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Forum topic by weathersfuori posted 05-15-2017 05:02 PM 699 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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weathersfuori

85 posts in 964 days


05-15-2017 05:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joinery stools chairs pocket holes

I may regret asking this question… but I’m here to learn. I’m building some basic, rustic bar stools and am stressing over how to join the pieces together. The plans call for pocket hole screws and glue for all joints, but I know this is far from traditional for chairs and most stools. I’ve never done mortise and tenon joinery and so I am not really set up to do it in my shop, and can’t justify spending a bunch of money on new tools/machinery for this project.

What is your opinion on the pocket screw and glue route? As a relative newbie, this is the primary joinery I’ve used to date and while it seems plenty strong, I don’t want to be 35” in the air and have the thing fall apart below me. Again though, this only needs to be structurally sound… not trying to win any awards for fancy joinery and don’t care that you’ll be able to see the pocket holes because this is going to be a bit of a rustic, farmhouse look.

Are there any options for jigs/tools to make mortises (and tenons, though I can do these on my table saw at least) on a budget? Maybe the Rockler Beadlock system? Drill press to get a mortise started and then hand chisel? Any advice appreciated. The stool will look similar to this one...

-- Weathersfuori, Texas, www.facebook.com/f5creations


11 replies so far

View MrFid's profile

MrFid

862 posts in 1739 days


#1 posted 05-15-2017 05:09 PM

To me it feels like if you do that then you’re putting the chairs on a clock. With bar stools especially they can get loosened fast with people climbing up on them, adjusting their weight, hopping down off them over and over. I bought cheap bar stools for my kitchen when we moved in that were solid wood but screwed (or in some cases dominoed) together, and I’ve been fighting them since. Every few months I tighten up all the screws and bolts, but they work their way loose. My project for the summer is gonna be a new set I think.

If you do choose to go the pocketscrew route I’d make sure that you consider the stresses that will be placed on each joint, both under weight and as a shearing force when people shift around, or jump off or on. You may save yourself a headache with a little forethought. Good luck!!

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

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TheFridge

8287 posts in 1320 days


#2 posted 05-15-2017 05:19 PM

I’d vote M&T. Drill out waste on press and finish with chisel. You could even peg the tenons.

I think there is a time and place for pockets screws and I don’t believe this is either.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View sras's profile

sras

4661 posts in 2964 days


#3 posted 05-15-2017 06:02 PM



Drill press to get a mortise started and then hand chisel?

- weathersfuori

Yes

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View them700project's profile

them700project

115 posts in 853 days


#4 posted 05-15-2017 06:21 PM

View them700project's profile

them700project

115 posts in 853 days


#5 posted 05-15-2017 06:23 PM

nm i didnt see image

doweling and glue would be my guess

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8026 posts in 2411 days


#6 posted 05-15-2017 06:43 PM

Here’s some nice joinery for Bar Stools:

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/318385#first-new

Hand tools are all you need plus it will build up your skills and confidence.

Mortice and Tenon, or through M&T with splines will work great.

View weathersfuori's profile

weathersfuori

85 posts in 964 days


#7 posted 05-16-2017 01:43 AM

Thanks everyone- I just ordered a set of chisels to get me started and I’m going to give the drill method a try. Hoping the brad point bits I have will do the trick for now as I don’t own any forstners yet!

-- Weathersfuori, Texas, www.facebook.com/f5creations

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

8287 posts in 1320 days


#8 posted 05-16-2017 02:13 AM

Worst case the ryobi forstners at Home Depot aren’t too bad.

I have a little cube of ebony I used as a guide to keep the sides true. Or close enough. It’s a pain on the short side but I trim that side of the mortise when test fitting.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1273 posts in 754 days


#9 posted 05-16-2017 02:17 AM

weathersfuori,

As already mentioned, I would be concerned that pocket screws, even in conjunction with glue, could result in a joint that weakens over time. The glue joint where the legs will meet the rails would be an end-grain glue joint which is not very strong; screws would do most of the work. If you elect to assemble the stools with screws, driving the screws through the leg and into the rails could be faster and easier and maybe stronger, since some long screws could be used.

An alternative joint to the mortise and tenon joint would be a lap joint. But in making this joint, ensuring that the dado in the legs is not too deep would leave enough material in the leg to support weight. Since the dado is filled with a rabbeted rail, any strength lost due to material removed to from the dado should be at least partially recovered when a snug fitting rabbeted workpiece is glued into the dado. The lap joint could be reinforced with a dowel. Angling the dowel slightly could make the joint a bit more resistant to coming apart.

My preference for the joinery on a chair or stool is mortise and tenon. Cutting the mortise is perhaps the most challenging milling with this joint. The router and properly sized straight bit and a well-thought out mortising jig could give consistent and accurate joints relatively quickly and economically. Here are a couple of YouTube videos that illustrate versions of the router mortising jig. I am sure a YouTube search for router mortising jigs would bring forth more videos.

Mortising router jig using the router fence…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKZJyBuqYIs

Mortising router jigs using guide bushings…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TyLVBmrAVA

Rockler’s Beadrock system would work but would require precise setup to get a pair of perfectly aligned mortises in a leg pair. Since I have not seen this jig, I am not sure how easy or difficult it may be to obtain accurately positioned mortises. The loose tenons that mate with the mortises would be required. Thus I doubt that this option is as economical as it may appear since either the Beadlock router bit or Beadlock loose tenons would have be purchased; but I suspect it would do the job, well.

