Lou, I had been making cakes for 25 years when I found CC and had never used the center dowel before because I never delivered a cake already assembled. But one day I was forced to pre-assemble the cake and with fear and trepidation, I knew I had to center dowel it. I had read all of the threads on center doweling but was still very skeptical.
but let me tell ya ... it works!!!! Just like everyone says it does!!
yes, you put cardboard between each tier just like you normally would. No, you don't have to pre-cut a hole in the cardboards. cut a dowel to length (Mine were 2" shorter than the height of the cake); sharpen the end to a sharp point. Many use a big pencil sharpener, but being a home grown country girl, I grabbed a knife and just whittled mine to a point!
Center it over the top of your cake, take a hammer and hammer the dowel thru the cake.
I kept my eyes open and EVERYTHING!!
The dowel will go right thru those cardboards. No, they won't buckle and tumble the cake (like I thought they might). Easy peasy puddin' pie!!!!
If I can do it .... anyone can!