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Dowels vs screws

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Forum topic by TinWhiskers posted 12-22-2015 12:53 AM 1838 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TinWhiskers

179 posts in 414 days


12-22-2015 12:53 AM

Would love to make an Adironcack chair with dowels instead of screws. Maybe 3 bolts would be used. Would this stay together?


24 replies so far

View MadMark's profile

MadMark

977 posts in 914 days


#1 posted 12-22-2015 01:03 AM

All depends on how you make it. If it was designed for gluing, no problem, but if the design is bad, forget it. Remember the wood will only do what wood will do.

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

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builtinbkyn

651 posts in 402 days


#2 posted 12-22-2015 01:24 AM

I’d like to hear what others think, but gluing could cause a problem. Being exposed to the elements, there will be a lot of movement seasonally and even day to day. The dowels are a rigid connection and really don’t allow for movement. They could also swell and crack the joint. Screws allow for some movement.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

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TinWhiskers

179 posts in 414 days


#3 posted 12-22-2015 01:28 AM

I’ve made about 10 of them. Never used dowels on anything. Seems like a good thing to learn. Not sure what you mean by ‘designed for gluing.’

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MadMark

977 posts in 914 days


#4 posted 12-22-2015 03:49 AM

Designed for gluing is a design where no fasteners are needed because of the joinery. The loads are perpendicular to glue planes instead of parallel, compression loads instead of tension loads, etc

Screws get out of hand. They have their places, but to me, the fewer metal fasteners the better.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

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TinWhiskers

179 posts in 414 days


#5 posted 12-22-2015 05:29 AM

ahhhhh…I think I see. Might try one with less screws. Maybe an experimental for indoors. Thx for the input.

Kim

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

528 posts in 903 days


#6 posted 12-22-2015 08:34 AM

I think you’ll be fine replacing screws with dowels—-as long as the dowels are made of a rot-resistant wood. I’ve repaired lots of outdoor furniture that was doweled together—with—I think—maple dowels, that rotted away long before the rest of the piece. Your dimensions are small enough (narrow pieces) that wood movement should not be an issue.

Are you familiar with Miller dowels? They are basically a direct replacement for screws. Miller Dowel

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1770 days


#7 posted 12-22-2015 11:42 AM



I ve made about 10 of them. Never used dowels on anything. Seems like a good thing to learn. Not sure what you mean by designed for gluing.

- TinWhiskers

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Sandra's profile

Sandra

6981 posts in 1536 days


#8 posted 12-22-2015 12:17 PM

Interested in the responses here. I’ve made 4 Adirondack chairs and I’m not a fan of how the screws look holding the back slats onto the upper support. The ones I made however were all painted bright colours, so the fasteners aren’t as noticeable.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2324 posts in 1758 days


#9 posted 12-22-2015 01:09 PM

Why not just countersink the screw holes and use a plug cutter to cap them off?

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TinWhiskers

179 posts in 414 days


#10 posted 12-22-2015 01:41 PM


If it ain t broke don t fix it.

- AlaskaGuy

I’ve seen chairs for sale with exposed screws. Instant turn off. Screws with caps a clear winner while not adding expense to building. Invisible fasteners one more step above. It aint brokoe, just better.


Interested in the responses here. I ve made 4 Adirondack chairs and I m not a fan of how the screws look holding the back slats onto the upper support. The ones I made however were all painted bright colours, so the fasteners aren t as noticeable.

- Sandra

Pardon my poor choice of pic to use. Normally when drilling I’ll make a straight line for the 2 dozen screws for the slats. I had a dumb ass day. Those and the seat slat screws I would like to hide. I use 3 shoulder bolts to attach the frame to the rocker base. Those will stay.


Why not just countersink the screw holes and use a plug cutter to cap them off?

- dhazelton

Please scroll to the pic. Just trying for better.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2190 posts in 942 days


#11 posted 12-22-2015 11:34 PM

Perhaps do the plugs a little smaller and try to match wood better?

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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TinWhiskers

179 posts in 414 days


#12 posted 12-22-2015 11:58 PM



Perhaps do the plugs a little smaller and try to match wood better?

- rwe2156

Thx. That chair is a 50% size chair. Would fit a 2 yr old well. Thus the plugs look big. I will try to see how small I can go. Plus line up the grain better. Still going to experiment with dowels. And the Miller dowels I have not heard of. Those deserve a look at.

Kim

View Fettler's profile

Fettler

200 posts in 1458 days


#13 posted 12-25-2015 07:46 AM

It’s all a matter of wood movement. The book understanding wood has a lot of information on the subject.

If you bind two piece of wood at 90 degree angles then you should only have to worry about the strength of the joint. If wood is bound parallel or less than 45 degrees it can get tricky. Screws or nails allow for more movement then glued joints.

For the back slats and chair bottom, one dowel centered would probably work. I’d cut my own dowels (you can make a dowel cutter from a hand plane iron) from the same species. For the legs I think lag bolts are still the best route.

-- --Rob, Seattle, WA

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TinWhiskers

179 posts in 414 days


#14 posted 12-25-2015 12:54 PM

Have ordered the book . Thx for the tip.

I tried a chair with one screw in each back slat. Too much side movement in the back. Need two screws. Lag bolts for sure on the legs. Or shoulder bolts with a nut on the other end.

Never gave it a thought about making my own dowels. Huge thx for steering me that way.

Kim

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TinWhiskers

179 posts in 414 days


#15 posted 01-16-2016 03:26 AM

Got the book. Need to read it.

Did do the chair. Came out well. Feels sturdy. No screws but for 2 shoulder bolts on each side as seen in the pic. Will be my shop chair till spring for testing.

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