Connecting a Dowel Joint

comments (1) February 23rd, 2011 in blogs

Killenwood Tim Killen, contributor
thumbs up 2 users recommend

Some SketchUp users may wonder how you align and connect a dowel joint. After all, there are no corners  to grab on the dowel to match-up with the socket. To get around this limitation, you need to place  guidepoints (or centerpoints) on both the dowel ends and the sockets. Now you have common connecting attachment handles.

Here's an example of a dowel joint between a top piece and the corresponding side.

Note: I would not typically show the dowel in the model as there is not much advantage of having it there. The centerpoints in the sockets can be used for alignment and connection of the two components without having dowels.

Step 1: Set-up for making the guidepoints or "centerpoints" in circles.

Click on Window in the Menu Bar, and select Preferences from the pop-up menu.

The following dialog box will appear. Click on Extensions in the left panel. Then place a click in the check box for Ruby Script Examples. Click OK.
Now you are set up to create those centerpoints in circles.

Step 2: Create the centerpoints on the sockets and the dowel ends.

Right click on the socket circle perimeter. It will highlight in blue and a menu will appear. Select "Point at Center" and a guidepoint will appear at the center of the circle.

Step 3: Grab the dowel centerpoint with the Move Tool.

Step 4: After turning on X-ray, move the dowel to connect with the socket centerpoint. You can now continue to insert the dowel to its proper depth. Use the Arrow Key to force the dowel on the appropriate axis - in this case the down or up arrow key, to move on the Blue axis direction.

After placing the dowel, you can use the Move Tool to connect the centerpoints of the Side and Top sockets.


posted in: blogs, cabinet, modern

Comments (1)

Carl_Stammerjohn Carl_Stammerjohn writes: Awesome! Thanks for the tip. I have gone through great frustrations to create that center point. This is so simple.
Posted: 12:30 pm on February 25th

You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.

Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking


Become a Better Woodworker

About Design. Click. Build.

Learn the art and science of designing furniture in SketchUp with Fine Woodworking's official blog. Moderated by a devoted community of woodworkers, we feature step-by-step SketchUp tutorials on designing components, downloads of pre-built 3D models of furniture parts, and news and information about the evolving world of digital furniture design.

Buy the Video
Don't miss Dave Richard's brand-new DVD/video download, The Basics.

Buy the Book
Get Tim Killen's popular eBook, the Google SketchUp Guide for Woodworkers.

Basic SketchUp Tutorials 
Learn the basics of building furniture in SketchUp with these classic posts from the Design. Click. Build. blog.

Creating a Project Plan in SketchUp
How I Draw in SketchUp
Axes in SketchUp
The SketchUp Move Tool
The SketchUp Rotate Tool
The SketchUp Scale Tool

Materials, Colors, and Textures
Applying Wood Grain Skins in SketchUp

Easy Dovetail Joints in SketchUp

Digital Project Plans

Download and modify SketchUp files for select projects from Fine Woodworking. View all.

Top Sellers:
Matt's Monster Workbench
New England Pine Cupboard
Garden Bench

Meet the Authors



I am a Biomedical Equipment Technician. I maintain anesthesia and respiratory equipment for the largest medical facility in southeast Minnesota. I...
view profile

Tim Killen

I am retired from Bechtel Corporation after 36 years in Engineering and IT management. I grew up among woodworking machinery in...
view profile


view profile