Reviewed by Raf Nathan
I often use dowels to join small items together and sometimes leave the heads exposed as an added detail. Obviously then I was keen to sample these Japanese sourced wooden ‘nail’ and drill bit sets. I trialled the 4.7mm diameter and the larger 6mm diameter nails. The beech nails, more correctly termed dowels, have a taper to them that matches corresponding drill bits which are separately supplied.
The process of using them is straightforward. Hold the two workpieces together, mark the position of the nail, drill the hole, tap in the nail, saw it flush, and you are then finished.
I found the fast action of the drill bits was quite aggressive and tended to twist the matching pieces of wood apart. Using a rebate or housing held the wood in place and helped to counteract the twisting action. Drilling at a slow speed also helped, as did clearing the swarf regularly whilst drilling. Clamping parts in place also worked well.
At around 85 cents each the large dowels may not suit volume users. However they are great for door and window joinery and exposed framing. For repair work they would be a boon. Loose wood framing, chairs and table joints can be re-doweled without pulling things apart. Once glued in they offer a strong hold.
The small nails work out to around 25 cents each, so even using 20 or 40 is inexpensive and effective. For me the small size nails are perfect for jobs like fixing shelves in cabinet sides, pinning tenons or for corner work like mitres and butt joints.
The beech nails are fairly neutral in colour and blend easily with ash or pine, or they can contrast well with different coloured woods.
Available from www.japanesetools.com.au or phone 0412 011 160.