Gulu A dowel is a solid cylindrical rod, usually made of wood, plastic, or metal. In its original manufactured form, a dowel is called a dowel rod. Dowel rods are often cut into short lengths called dowel pins. Dowels are employed in numerous, diverse applications including as axles in toys, detents (e.g., in gymnastics grips), structural reinforcements in cabinet making, and supports for tiered wedding cakes. Other uses include: furniture shelf supports, moveable game pieces (i.e., pegs), supports for hanging items such as clothing, key rings, tools, toilet roll dispensers and picture frames, as a core to wrap cable or textiles around.