Dowelmax Video Response to Woodworking Magazine Joinery Strength Testing

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Forum topic by Dowelmax posted 11-27-2009 07:56 PM 4652 views 2 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 3132 days

11-27-2009 07:56 PM

Our latest joinery strength test in a series of three is available at the following link:

The video is a response to an invalid joinery strength test published in a prominent woodworking magazine. This was our third series of tests, and the results were consistent with the first two.

-Mike, Dowelmax.

29 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#1 posted 11-27-2009 08:14 PM

Hey Mike
This is an interesting test an seems to prove dowels can be as strong as M&T joinery. I’m surprised because of
my thoughts has always been that dowel joinery was weaker. The one problem I see is that 4” dowels are not available on the the retail market that I’m aware of.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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3584 posts in 3393 days

#2 posted 11-27-2009 08:18 PM

Nice demo Mike, I saw that test in the mag and stopped reading it when I saw the way they were doing it.

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Bob #2

3809 posts in 4046 days

#3 posted 11-27-2009 08:42 PM

I’d be curious to know who wrote the magazine article?

Would it be bad protocols by the testers or advertising bias?

I think woodworkers have a right to know that.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3487 days

#4 posted 11-27-2009 09:11 PM

I am curious, did the tenons and dowels break or did the glue joints fail as it appears?

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View WhittleMeThis's profile


125 posts in 3397 days

#5 posted 11-27-2009 09:33 PM

Certainly makes a reasonable argument for dowel joints. Would like to see a rebuttal from FWM.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18286 posts in 3700 days

#6 posted 11-27-2009 11:04 PM

Looks like dowel joints should hold the fat lady until she is ready to sing :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4243 days

#7 posted 11-27-2009 11:16 PM

I’ve always believed that dowel joints were plenty strong enough for furniture. Thanks for confirming.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3311 days

#8 posted 11-28-2009 12:39 AM

I’ve always had good luck with dowels. I take the magazine, and also watched on the web site. I had a problem then with the whole test and disagreed with some of the results based on my personal experience.
One issue I had was the type stress they put on the joints—come on, are furniture joints ever sterssed that way. The artical gave an unjustified bad name to certain joints and glorified others while not really comparing apples to apples.

Interesting test you just showed.

Thanks for sharing.


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18286 posts in 3700 days

#9 posted 11-28-2009 12:50 AM

What mag was the report in?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3313 days

#10 posted 11-28-2009 12:59 AM

i figure hey they all hold alot of weight so lets get back to furniture making and use what we think looks good on the piece were making.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

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56 posts in 3716 days

#11 posted 11-28-2009 01:12 AM

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10874 posts in 3582 days

#12 posted 11-28-2009 01:28 AM

Wow. Very interesting video. That is fantastic proof that dowels work as good as or better than M&T.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

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Bob #2

3809 posts in 4046 days

#13 posted 11-28-2009 01:54 AM

Ken (Medicken) and I have been discussing this video a bit this afternoon and with Kens’ help I was able to get a glimpse of how the joints were tested in the articles we reviewed.
I found that there seems no consistancy with how the joints are set up in the instrument to test them.
They seem to be of random lengths and set randomly in the measuring device.

( I stand to be corrected here but those are my impressions.)

Without some standard measure as demonstrated by Mike, at Dowelmax it is impossible to draw any conclusions from the stress tests I reviewed.

I am putting my money on Dowemax right now as they beat conventional M&T by a wide margin.



-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3408 days

#14 posted 11-28-2009 02:15 AM

There was no “winner” in this test IMHO. Two tenons were shown, with the higher one failing at 1010lbs. You only showed one dowel joint, which failed at 1020, barely any difference. Who’s to say if you tested another, it wouldn’t failed at 950lbs bringing the average strength lower than the M&T joint? Considering the test was conducted with someone who directly benefits from perceived better dowel performance, I don’t think I’m wrong to be skeptical. I’m just wondering why there wasn’t a second dowel joint test done is all, or if it was done, why wasn’t it shown? Having said all that, I don’t believe you intentionally misled by any means, and I’m impressed that the dowel joint did so well. I think it shows that either will do well on furniture and should hold up for years to come so it makes it a personal preference. You could say the dowel joint would be cheaper if you use expensive exotic woods and the dowels are cheaper than the length of wood needed to make the tenon.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#15 posted 11-28-2009 02:16 AM

I think there are lots of ways to test a joint and lots of ways to make joints. My bad opinion of dowels comes from most of the repairs I’ve made in chairs and tables are results of broken dowels. Does this mean a dowel joint are bad? No but like all joints it has to do with how many dowels your using,how deep they are, what kind of wood there in, what kind of glue is used. I still think many joints are better than dowels. Most of us get use to doing things a certain way and stick with it, and consequently feel it’s the best way to go. I did notice there were a lot of dowels in the joint in the test . I wonder of those who use dowels would use that many and that long of dowels ?

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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