Dowels and dowel holes - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 02-18-2016, 07:52 AM Thread Starter
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Dowels and dowel holes

Dowels shouldn't fit so thight in their holes that force is needed to bring them in place with the risk of breaking or splitting the wood and the risk of pressing the glue out. So my question is: Can I use a 8 mm dowel covered in glue in a 9.5 mm hole half filled with glue ? Does anyone have experience with that ?

Last edited by Golgatha; 02-18-2016 at 08:05 AM.
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post #2 of 27 Old 02-18-2016, 10:46 AM
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No. An 8mm dowel needs an 8mm hole. Use a fluted dowel to allow the glue to spread when you drive the dowel in.
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post #3 of 27 Old 02-18-2016, 12:22 PM
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Or you can slightly shave the 10mm dowel with a hand axe or knife until it just fits a little loose, and then apply the glue.
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post #4 of 27 Old 02-18-2016, 12:41 PM
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You are correct in stating "dowels should not be forced into a hole" Remember also that most wood (including some dowels) will expand and contract in humid/moist weather. Best to match up dowels with the (nearly) same size hole. Be safe.
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post #5 of 27 Old 02-18-2016, 12:47 PM
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When u make the same size hole as the dowel, sometimes the friction will make it a too tight fit.
Just use standard pliers and squeeze down on the dowel with just moderate pressure and you will have a fluted dowel. If you can purchase the fluted dowels, you will be better off. Most of them or either birch or beech which are very stable woods.

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post #6 of 27 Old 02-18-2016, 01:19 PM
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I think it depends on what kind of glue you use. If you're using epoxy, then it's probably OK, as epoxy will fill gaps. White glue probably wouldn't work as well in that application.
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post #7 of 27 Old 02-20-2016, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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I thank you all for your answers. Here are a couple of other dowel questions: Suppose a part of a chairleg or tableleg has to be replaced by a replica. That kind of legs are seldom straight but often curvasious. How do you fasten them in a workbench and how do you drill dowelholes in their exact axises ?
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post #8 of 27 Old 02-20-2016, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golgatha View Post
...... Suppose a part of a chairleg or tableleg has to be replaced by a replica. ......How do you fasten them in a workbench and how do you drill dowelholes in their exact axises ?

Most table legs and chair legs have a straight section at the top end where they join the apron. That end should fit in a vice.
As for drilling the dowel holes in exact position and angle, that rarely happens. You line up your drill holes as best as you can. Even with a broken leg, you can still get relatively close by sight. Drill the hole in the new leg 1/16" larger so there is some wiggle room. Then dry fit the parts together to make sure they will fit. Since we are assuming that the apron holes are OK, Glue the dowels in the apron and let set over night, The next day dry fit the legs again to make sure everything is still OK. Since the holes in the legs are oversized, you MUST use epoxy. Keep in mind, that you cannot stain epoxy when it sets up. So, you use "touch-up" powders to color the epoxy when mixing it. If Touch-up powders are not available mix in some sawdust - the real fine stuff that you get from your sander, This will darken the epoxy. It is also imperative that when mixing the epoxy, you mix the Part A and Part B together BEFORE you add the powders or dust.
When clamping the legs in place when gluing, I found the best clamps to be surgical tubing. Surgical tubing is flexible, highly elastic and easy to tie in place. Usually 8' long pieces will work fine. If no surgical tubing, rope is a poor alternative, but still do-able. It will requiring tying and making a touriquet.
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Last edited by Tony B; 02-20-2016 at 07:11 AM.
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post #9 of 27 Old 02-20-2016, 08:16 AM
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I'm having computer problems so I'm not going to look up the difference between 8mm and 9.5mm. What you have to understand is with a wooden dowel I'm sure when it left the machine at the factory it was 8mm in diameter but over time sitting in the store or warehouse they swell up a bit. You could cut a v groove in the dowel to releave the pressure and still have to drive the dowel in with a hammer. What I used to do is make the holes 1/64" bigger than the factory dowel were made to allow for the swelling of the dowel. It was still a snug fit but would allow glue to squeeze by. I make my own dowels now and have made the tooling to where it cuts the dowels 1/64" undersized so they will swell up close to the drill bit size.
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post #10 of 27 Old 02-20-2016, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul
I'm having computer problems so I'm not going to look up the difference between 8mm and 9.5mm.
It's 1.5mm, I looked it up for you.
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post #11 of 27 Old 02-20-2016, 08:49 AM
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I make my own dowels with a small axe. I give them a slight taper for a better fit. Later if the wood expands, there is a small clearance for expansion due to the taper.
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post #12 of 27 Old 02-20-2016, 02:53 PM
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It's 1.5mm, I looked it up for you.
Dangit, you beat me to it...

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post #13 of 27 Old 02-20-2016, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BZawat View Post
No. An 8mm dowel needs an 8mm hole. Use a fluted dowel to allow the glue to spread when you drive the dowel in.

Ageed.


Overfilling the hole will also split the wood even will fluted, or spiral cut dowels. Be sure the sides of the hole are covered with glue and drill the holes a little deeper than 1/2 the length of the dowel to allow for any excess glue.
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post #14 of 27 Old 02-20-2016, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golgatha View Post
I thank you all for your answers. Here are a couple of other dowel questions: Suppose a part of a chairleg or tableleg has to be replaced by a replica. That kind of legs are seldom straight but often curvasious. How do you fasten them in a workbench and how do you drill dowelholes in their exact axises ?
Use a sliding t bevel square. Use a symmetrical spindle as reference.
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post #15 of 27 Old 02-20-2016, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mort View Post
It's 1.5mm, I looked it up for you.
What is 1.5mm in inches though.
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post #16 of 27 Old 02-20-2016, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mort View Post
It's 1.5mm, I looked it up for you.
What is 1.5mm in inches though.
1/16" = 1.6 mm

Edit: as a side note, to convert inches to millimeters, multiply by 25.4
Therefore to convert mm to inches divide by 25.4. So 1.5mm = .059"

Last edited by BZawat; 02-20-2016 at 09:17 PM.
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post #17 of 27 Old 02-22-2016, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
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Once again, thank you all for your answers. It seems that most of us can agree on tight fitting dowels being risky business. Specially, may I add, in thin chair- and tablelegs. The hammer should stay away !
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post #18 of 27 Old 02-22-2016, 07:43 AM
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Mallet

A hammer should always stay away in woodworking. Always use a mallet. Here is the one I made on a lathe with scrap 4 X 4's. I like using pine because it is soft and wont damage hardwood furniture parts when they have to be lightly tapped into or out of position.

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post #19 of 27 Old 02-23-2016, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golgatha View Post
Once again, thank you all for your answers. It seems that most of us can agree on tight fitting dowels being risky business. Specially, may I add, in thin chair- and tablelegs. The hammer should stay away !
The dowel should not be tight, but it should be precise. That's the whole point of using dowels. They align the joint as well as add structural stability. The allowance for glue is made in the depth of the hole, not the diameter, and in using a fluted or spiral cut dowel. The dowel itself should be a snug fit in the hole in order to work properly.
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post #20 of 27 Old 02-23-2016, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BZawat View Post
1/16" = 1.6 mm

Edit: as a side note, to convert inches to millimeters, multiply by 25.4
Therefore to convert mm to inches divide by 25.4. So 1.5mm = .059"
I usually just google the conversion but my computer is ill with a virus so I'm using my wife's laptop which is working really bad.

1.5 mm would be too sloppy then. Surely they have drill bits in finer increments than that.
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