Ready-made dowels are manufactured from tough short-grain woods, such as ramin, birch, beech or maple. They are chamfered at each end to make them easier to insert in the holes, and are fluted lengthways to allow excess glue to escape. Choose dowels that are about half the thickness of the workpieces; the length of each dowel should be approximately five times its diameter.

If you need a few dowels only; cut them from a length of dowel rod. Steady the rod on a bench hook and cut off short sections with a fine-tooth saw. Chamfer each dowel with a file, and saw a single glue slot.

3 Boring dowel holes

Place the point of a dowel bit on the marked centre and bore each hole in turn. Unless you are using a dowelling jig (see opposite) or a bench stand (see page 34), it pays to have someone standing to one side who can tell you when the drill bit is vertical.

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