Picture of Tiny Dowel Joints Using Skewers
Tower Lamp.jpg

This is a great trick for making really small wood joints. Standard dowel joints are not the most durable, but work great for the right application. The key to dowel joints is proportion. Skewers are typically around 3/32" diameter, which works great for material that is 1/4" - 1/2" thick. I've been making these small wood water tower-like structures, and using skewers for dowels works great. The wood is about 3/8" square for reference. Any bigger and you should probably use a real dowel, not a skewer.

This Instructable goes over the basics of drilling and gluing the dowels, but not how to make the structures. If you come up with fun stuff to make using this method, please post photos of your project!

(I've added a photo of the lamp I made using this dowel technique to show an example project).

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Step 1: Tools / Supplies you need

Picture of Tools / Supplies you need

You might need some specific tools not listed, depending on what you are making.


- Wood skewers**

- Wood for your construction (I milled some 3/8" square lengths of solid wood for the structure shown)


- Drill (cordless)

- 3/32" drill bit

- Hammer (small head is preferred)

- Pliers with built in wire cutter

- Wood glue

- Chisel (reasonably sharp)


- Awl

- Combination Square (helpful for marking)

** Bamboo skewers have a stronghold on the market, so you might not be able to find solid wood without a lot of searching. Bamboo will work too, but I like the look of hardwood over the bamboo end-grain. I finally found solid wood skewers at an Ace Hardware on University in Berkeley.... after searching several other stores.

I am really liking the simplicity of the idea of using skewers as dowels.

Kiteman6 months ago

Will we see what the towers got used for?

ADintheStudio (author)  Kiteman5 months ago

Hi Kiteman! Thank for asking. I've added a photo of the water tank lamp I made above... I haven't decided what to do with the bigger one yet.

That's cool.

You ought to post that as an instructable in its own right.

spylock8 months ago

I used a pencil on a project I was working on,didnt want to leave the house so late.It worked fine.

Zargon8 months ago

I want to know... where is that incredibly clean shop and do you get to play with that OneWay lathe anytime you want??? ;-D Oh yeah.. Nice Job!

ADintheStudio (author)  Zargon8 months ago

Its the Pier 9 Workshop that houses the Instructable's staff and the Artist in Residence program, located on the waterfront in San Francisco.... and yes, it is too clean for comfort :)

olanderd8 months ago

Great idea. I love your attention to detail and couldn't help notice that you also lap jointed and doweled the corners as well. Excellent work.

ADintheStudio (author)  olanderd8 months ago

Thank you for noticing! Perhaps my next Instructable will cover how to cut tiny lap joints on the table saw. The lap joints have such little glue surface at this scale that they will pop apart if they are not also doweled, FYI.

This is very clever. I'll make use of this soon I'm sure. I love how handy skewers are

Bannockburn8 months ago

So smart! I've done this with higher end toothpicks (yeah, they do make them) and they're sold wood, but skewers could be more versatile.

audreyobscura8 months ago

so little! Great job, I never thought of using skewers as dowel rod.