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Tip #136
Emergency Dowel Fluting

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Run out of fluted dowel pins? Here's how to make your own.

Don't you just hate it when it's 10:00 PM and you're in the middle of a project...when you run out of an important component that's required to take you to the next step?

If those depleted components are fluted dowel pins...and you just happen to have some correct sized dowel rods at hand, this little trick will keep you going.

Before we continue....trying to assemble a doweled project with a dowel pin that's not fluted or spiral cut will often result in a glue-starved joint - or - worse yet - a split workpiece. The flutes and spiral cuts in commercially-made dowel pins are there for two reasons.

The first reason is to allow space for the glue to escape as you assemble your doweled components. Without the flutes or spiral cuts, pressure will build rapidly as you force your components together, which could easily cause one or both of the mating components to split out.

The second reason is to provide more contact surface between the dowel, the glue and the workpieces.

So....let's get back to the tip. If you're out of fluted dowel pins, reach for the appropriate sized dowel rod and flute it yourself by squeezing it between the coarse "teeth" of an ordinary pair of pliers (not needle-nosed or electrician's pliers). This will create some shallow flutes for glue escapement.

When you've finished, don't forget to round-off the ends of your dowel pins. This makes for easier insertion and provides increased holding power as some of your glue "puddles" where the dowel ends meet the bottoms of their holes.

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