How to remove a broken dowel with old glue

Written by bill brown
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How to remove a broken dowel with old glue
Drill out a broken dowel. (dowel image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Once a dowel snaps off in a joint or breaks along its length, there is no easy way to pull it out. Carpenter's glue actually dries to form a joint that is stronger than the wood itself. While many glues are reversible, provided you know what kind of glue was used, getting into a tight spot to dissolve the glue and get the dowel out may be a lot more work than it is worth.

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Things you need

  • Drill
  • Drill bit to match dowel size and a smaller one for pilot hole
  • Small hand saw
  • Rag or canned air

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  1. 1

    Cut the dowel off flush with the surface of the object it is glued into, using the saw, for ease of drilling.

  2. 2

    Draw an "X" across the widest diameters of the dowel to find the centre point.

  3. 3

    Drill a small pilot hole using a small bit (around 1/8-inch) into the centre of the "X" for a precision job.

  4. 4

    Drill down into the dowel using a bit the same width of the dowel. The pilot hole should get you started on the right course. Be careful not to drill too far; use the variable speed if the drill has it, and check you progress every few seconds as you get deeper into the dowel.

  5. 5

    Clean out hole, depending on size, with a bit of rag or canned air.

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