Guest Rorke Miller shares simple tips for using and creating a stepped dowel system as opposed to traditional dowels.
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Traditional pin dowels work well in edge joining, but aren't good for pegging or pin joining. A stepped dowel is used in conjunction with a stepped drill bit to create a very specific pilot hole for the dowel. The wide head of the stepped dowel allows it to work in cross grain, thus relieving one of the shortcomings of traditional dowels.
Using a Stepped Dowel
Stepped dowels can be used in melamine and MDF as well as a variety of woods. The dowels themselves are available in different wood varieties. They also come in different sizes for use with 1/2" and 1-1/2" stock.
With wooden dowels, a router can be run along the edge of the board after making the joint, which is not possible with screws or nails. Stepped dowels can also be used to take the place of screws in decking.