The lowly dowel joint may be the most undervalued, underused joint in woodworking. It owes that reputation to decades of bad, factory-made furniture. But done right, the dowel joint is a simple, strong way to  make fine furniture, and often is the best solution when other joints don't work. Use it to align panels, substitute for a mortise-and-tenon, and as a solution in tight spaces where traditional joinery would be cumbersome.

From Fine Woodworking #222