Dowels are great to reinforce wooden joints or to support shelving units. They are small rods that can be bought either in standard sizes or as large rods and cut down to the required size.
The dimension most commonly referred to when measuring dowels is diameter or width. This is because you need to be able to match your drill bit with the width of the dowels you are using.
Getting The Right Size
Plastic dowels can even be cut to size with a sharp cake knife. The length of the dowel you cut will depend on the DIY task you’ve taken on. For example, if you’re repairing a screw hole, you’ll be cutting a dowel peg that’s roughly the same size as the screw that fits it, whereas making an axle for a toy car will require a dowel that’s as wide as the car you’re making. It’s relatively easy to adjust the length of a dowel because you can just cut them, even if they’re made of metal or plastic. Reducing the width is much more difficult to do accurately.
Dowels come in a large variety of widths which may be measured in metric (millimetres) or imperial (inches) units. Dowel pegs sizes are usually listed in millimetres, but dowel rods may be listed either in millimetres or inches. Dowel rods usually come in widths between 3.175mm (1/8″) and 50.8mm (2″), but they can be as wide as 304.8mm (12″). They are usually between 304.8mm (12″) and 2.4m (9431/64) long.
Pre-cut dowels are usually either 6mm (¼”) wide and 30mm (13/16″) long, or 8mm (5/16″) or 10mm (3/8″) wide and 40mm (19/16″) long. When buying specific equipment for dowelling, such as drill bits, drill stops and centre points, these sizes are considered standard.
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