Where in the world do you get those extra long dowels that you use to put thru the entire cake? Do I need to get that at a hardware store?
Yes, or craft stores.
How tall is your cake?
A 3 tier cake should be about 12" tall (three tiers at 4" each). the dowels that wilton sells in a bag are 12" tall. Since a center dowel doesnt' have to come to the very top fo the cake, a 12" tall cake only needs a dowel about 10" long, giving you enough space to whittle or sharpen the dowel to a point.
Anything over 3 tiers would definitely need a longer dowel, if you're transporting an assembled 4 tier (or bigger) cake.
Do you need a dowel if a 2 tier is being assembled and disassembled in the same place, and not being transported while stacked at all?
I dont' dowel unless I'm traveling with an assembled cake. The purpose of the center dowel is to keep the cake from moving during transport. Once the cake is assembled, in place, it's not going to be moved, so I dont' use one.
Awesome. Thank you.