Skip to Main Content

Which Wood Species Should You Use for Your Next DIY Dowel Project?

 Back To BLOG

Which Wood Species Should You Use for Your Next DIY Dowel Project?

Oct 23, 2023
Picture of trees

When it comes to woodworking, the devil is in the details. One of the most essential components of many projects are dowels. Whether you're working on a piece of furniture, a craft project, or any other wooden structure, selecting the right wood species for your dowel is pivotal for both aesthetics and functionality. At Midwest Dowel Works, we're passionate about offering our customers the best advice, and that's why we've put together this guide to help you understand the attributes to consider when choosing the right species for your dowel project. 

In this post, we will discuss the connection between wood species and dowels to help you select the perfect dowel for your DIY project every time. 

Photo of stacks wood logs

How Does Wood Species Affect a Dowel? 

The choice of wood species has a significant impact on the overall performance and appearance of dowels. When doing home DIY projects, you will not always need the same wood dowels that, for example, a professional would need while constructing an armchair. 

Looking for a fun craft idea? Check out this guide for making mini-American flags using dowels! 

Different types of wood offer varying degrees of strength, durability, and aesthetic qualities, making it essential to select the right wood species for each project.  

Strength and Durability: 

Different wood species have varying levels of strength. For projects that require strong support, like shelving or heavy furniture, hardwoods such as oak, maple, or ash are ideal. These woods are dense and can handle a lot of weight and stress.  You can also reference the Janka Hardness Scale for more precise data on species hardness comparison. 


Your project's final look can be significantly influenced by the wood species you choose. For a rich, dark finish, woods like walnut or mahogany are top picks. If you're after a lighter shade, pine, birch, or poplar can be excellent choices. Always consider the grain pattern too, as this can add to the overall appeal. The grain and texture can influence both the appearance and workability of the dowel. For fine and even grains, consider cherry or maple. For a more pronounced and open grain, oak might be the best choice. 

Workability: Not all woods are created equal when it comes to working with them. Softer woods like pine and poplar are easy to cut, carve, and shape, making them suitable for beginners or for intricate designs. Harder woods such as hickory and oak, on the other hand, can be more challenging but yield refined results. 

Cost: Your budget can also determine the wood species you select. While exotic woods like teak or mahogany may offer unique textures and colors, they tend to be more expensive. Imported woods such as birch, are often more affordable and still provide excellent quality. If you are looking for a cost-effective USA-made species, poplar would be the ideal option. 

Durability & Resistance: Woods react to changes in humidity and temperature by expanding or contracting. Poplar, for example, will expand and contract far more than a harder species such as oak. Some woods even naturally resist decay, pests, or moisture damage. Cedar and mahogany are known for their natural resistance to decay, making them suitable for projects exposed to moisture. White oak is also great for outdoor applications. 

Finishing Properties: Think about how you'll finish your project. Some woods, like cherry, darken with age and may not require staining. Others, like pine, might absorb stains unevenly due to softness, so you'll need to apply a wood conditioner beforehand. Always test a small patch before committing. 

Dowels Shipped to Your Doorstep with Midwest Dowel 

Your choice of wood species can make or break your dowel project. By considering the attributes above, you'll be well on your way to selecting the perfect fit for your needs. Remember, it's not just about looks—functionality, workability, and durability are all crucial. Whatever you choose, Midwest Dowel Works is here to provide you with high-quality dowels for a seamless woodworking experience.  

Midwest Dowel gives you an expansive array of wood dowels to make the process easy for you. Our dowels come in dozens of different lengths, diameters, and species so you always get the perfect choice for your project. And we ship all of our products directly to your doorstep to make the process convenient for you. Happy crafting! 

Click here to shop online with Midwest Dowel today! 

And don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for more woodworking tips and inspiration. 

If you've shopped with Midwest Dowel, we'd love to hear your thoughts on our products – leave us a Google review today! 

loading gif