How to use dowel centres

I have received a few enquiries from readers asking how to use dowel centres. It's actually very easy and after the first time you will be using dowels a lot more for joining wood. If you don't own a dowelling jig, dowel centres are used to match up drilled holes to accept dowels for joining wood together.


To make dowel joints you will need: dowels (6 or 8mm in diameter), dowel centres (6 or 8mm) and a wood bit of the same size as the dowels.


Dowel joints are used to join together two sections of wood for a strong joint. To make a dowel joint measure and mark on one side of the wood and use the right size drill bit to drill to half the length of a dowel.

You can use a piece of masking tape wrapped around the drill bit to make drilling to the right depth easier.

NOTE: Extra care needs to be taken to drill perfectly straight holes, so look at how you are holding the drill before you start.

Insert the dowel centres into the drilled holes, place together the two sections to be joined so that they are perfectly aligned and press hard. As you separate you will see that the dowel centres leave a pin hole on the second section, which indicates where the matching dowel holes need to be drilled.

Once again, drill to a depth of half the length of the dowel. You now have dowel holes drilled in both sections to be joined. Place a small bead of wood glue in the drilled holes and pop the dowel firmly into one side, tapping with a mallet to secure and then place this section over the other, aligning the dowels with the opposite holes. Use a rubber mallet to tap the two sections together. Wipe away any wood glue.