The most economical method for cutting mortises is with the drill press and a chisel. However careful set up is needed to get corresponding mortises in proper position in the workpieces. Obtaining mortises that are all the same size, which would make cutting tenons easier, could be difficult and would require some careful chisel work.

I try to generally adhere to a standard where the two walls of the mortise and the thickness of the tenon each are no less than 1/3 the total thickness of the material, especially if the mortise is in ¾” thick stock. Also, since wood glue is a poor gap filler, cutting the tenon to fit the mortise snuggly produces the best results. Snug to me means the tenon slips into the mortise by hand and the un-glued tenoned workpiece remains in place when handled. This snug fit means the wood glue has little, if any, gaps to span.

View Loren's profile

Loren

9610 posts in 3482 days


#10 posted 05-16-2017 03:11 AM

I recommend mortise and tenon for most
chair applications. The Miller Dowel system
may be worth looking at in addition to the
Beadlock.

I’ll note that when drilling out the waste
in mortises care should be taken to chisel
the sides of the mortise carefully so they
are parallel. It’s easy to get carried away
with the chisel. A “drift” can be made,
just a stick of wood the the width of the
mortise to use as a gauge for the right
width.

View weathersfuori's profile

weathersfuori

85 posts in 964 days


#11 posted 05-16-2017 07:27 PM



weathersfuori,

As already mentioned, I would be concerned that pocket screws, even in conjunction with glue, could result in a joint that weakens over time. The glue joint where the legs will meet the rails would be an end-grain glue joint which is not very strong; screws would do most of the work. If you elect to assemble the stools with screws, driving the screws through the leg and into the rails could be faster and easier and maybe stronger, since some long screws could be used.

An alternative joint to the mortise and tenon joint would be a lap joint. But in making this joint, ensuring that the dado in the legs is not too deep would leave enough material in the leg to support weight. Since the dado is filled with a rabbeted rail, any strength lost due to material removed to from the dado should be at least partially recovered when a snug fitting rabbeted workpiece is glued into the dado. The lap joint could be reinforced with a dowel. Angling the dowel slightly could make the joint a bit more resistant to coming apart.

My preference for the joinery on a chair or stool is mortise and tenon. Cutting the mortise is perhaps the most challenging milling with this joint. The router and properly sized straight bit and a well-thought out mortising jig could give consistent and accurate joints relatively quickly and economically. Here are a couple of YouTube videos that illustrate versions of the router mortising jig. I am sure a YouTube search for router mortising jigs would bring forth more videos.

Mortising router jig using the router fence…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKZJyBuqYIs

Mortising router jigs using guide bushings…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TyLVBmrAVA

Rockler’s Beadrock system would work but would require precise setup to get a pair of perfectly aligned mortises in a leg pair. Since I have not seen this jig, I am not sure how easy or difficult it may be to obtain accurately positioned mortises. The loose tenons that mate with the mortises would be required. Thus I doubt that this option is as economical as it may appear since either the Beadlock router bit or Beadlock loose tenons would have be purchased; but I suspect it would do the job, well.

The most economical method for cutting mortises is with the drill press and a chisel. However careful set up is needed to get corresponding mortises in proper position in the workpieces. Obtaining mortises that are all the same size, which would make cutting tenons easier, could be difficult and would require some careful chisel work.

I try to generally adhere to a standard where the two walls of the mortise and the thickness of the tenon each are no less than 1/3 the total thickness of the material, especially if the mortise is in ¾” thick stock. Also, since wood glue is a poor gap filler, cutting the tenon to fit the mortise snuggly produces the best results. Snug to me means the tenon slips into the mortise by hand and the un-glued tenoned workpiece remains in place when handled. This snug fit means the wood glue has little, if any, gaps to span.

- JBrow

Thank you for going into so much detail! This is very helpful- great analysis of all the options and the strengths and weaknesses of each, literally. I had thought about lap joints as they would certainly be easiest with the tools I have at my disposal, but I am all in on the M&T using the drill press and a chisel. I’ve seen many of the jigs that you mention, but I feel like with my experience level there are too many ways for me to mess them up. With the chisel I feel like I’ll have a little more control of the result. Thanks again- huge help.


I recommend mortise and tenon for most
chair applications. The Miller Dowel system
may be worth looking at in addition to the
Beadlock.

I ll note that when drilling out the waste
in mortises care should be taken to chisel
the sides of the mortise carefully so they
are parallel. It s easy to get carried away
with the chisel. A “drift” can be made,
just a stick of wood the the width of the
mortise to use as a gauge for the right
width.

- Loren

This is also tremendously helpful- the drift sounds like a great time saver as it will help test the mortise quickly.


Worst case the ryobi forstners at Home Depot aren t too bad.

I have a little cube of ebony I used as a guide to keep the sides true. Or close enough. It s a pain on the short side but I trim that side of the mortise when test fitting.

- TheFridge

Like the idea of the ebony as a guide! I’ll have to come up with something similar- sounds really helpful.

-- Weathersfuori, Texas, www.facebook.com/f5creations

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