How to Remove a Broken Dowel

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Things You'll Need

  • Chisel

  • Hammer

  • Nailset

  • Drill bit, 1/2-in. brad tip

  • Cordless drill

Drill out broken dowels to remove them when reparing furniture.

Broken dowels can be a perplexing problem, seemingly impossible to remove from chair legs, furniture or cabinets when they shear off or break from years of pressure. Glued dowels can be permanently bonded to wood and must be drilled out. By drilling out the dowel, it also cleans out the dried glue and permits fresh glue to stick. Drilling dowels is the best solution for broken dowel removal. Most furniture dowels are 1/2-in. Start with a 1/2-in. drill bit.


Step 1

Place a chisel at the base of the dowel. Tap on the end of the chisel with a hammer to cut the end off the broken dowel protruding from the hole.

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Step 2

Place a nailset on the center of the broken dowel. Tap on it hard to make a hole in the end of the dowel.

Step 3

Place the drill bit in the cordless drill. Place the brad-tip of the drill bit in the hole. Hold the drill parallel to the dowel and begin drilling into the dowel.

Step 4

Drill into the dowel, pushing on the end of the drill easily until it penetrates the dowel and stabilizes inside the hole.


Step 5

Drill all the way through the dowel. The drill will speed up slightly when you come to the end of the dowel. It will have a hollow feel. Stop drilling and pull out the bit.


The measurements here are for example only. Match the correct size drill bit to the dowel in your piece of furniture. You can also use a Forstner bit to drill out dowels.


Always wear safety glasses when working with wood.


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