Baseboard dowels

Before track laying (or even planning) can begin, I need to ensure that there is a way to accurately and reliably align the baseboards every time the layout is assembled. To do this, I will be using these baseboard alignment dowels from DCC Concepts. A pack of these consists of 2 male-female pairs of aluminium dowels and a pair of flat wood bits for drilling the holes into which the dowels are inserted.

Close-up of board 1, showing the male dowels after fitting.

Installation of the dowels is simple:

  1. Clamp the two boards together, making sure that the top surface is absolutely flush!
  2. Drill a pilot hole through both the end-pieces.
  3. Use the provided 19mm bit to drill the larger part of the hole. This only need to be about 3mm deep, just enough to allow the flange on the dowel to sit flush with the surface of the wood.
  4. Use the provided 13mm bit to drill all the way through the same hole.
  5. Line the inside of the hole with wood glue.
  6. Insert the dowel in the hole. If it is a tight fit, tap it very lightly with a small block of wood.
The female end. Both male and female dowels are installed in exactly the same way.

I’m very happy with these dowels – they bring the boards together perfectly every time. In fact they are so finely machined that when the boards are put together, I can hear the air being pushed out of the joint!

One thing to bear in mind with them is that they are not load-bearing: that will need to be handled by whatever joining mechanism I choose to use to keep the boards together.