How to Join Pieces of Wood Using Wood Dowel Pins & Dimplers

Updated February 21, 2017

Wood dowels are one of the best ways to join wood together. Dowels penetrate deep into the wood to provide grip that is permanent and almost indestructible. Dowel placement must be accurate to provide ease of installation and joint integrity. This is accomplished by using dowel centres, blind hole spotters or "dimplers." A dimpler is a small plug with a sharp point that fits into an existing dowel hole. The sharp point cuts a small dimple into the receiving piece of wood indicating where the other hole should be drilled.

Drill a hole with the cordless drill where you want to place a dowel into one piece of wood. For a 3-inch dowel, drill the hole 1 1/2 inches deep.

Place the dimpler into the hole; the pointed end will be sticking up. Place the other piece of wood against the first piece of wood where you want them to be joined; the wood should be resting against the sharp tip of the dimpler. Use your hand to bump the pieces of wood together, forcing the sharp end of the dimpler into the other piece of wood and making a small divot in the receiving piece of wood.

Insert the tip of the drill bit into the divot that you made with the dimpler. Using the cordless drill, drill another hole 1 1/2 inches deep using the divot as a guide.

Squirt glue into both holes with a glue bottle. Insert a dowel into one of the holes. Insert the extended end of the dowel into the hole in the receiving piece of wood.

Put a clamp across the two pieces of wood and tighten the clamp until the two pieces come together tightly.


Always clean up wet glue. This article is to illustrate how dimplers and dowels work for example only. For the best accuracy when dowelling, use a dowelling jig or a drill press to insure that you drill straight holes.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 pieces of wood
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill bit, 1/2-inch brad tip
  • Dowel 1/2 inch by 3 inches
  • Glue
  • Bar clamp
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About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.