Fashion is everywhere

Chez Larsson

Dowel and Tenon Step by Step

011 (3) 

Wille's desk before

During the weekend we got a good head start on building Wille's desk. In fact it's almost finished, just some painting to do and to fit a drawer.

Because I've had quite a few questions on how to do it and as I don't think I've done a great job explaining in words I took step by step photos on how we join the MDF pieces using dowels and tenons (as I've recently learned they are called the little wood plugs and tools).

Prepare yourselves for some beige photos.


We used double thickness of MDF for parts of the desk which is why you see very chunky pieces. Here we have marked the bottom piece with x's where we want to join the other part. And yes Martin is wearing shorts in the freezing garage. I'm wearing fleece and socks…


Taping the drill bit is a good way to ensure you don't drill too deep. You want to drill to a bit more than half the length of the dowel in each piece


Drilling the x's…


Once you have drilled your holes you insert the tenons into them.


Here four holes have their four tenons.


Now you take the piece you want to join with the piece you added the tenons to and place it on top of the tenons.


At this point you  want to make sure everything is exactly where you want it to be. Then you press the top against the bottom… 


…and you end up with itty bitty holes in the top part.


You then drill bigger holes where the itty bitty ones are. 


Now it's time to stick the dowels into the holes in the bottom part. At this point you would normally add wood glue, but because we only test assembled we waited to add the glue to when we had all the pieces up in Wille's room.


Here you get the idea. The dowels that are inserted into the bottom holes now have exact corresponding holes in the other piece.


Assemble and tadaaaa!


  • Thessa says:

    Explained in such clear and detailed way, I’m starting to believe I could make some piece of furniture as those tenons really solved an old mystery to me. 🙂
    Thanks, Benita.

  • Noelia says:

    Oh no! Where is the finished piece? I can´t wait to see it! I really can´t! Patience is not one of my virtues..
    Thanks for your explanations…as Thessa said: I’m also starting to believe I could make some piece of furniture!!!

  • Denise Leavens says:

    This is an EXCELLENT demonstration of how to do this. I, too, was mystified as to how to do this.
    Thank you so very much.
    Such good things I get out of your lovely blog.

  • Angie says:

    WOW. I always wondered about these little things on desks and how I could do something like that. I want to design some inexpensive furniture for my place since everything is just SOOOO expensive nowadays and here in Mexico we don’t have the privilege of an Ikea (snif).
    Thank you for this tutorial. Your blog is awesome.

  • Sara says:

    You are so clever Benita! You’ve inspired me to have a go at making some built in storage in my tiny house. Thank you for your fantastic blog 🙂

  • Lindzi says:

    Wow! Det här ska bli spänannde att se! En nyfiken fråga: Hur varmt har ni hemma egentligen?! 😉 Ni går ju i shorts! Är det billigt att “elda” med fjärrvärme eller?

  • Lindzi, det är sviiiiiiiinkallt i garaget. Martin är extremt varmblodig och går i shorts året om hemma medans jag går i Ulle tofflor, sockar, fleecebyxor och fleece tröja och fryser ändå. Och den där fjärrvärmen blev det inget med 🙁 Det fick inte ihop 50% av hushållen i området så vi kör vidare med elpannan. Suck…

  • Lena says:

    Okej, nästa år får vi, i tv 4+, se ett program som heter Chez Larsson! Timell och grabbarna sitter i hemliga möten och förhandlar om förnyade avtal, men de känner sig oerhört utsatta – tänk om tv4 inser att gräsrötterna anfaller!
    Yo’re so good, not to say excellent!

  • Jenny says:

    Jag är helt tagen av din kreativitet! Har följt bloggen i ca ett halv år nu och det är faktiskt den enda!
    Ni ska inte sälja Willes skrivbord? Isf har ni en köpare!
    Mvh, Jenny

  • Lena, du är för rolig 🙂

  • Franziska says:

    It’s very exciting. I’d also like to see the finished piece. The description is excellent.