Troubleshooting dowel-joint problems
Problem #1: Joint doesn’t come together tightly, even under clamping pressure.
Cause: Holes are too shallow.
Remedy: Shorten the dowel pins or deepen the holes and reassemble the joint.
Problem #2: Wood splits under clamping pressure.
Cause: Dowels are not parallel.
Remedy: Remake the parts and drill the holes with a dowelling jog or drill press.
Problem #3: Joint is weak, with inconsistent workpiece alignment.
Cause: Dowel holes too large.
Remedy: Remake parts and drill holes of the proper diameter, or simply drill holes for next larger size of dowel pins.
Problem #4: Dowels won’t enter holes drilled to correct size.
Cause: Dowel pins are swollen with moisture.
Remedy: Heat dowel pins in a toaster oven at 325 F for 15 minutes.