Wooden Dowels, Holding Our Wooden World Together

What on earth is a dowel? No, it’s not a misspelling for “towel” – it’s actually something much more important, and far smaller. Wood dowels are one of the little things that keep our worlds together – and that’s not really exaggerating. Many of the things we interact with every day are dependent on wood dowels to keep them together.

From the desk you’re sitting at to the bookshelf at home, wood dowels are a minuscule tool we’ve been taking advantage of for centuries to build and secure more than you would think. One might wonder, “Why do I care about wood dowels?” Sure, they might not seem painfully important, but they’re one of the many things that we come into contact with every day without ever realizing it – and don’t you want to know how things work?

So How are Wood Dowels Made?

Generally, wood dowels are manufactured on specially made dowel machines – though in centuries past they were probably made by hand. Modern wood dowel machines use interchangeable cutting heads of different dimensions to produce wooden dowels of highly varying shapes, sizes, and diameters.

The basic industrial wood dowel machine combines a hollow “chuck” (or clamp) with cutting knives that angle into the machine. The wood passes through the machine, and the inward facing knives cut it into shape to quickly makes a versatile and important tool out of what was once simple and unassuming wood.

Typically, the dowel making machine has an open end with long material guides at the entry and the exit of the machine. This allows the creation of a long continuous wooden dowel rod, which can then be cut at varying lengths.However, that’s not the only way wooden dowel manufacturers do it. Other, higher volume methods exist where the manufacturing is done on a wood shaper. The wood shaper forms a large number of dowels from a single piece of wood by using two rotating cutting heads that simultaneously create side by side dowels. These parallel dowel rods are then cut into individual pieces.

There you have it – wood dowels

If you were to dissemble a large portion of your furniture, wooden appliances, your desk, your bookshelf, and more – you’d likely find a number of wooden dowels. As you can see, they are a widespread and versatile fact of life that you never even knew existed – invisibly holding things together that we count on every day. Now, you might still think dowels are insignificant, but at least you know more now than you did 5 minutes ago. Right?