables, end tables, work bench tops for wood carving (made of 4x4 cedar) and stuff like that.
As you might imagine, I beat the crapola out of my carving benches with a 32oz lead core mallet, adzes and axes.
Nothing moves.

Only better is Ready Rod, 3/8" or 1/2" to tie the whole glue-up together. Learn to line those holes up over 16".
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-28-2018, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Hadn't thought about splitting the dowel. That is a good idea. If I split it on both side it should stay in place. This is how I want to install the dowel. I just don't know if this guy used glue or oversized dowel with glue.

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post #10 of 11 Old 01-28-2018, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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I am making it as a wedding present for my daughter. Hopefully if they have lots of kids then a lot of monkeys will be all over it. LOL.

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post #11 of 11 Old 01-28-2018, 10:14 PM
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The dowels Ive seen at the big box stores have tended to be of inconsistent roundness and diameter and the actual wood species was often unclear.

If it were me, Id buy properly sized dowel pins designed for the purpose.
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