Dead-on dowel joints
Jig for drilling ends and edges
To drill a dowel hole into the end grain of a workpiece, align a self-centering doweling jig index mark over your marked dowel location, top photo. Then drill two dowel holes to the tape at both ends on each rail.
Now repeat the process on the edge of the mating workpiece, middle photo. Moisture in glue can swell the rims of a dowel hole, pushing the pieces apart. To prevent this, bevel the hole edges with a 1/16"-deep countersink, bottom photo.
Then glue and insert dowels into either the stiles or rails. Glue the exposed dowels and joint surfaces, tap the parts together, and clamp the joints for one hour.
To make edge-to-edge joints, use the same technique to mark and drill mating edges. Place holes no closer than 1/8" from the ends to avoid breaking out the end grain while assembling the joint.
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