My plan was to drill the holes through one side of the wood, not completely through, and then to use wood plugs to cover the holes.
I could have done this with a regular drill, but when you do that free hand the drill has a tendency to wander, making the holes not very snug. You can see on this illustration how I planned to make the holes for the dowels used. Two rows used in the main pieces, an additional row that will go through the wedge. This third row of dowels will really help make this a strong joint, since they stabilize the wedge, and go through both pieces against it.
So what I did was set up a support system on the drill press. This took a while to adjust, cut, and get everything just right. The chair now rests against a piece of MDF which holds it at a 90 degree angle to the drill press.
Here you can see how the ½ bit is drilling holes over the wood screw holes used during gluing. Nice and neat!
Drilling is complete, and I know what you’re thinking; “that looks terrible”. Yes, at the moment it looks like the joints are made using swiss cheese, but not for long.
Now it's on to make the plugs to cover the dowel holes. I will use wood from the same area of the main pieces so the color and grain will look similar. I purchased a tapered wood plug cutter. This is used with my drill press to drill the plugs. It’s tapered, so that as I tap the plug in place it will fit nice and snug.
Ready to go!
I let the glue used on the dowels dry overnight, and now it’s time to glue in the plugs.
A little glue, a couple of taps with the hammer, and then wipe each area with a wet rag to get the excess glue off.
Next step is to use my random orbital sander to sand the plugs smooth. Now it’s starting to look really good!
Here’s how the plugs look.
When I stain the wood, these areas will blend in well.