Dowel Joinery Glue Application Techniques

      The standard method is to place a metered amount of glue into the hole, then insert the dowel. November 23, 2012

What is the technique of rolling dowels in a glue soaked sponge to install them?

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor R:
I have never heard of that one. All my glue customers just inject it in the hole and push a multi-groove or spiral dowel in the hole. The glue travels up the grooves.

From the original questioner:
I have heard to drill a hole in the sponge, let it soak in a glue bath, and roll the dowel in the hole/glue of the sponge. I have always put the glue in the hole of the substrate. Maybe itís better to glue both, hole, and then dowel?

From contributor M:
Like Contributor R says - dowels are designed to work that way. Glue in the hole first, and then tap in the dowel. The glue will travel up the splines. Your dowel hole has to be the correct depth.

From contributor T:
The sponge trick is new to me, and it seems like it could be ok, however Iíve re-glued hundreds of chairs with failed joints and almost all displaying glue starvation. I take exception to the squirt and shove technique. Most dowels are used long after machining and the resultant oxidation presents a less than optimal gluing surface. To trust any glue joint with unknown glue distribution/coverage is too big a gamble. Glue spread in the hole and on the dowel is the only way to know you've done it right.

From the original questioner:
I believe this was or is a technique that was used in Europe. Regardless, I am switching to dowels, at least for integral panels.

From contributor M:
In Europe dowels are used for everything. The method I described is used by all the manufactures. Even the automatic machines do it this way. You know that the coverage was good if there is a small amount of squeeze-out. If you are using a glue metering system (for small shops the Lamello metering bottle is great) and drill consistent depths you can get great repeatability. After tapping in the dowel you will get tiny droplets of glue showing. The pressure also forces the glue into the material core for a stronger bond. For furniture with large and long dowels it might be different but for carcass joinery donít re-invent the wheel. The sponge method will make it harder to drive the dowel and the glue will not reach the bottom of the dowel.

From contributor U:
We don't dowel much here, but when I have to I use a squirt and dip method. I squirt a little glue into the holes and then dip the dowel in my glue pot before inserting. I do get a lot of squeeze-out that I need to deal with afterwards.

From the original questioner:
Anyone know the optimum fit for a dowel?

From contributor M:
Dowels are sized by the hole. 8mm dowels require an 8mm hole, 10mm dowels require a 10mm hole. If the dowels do not fit in the hole there is a problem with the dowel. Usually they are too tight, and this is often due to improper storage. If the dowels get wet or exposed to too much humidity they will swell and not fit. If you buy dowels that are not fitting their proper hole size, and you are sure it is not due to improper storage, then find a different supplier.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Adhesives, Gluing and Laminating

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking

  • KnowledgeBase: Cabinetmaking: General

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture

  • KnowledgeBase: Furniture: General

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2020 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article