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What is a Dowel?

DowelA dowel is the term commonly used to reference a small piece of cylindrical wood that is used for aligning and fastening pieces of a construction project. This is an accurate use of the term, but it does not represent the entirety of the term’s use. A dowel may also refer to a cylindrical piece of metal used to attach pieces of a cam-locking system. The term dowel can also be applied to the plastic inserts used to attach mounting screws to surfaces like plaster, concrete and drywall. Though all of these have the common property of being round and used to attach two pieces of a project, the most common use of the term will refer to the wooden rod-like pieces.

Dowels can be used for any number of reasons and purposes. Using a dowel of like wood in a construction project can create an invisible binder once the pieces are assembled. To properly install a dowel, a hole slightly smaller than the circumference of the dowel is drilled. If a wooden dowel is to be used, then the dowel is cut to a length that will allow it to sit flush with the assembled pieces. Dowels will typically be glued in place and sanded flush with the surface they are set in to.

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