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Thread: Dowel Pins

  1. #1
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    Dowel Pins

    I am making a project and using dowel pins to keep panels aligned. I drilled the holes using my Jessem doweling jig. Purchased 3/8 dowel pins from two sources, they fit so tight I would have to tap them in. My understanding is if they fit that tight when they swell from the glue they could split my panel. Am I thinking correctly??
    George

    Making sawdust regularly, occasionally a project is completed.

  2. #2
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    Some you’ll have to tap in. When you glue on them, how about then?

  3. #3
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    You can put them in the microwave for 30s to get some of the moisture out and shrink them somewhat. Past that, they might just be oversized and you might need a dowel plate or sand them down.

  4. #4
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    For the purpose you are using them...you don't really need glue. Tight is good for alignment as long as your holes are drilled true, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    I've bought quite a few premade dowels over the years that were oversized a good bit from what they were listed. Depending on the thickness and moisture content of the wood you're drilling your dowel holes into, it may or may not be a problem.

    But what I usually do in these cases is just shave a flat spot on the dowel. That way, it has room to expand, should it need to. So long as the wood it's going into is thick enough not to crack if the dowel expands, it'll deform the dowel somewhat as it expands into the space created by the shaved edge. That's my theory anyway. And so far, it's held up.

    Sometimes is the dowel is really thick, I'll install it into a drill chuck and sand it down, run it through a doweling plate, or just shave off a bunch of corners with a spokeshave to get it back down to size. It should be a tightish fit. But you definitely don't want too tight. Don't worry too much about the expansion created by wood glue. Once the glue dries, it'll shrink back down to size. It's the expansion that happens after that that matters.

  6. #6
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    Can you start it or have to hammer it all the way in? Do you have spiral or grooved dowels?
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    Last edited by jack duren; 03-01-2024 at 10:18 AM.

  7. #7
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    I would assume the pins you're using are steel, and you're using wooden dowels. Wooden dowels will compress substantially, I think you're probably good.

  8. #8
    I've never had a dowel or domino split a panel by swelling from the moisture in the glue.

    I wouldn't worry about it.

  9. #9
    George,

    A simple way to reduce dowel diameter is squeeze it with pliers or in a vise. Squeeze evenly all the way around so that it does not go too oval. Check the fit, however, while doing this so that it is not made too small.

    Phil

  10. #10
    I also have never had a dowel split a panel from swelling.

  11. #11
    Iíve got ,somewhere , a steel plate 1 inch thick that came from a junk yard , I drilled holes of different sizes , all slightly undersized .
    So when the dowels are hammered thru they get skinnier and easily go in. I thin the yellow glue a bit to make sure they swell . Itís old stuff now
    not used much, but still works. All the Old Timers I worked with had the homemade steel plates. I think there are still store- bought
    Plates ,but the ones Iíve seen were too thin to work well.

  12. #12
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    Another vote, wood dowels will not split a panel

  13. #13
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    So you can put a 3/8 dowel in a 1/4 hole without splitting? Would that be considered a wedge of some kind?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack duren View Post
    So you can put a 3/8 dowel in a 1/4 hole without splitting? Would that be considered a wedge of some kind?
    Of course that would cause an issue. But I suspect that there is a presumption here that the holes and the dowels are matched for size, even though the OP indicates they are snug.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
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    Iíd probably check the bit isnít old and needs to be replaced. If theyíre a little snug I wouldnít worry or if I did, Iíd sand them a bit.

    Iím with Jim on 3/8 dowel in 1/4 hole, yep thatís a problem LOL

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