A dowel is a cylindrical piece of wood commonly used to align and fasten pieces in a construction project, but it has a broader range of applications. The term can also refer to metal or plastic cylindrical pieces used to attach pieces of a cam-locking system or mounting screws to surfaces such as concrete, drywall, or plaster. However, the most common use of the term is for the wooden rod-like pieces.

Dowels can serve various purposes in a construction project. Using a dowel made of the same wood as the other pieces in a project can create an invisible binder once the pieces are assembled. To install a dowel properly, a hole is drilled slightly smaller than the dowel’s circumference. If a wooden dowel is used, it is cut to a length that allows it to sit flush with the assembled pieces. Dowels are typically glued in place and sanded flush with the surface they are set into.