Dowels are simple small wooden pegs or rods that are used to support shelves and to reinforce wood joints. These dowels are available in uniform and precut sizes to be readily used in carpentry, but they can also be bought as long rods that can be cut to the required length. Seeing as the dowels are available in a variety of sizes, they are quite versatile.
While searching for dowels in supplier websites, you will find different options available like the type and species of wood that is used to make the dowel and whether they are made from hard or soft wood. Knowing the details about the dowel is good; so below are some of the important things that you need to consider while buying dowels.
The tree from which the wood was obtained to make the dowel is an important thing that you need to look for. Usually, wood from trees like ash, oak, cherry, and birch are used to make dowels, as these woods are strong and reliable. Other hardwoods like poplar, beech, and mahogany are also used to manufacture dowels. However, softwood trees like pine are also used in making dowels sometimes.
Hard and Soft Wood
In simple terms, wood that is cut from trees with leaves can be called hardwood. Usually, these trees are called deciduous trees because they shed their leaves in winter. Softwood, on the other hand, is timber that is cut from trees with needles. These trees are commonly referred as evergreen as they will keep their needles round the year.
There is a common misconception that softwood is always supple and soft, but it is not always true. Some of the softwoods like pine can be really strong, and good for making dowels.
You may have understood that the terms hardwood and softwood do not reflect the strength of the wood correctly. Therefore, it is better to consider the density of the material to understand its strength.
Density is the measure of how tightly packed the molecules in the wood are. Dowels that are made from high-density wood can resist breakage, so they are commonly used to support load bearing wooden joints. Common examples of load bearing joints are those in shelves and wooden chairs.