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5 Tips for Drilling Dowel Holes in the Right Locations

There are many ways to do dowel joinery for casework. You could use a Festool Domino, Biscuit Joinery, or Pocket Hole Joinery. But all of these will take special tools or jigs, so the easiest way to conduct this is with dowels.

Dowels are a good way to increase the strength of joints. But not drilling on the right location can be unforgiving.

You can mess up the whole alignment just because of an inch of difference, and the whole joint will not fit in properly.

image - 5 Tips for Drilling Dowel Holes in the Right Locations
5 Tips for Drilling Dowel Holes in the Right Locations

To help you prevent this issue here we have gathered five simple methods that can help you to accurately drill dowel holes.

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The tools you will be needing to make holes on dowels are a drilling machine, dowel centers, glue, pencil/ marker, scale, cutter, all saw, etc.

You can find these tools easily in tool & machinery stores. You can also check out the comparison shop for the latest drilling machines at affordable prices.

Make a Jig

The problem being how to accurately drill the holes in an angle so that the legs will join nicely together. You can use jigs to solve your problems. It’s super simple and really easy to make. When nothing else works jigs are always there to save the day.

There are a few ways to make the drilling guide block for the jig. The first way is for you to take a small cut off, that has the same angle as your workpieces.

You should mark your holes to drill perfectly in the center of the block and when it’s about two holes. They need to be equidistant from the edge for your material.

It could be a challenge clamping small pieces of the drill press. The best way is to use a hand screw clamp and clamping that down to the drill press table.

You also take a scrap that has the same dimensions as the pieces that you want to join together. You mark the holes again making sure those are in the center of the block.

You can use an all saw so that the brad-point bit can’t move away, r and it would be easier to clamp the drill press.

Other Tips

You can drill holes in cases with an effective drill bit. To avoid drilling excessively you can take a piece of masking tape or painters tape and make a little flag on the drilling pipe. This will help you to make sure you don’t go too deep.

After having the holes drilled, dowel centers can be inserted into the holes, and then hammering on the main piece, keeping it on the points of the centers will leave two little divots.

Now just drill to get the mating holes. Then join the pieces with glue and dowel pins. You can press the joint to stick in more by hammering it. Then leave it to dry. This technique will help you line up the joints very easily and quickly.

Try a Joiner or Buy a Jig

Doweling is a classic way to join your workpieces, you might face problems while classically making jigs. If you’re having problems like this, you can always buy a ready-made jig or joiners from the market.

Pocket screws or dado can come handy as well. A rabbet setup can also make your work easier. For better accuracy, Festool’s Domino or a horizontal mortiser could be given a chance.

Biscuit Joints

Looming up table tops can be done easily by biscuit joints instead of dowels. Biscuits do not add any strength to the joint but when you’re lining up boards for tabletops it helps them to be aligned easily on the clamps while gluing them.

Joining biscuits is easier as well but dowels are cheaper and it adds strength.

The Right Appeal

For the whole dowel project, you’ll be working with drill machines and sharp tools. So, be cautious at every step. The best advice would be to wear personal protective items of clothing.

While drilling dowel holes debris can enter into your eyes and mouth which can cause health issues like asthma, allergic reactions, eye infection, and even serious issues like cancer.

Body Protection: Avoid loose clothing. Tie up your hair tightly. You can wear a leather apron to protect your clothing as well.

Eye & Mouth Protection: Use goggles to avoid risk. A good mask will save your nose & mouth. These measures will protect you from flying particles.

Hand Protection: Using finger guards and gloves will help you protect your hand.

The dowel method might take a little longer to do than the biscuit or Festool domino but it’s pretty cheap and you can do it on your own without any professional help.

Following these tips will help you to improve the accuracy of your dowel joints. Following our quick hacks will end your frustration.

So, get on board with your dowels!