Joining Post Segments

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Forum topic by Demiskus posted 04-21-2016 02:46 PM 527 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 183 days

04-21-2016 02:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: post joining dowels


I am new to these forums and fairly new to woodworking in general, but I love it so far. I was wanting to replace my old house sign post with something that has my own craftsmanship in it. I would like to turn the vertical 4×4 post into a simple design. Picture is (hopefully) attached.

The problem:
The lathe I have is limited to an 18” bed. If I wanted to turn parts of the vertical post I would have to do so in 17-18” segments. I was thinking to join them together in parts of the turned post and they would conceal quite nice. I was planning to join the two pieces with 5 large dowels. My concern, is this strong enough to support what would be a moderately heavy and slightly off balanced post? The side with the plaque would naturally be heavier unless the shorter stub on the opposite side was heavily weighted somehow.

Perhaps somebody out there has experimented with this idea before and could share any further insight to whether this method would or would not work.

Best regards,

11 replies so far

View mako1's profile


20 posts in 212 days

#1 posted 04-21-2016 04:04 PM

I would join the parts with a half lap anywhere there is a square section of post if you can make this work out.May have to change your design a bit.

View Demiskus's profile


5 posts in 183 days

#2 posted 04-21-2016 05:25 PM

Thank you for the reply Mako. I should mention the drawing is just rough and not really to scale. The design is flexible too. I did intend on doing a half lap with dowels for the cross section. Do you believe the dowels alone would not be strong enough in the vertical section? I am not opposed to the half laps in the vertical, but they would probably be much more easily visible.

View Hammerthumb's profile


2511 posts in 1392 days

#3 posted 04-21-2016 07:39 PM

In your sketch, it looks like your going to join 2 parts with 5 dowels. I would turn a large tenon on one end and drill a corresponding hole in the next section.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View josephf's profile


124 posts in 1514 days

#4 posted 04-21-2016 07:50 PM

i think those dowel joints would be fine .use tight bond 111 on all surfaces . use a hardwood . like a broom handle ,1” or so .go deep 5” .heck you could use a steel for a dowel or some other material .
you have your center point so that is easy .

View Kelly's profile


1039 posts in 2361 days

#5 posted 04-21-2016 08:07 PM

I’m with hammerthumb. I just did a nearly five foot tall walking stick on my Jet mini lathe with only fourteen inches between centers. With tight mortise and tenons, it’s a solid unit and I trust those joints far more than I would dowels.

If I did have to go the dowel route, it would be a single, large dowel taking up all but a half inch or so of the diameter of the two pieces.

Keep in mind the strength of end grain joints. There isn’t much, so those little dowels would be all that is holding the weight, including the cantilevered part, together.

View Demiskus's profile


5 posts in 183 days

#6 posted 04-21-2016 08:16 PM

The replies have got me thinking about the other ways this could be done. Thank you! I’m now wondering if sinking four pieces of rebar (as the dowels) into each joint a few inches deep would be the easiest and strongest way. The vertical post would be in four sections joined by 3 joints, sorry for the less than clear layout in the sketch.

I only hesitate on the mortise and tenon because it would require quite a large mortise due to material being a 4×4 and I don’t have tooling currently to hollow out such a hole without a lot of work.

View josephf's profile


124 posts in 1514 days

#7 posted 04-21-2016 11:24 PM

rebar is a bit funky to work with . besides it is a soft metal .it would work if it is tight at the joint .i guess your thinking of using epoxy . pipe might be better .

View MrRon's profile


3891 posts in 2661 days

#8 posted 04-22-2016 05:37 PM

I would use a M&T joint as shown in the sketch. Turn the pieces and put a M&T joint on the connecting ends as shown in the sketch. Use an epoxy to join the ends.

Another way would be to drill a 1/2” or larger hole about 4” deep in each end and insert a steel rod, the size of the drilled hole and secure with epoxy. Steel rods are available at the big box stores. You could also use a long bolt and cut the head off.

View Demiskus's profile


5 posts in 183 days

#9 posted 04-22-2016 06:07 PM

Thank you again for all of the wonderful input and ideas. I decided to open the wallet a bit and invest in some hole saws like I should have years ago. I’ll have a much nicer time hollowing out a mortise that way. I was figuring a 2.25” dia mortise which would leave at least .5” wall thickness in the 4×4 and going 1.5-2” deep.

View sepeck's profile


314 posts in 1558 days

#10 posted 04-22-2016 06:08 PM

You can also do a search (and image search)on mailbox post plans. Wide variety of mailboxes setup pretty close to your sketch. Just steal the joinery. Plenty of examples.

-- -Steven Peck,

View Demiskus's profile


5 posts in 183 days

#11 posted 05-07-2016 09:03 PM

Again, thank you for all the advise and guidance. I thought I would share the finished product with you all.

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