I make dowel joints with the help of the drill press

I make dowel joints with the help of the drill press

In this post you can watch two woodworking videos. In the first one, I show the technique to make joints with dowels, described in this post, drilling the dowel holes with the drill press. And in the second video, at the end of this post, we can watch a trial and error test in witch I modify the order in which I make the dowel holes to make the wood joints with wooden dowels.

If we are going to make dowel joints, it is important to make the holes as vertical as possible so that the dowels will fit without problems when joining the pieces of wood. And one of the best options for drilling vertical holes is usually to use a drill press. Yes, using a drilling jig would also work, but it is not the topic of this post. Also, of course, so that the holes in the pieces of wood to be joined are aligned, it is necessary to mark as precisely as possible where to drill the dowel holes in both sides of the joint.

Dowel centering nails

In hardware stores and do-it-yourself centers we can find different sizes of centering points for each size of dowel, but here we are going to see how to use nails as dowel center points.

Driving headless nails

What I do is to mark the area where I want to drill in the first piece. And after cutting the head off of some headless nails (yes, but they usually have a small head that has to be removed for this task), I have to drive them into the wood, just where the holes for the dowels will go, but with the tip of the nails facing upwards. It is better to drive the nails in the usual way first, with the point towards the wood. Then I remove them and put them upside down leaving the tip to protrude one or two millimeters.

Marking where to drill holes for the dowels

Now I just have to present that piece of wood in front of the other, in the position where I want to join them. And I press that wood against the other wood so that the nail tips leave the marks on the other wood.

Marks for drilling the head of the wood strip

This way I have the marks left by the nails tips on one piece, and on the other piece I will have the holes where I inserted the nails.

Drilling dowel holes with the drill press

Now I only have to remove the nails that I put in the first piece and drill, just in the marks and in both pieces, the holes to make the dowel joints.

Drill on the drill press

To drill the holes with the drill press the most convenient way is to use either the drill press table and the drill press vertical table that we saw how to make in this woodworking and diy blog. And if we don’t have drill depth stops, we can use a piece of wood dowel to make a simple depth stop for the dill bit.

Join the wooden pieces together with dowels.

Once the holes have been drilled, we can insert the dowels and join the wooden pieces together. In the video you can watch the whole process and the result. The technique to make dowel joints is simple, but to achieve a perfect result we will need a little practice … or a little work with the sandpaper to even out the surfaces.

Trial and error to make wood joints by drilling dowel holes with the drill press:

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