Resize Dowels Ever So Slightly
This tip was suggested to me by a retired piano tuner who is without sight but often comes up with insightful solutions to my problems. I was concerned about driving dowels into a fragile piece of wood. He suggested that I reduce the size of the dowels with a flat bastard file as shown above. You place a little pressure on both ends of the file and roll the dowel back and forth. This technique makes it easy to control how much wood you remove, and the glue grooves remain intact because you're not removing much material.
—Karen J. Myers, Wren, Ohio