A dowel spans a joint inside the wood, tying the two adjoining members together. One or both ends of the dowel may be visible. A visible dowel is simple to install. First, glue the adjoining members together. Drill a hole (the same diameter as the dowel) through the first member and either part way into or through the second. Coat the dowel and the inside of the dowel hole with glue, then drive the dowel into the hole before the glue sets. Wait for the glue to dry, and sand the visible end (or ends) flush with the surrounding wood surface.
More often, the dowels are completely hidden from view. Hidden dowels are more difficult to install; you must drill stopped holes in both of the adjoining parts, and these holes must line up precisely. There are two tools for aligning dowel holes; both are commercially available from some hardware stores and most mail-order woodworking suppliers.
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