Why Use Dowels Instead of Screws: Expert’s Guide

While working with wood joinery, one question might often come, why use dowels instead of screws? So today, we will let you know all the reasons to use dowels.

Using dowels with the right technique will lead you to better results. Top woodwork and joinery experts may even palace it above the modern screw.

Sure, the screws are modern and have a fancy look, but they fall short of the old-school dowels. 

Let’s look at the reasons which would convince you why dowels still matter these days.

Definition of Dowels and Screws

Dowels and screws are two different things for one individual goal. They are made from different elements, using methods, applications, etc.

Dowels are cylindrical rods that are used for attaching, aligning, and fastening pieces of construction projects. It is usually made of wood, plastic, metal, etc., but wood is used majorly. 

Screws are metal objects with one head and threaded shaft that attach two parts. In addition, it has tread, shart, pitch, and tip. All of these make it one of the best to use on woodworking and similar sorts of projects. 

Comparison: Dowels vs. Screws

You must compare both of these as it provides you with a clear concept about both of them. As each has different sorts of working methods, applications, and usage methods, comparing them is a must.

Working Methods

First, talking about the dowels, they are kind of long pieces of wood. It gets created with split words with certain diameters. Then, you put these rounded wooden pieces into the hole or slot at both sides of the joinery. Once you place it, it joins huge parts of the wood efficiently.

Screws have a rounded pattern from start to end called a thread. You turn the screw against the wood, and it gets stuck in place with every turn. Plus, most screws have a slot at their head to let you use tools like screwdrivers. As a result, the screw works great to join different objects.


Dowels work great on different materials such as wood, composite, cardboard, and so on. Plus, dowels don’t skid when you use them with clamps or glue. Plus, it’s rare to break joinery created with dowels. As a result, using dowels provides you with spot-on joinery.

Screws, on the other hand, have versatility. The plus point of these screws is they are great at odd angles. Plus, you could revert if the screw is not set correctly. Plus, all the screws are small yet provide you decent grip regardless of the material.  


Dowels are great on wood and composite materials when talking about the application. Hence, dowels are great for hiding and blending into the wood. Even if the dowel head is exposed on the wood surface, sanding it away provides the solution for you.

On the other hand, screws are popular on surfaces such as wood, pipes, and other materials. Screws are great at working on a surface level. As a result, countless engineering and creative projects feature screws as a dynamic solution.

Why Use Dowels Instead of Screws?

As we all know, dowels and screws have been used for making furniture for many years. Though, there are different statements about their ability. In the beginning, dowels were only equipment for furniture makers. 

But in this dynamic world, screws have become more popular and convenient. Some wood producers still favor dowels because of their strength. On the other hand, production society sees screws as faster and more useful than dowels.

Read: How Much Weight Can A Deck Screw Hold: In-Detail Analysis

Dowels are stronger than screws because dowels labor with glue to enhance their strength. In addition, they connect each part strongly so they will not split out. It is always a result; it avoids errors and will not strip sensitive materials.

Another reason you should go for dowels is that it creates high friction. As a result, the dowel joint becomes resistant to even heavy shakes. Plus, when you place glue or clamps, the joint creates a solid position on wooden surfaces.

Plus, when working with furniture and similar materials, dowels provide the perfect solution. Plus, blending in the head of dowels is super easy as you could use sandpaper and some burnish. 

Tips On Creating Wood Joints with Dowels

As we recommend the dowels or screws, here are some tips on creating wood joints with dowels. Hence, it would let you get the most out of the dowels over screws.

Go for Doweling Jigs

For better performance of your jewels, use doweling jigs. These jigs let you fit the dowels into the wooden slots much faster. Plus, it would improve the joint’s friction and get top-class results. As these doweling jigs are metal, it would also provide you with faster installation. 

Create Wood Precision Holes

It would be best if you created each hole according to your dowels. The dowel center must be in the middle of the hole at both ends of the joining pieces. It’s better to check out your dowel set and start measuring it. After measuring out the diameter, create holes according to the measurement.


Below are some of the questions which you get to benefit from on the way

How To Tighten a Dowel on Wood?

The right formula to tighten up the dowel is to use glue correctly. First, you need to put glue into the first wood piece hole. Then, insert the wood dowel into the hole. Now, pour down the glue on the hole of another wood piece and put it on the other side of the dowel. It’s the best way to create tighter dowels.

Do Pocket Screws Work Better Than Dowels?

No, Dowels win the following comparison as well. The reason behind the win is the glue. As the dowels use glue, it works better and creates one of the tightest joints. Hence, pocket screws might be easier to blend on the surface, but dowels are a better choice in the following instance.

How Many Dowels Can Bear on Its Own?

In a short answer, a dowel can bear more than 550 pounds of pressure. Due to this kind of high-pressure capacity, dowels are a reliable option. These numbers would give you a great idea of how strong dowels are in reality.

Last Words

Hope you got the answer on why use dowels instead of screws. You get better joints, high-pressure capacity, and easy application on the same spot.

Meanwhile, don’t get me wrong, as the screw has huge applicability but falls short of dowels.

You must also maintain an ideal process to get the best join out of the dowels. Make sure you follow the gluing process, and everything will be one its place.

At last, we would encourage you to use dowels in the correct places and get amazing results. So go on and create your most secure joints ever right now. 

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Hey, I'm George Fanton. I've over nine years of experience in the woodworking industry. I've cultivated a deep interest in practical wood and tasks. I enjoy sharing new information on woodworking technology to maintain my expertise in the current woodworking industries.

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