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How to remove dowel pins

Updated February 21, 2017

Dowel pins are simple devices that are used to hold to objects together without the need for adhesives. They are designed to hold for a very long period of time, which makes them difficult to remove. Upon first glance, it may seem impossible to remove dowel pins without causing extra damage to the object the dowel pins are in. Removing them is actually simple, and with a little practice, it can be done in a matter of minutes

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  1. Measure the diameter of the dowel. Use a drill bit that is roughly 1/10 the size of the dowel. For example, a 1-inch dowel needs a 1/10-inch drill bit. If you do not have the correct size, simply use the smallest bit you have.

  2. Drill a hole directly down the centre of the dowel. This will work for dowels of any material, including metal. Keep in mind that it will take longer to drill through a metal dowel.

  3. Fill a syringe with motor oil. Fill the hole of the dowel with motor oil until it reaches the top of the dowel.

  4. Break one of the drill bits in half. You want it to be just long enough that it barely sticks out of the end when you put it in the drill. If you are using a 1/10-inch drill bit, the bit should stick out about 1/10-inch from the drill.

  5. Place the drill on top of the dowel so that the bit is lined up with the hole. Hit the back of the drill with the hammer so that it looks like you are pounding the drill into the dowel. Do this repeatedly until you see the dowel start to come up. This forces the oil to seep under and around the edges of the dowel, thus forcing the dowel to come out of place.

  6. Refill the dowel hole with motor oil until it reaches the top. Put the drill back on top of the dowel and hit it with the hammer as you did in the previous step. Repeat this step until the dowel can easily be pulled out with your hands.

  7. Tip

    Do not hit the drill so hard that you damage it. If removing a tapered dowel pin, drill through the widest end first. Wooden dowels that are glued in place must be drilled out completely.

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Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Two drill bits (same size)
  • Hammer
  • Motor oil
  • Syringe

About the Author

Kenneth Coppens began his freelance writing career in 2008. His passions in life consist of extensive personal research on food, gardening and finding natural and eco-friendly alternatives to nearly all aspects of life.

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