LumberJocks

Alternatives to butterfly joints?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Joinery forum

Forum topic by bassman2 posted 12-20-2017 04:00 PM 1132 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bassman2's profile

bassman2

11 posts in 371 days


12-20-2017 04:00 PM

I’m getting ready to deal with the cracks in several large white oak slabs. The slabs are going to be benches in a larger Master closet… with shelving and hanging areas above the slabs. The designs of the closet uses big steel brackets and steel pipe for hanging items.

Has anyone used other materials – like steel, or aluminum used in a butterfly type joint?

Are there any mechanical type fasteners that could be “interesting” looking that could add to the “steel and wood” designs – that could perform the same function as a butterfly?

I’m thinking of something like an inset, fancy nail plate (like whats used in construction framing?

Maybe pieces of hot rolled steel – inset and fastened? They could even be butterfly shaped.

Bad idea? Seen anything similar?


6 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1378 posts in 310 days


#1 posted 12-20-2017 04:18 PM

Pinterest has quite an assortment of butterfly joint examples.
https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=butterfly%20joints%20in%20wood&rs=typed&term_meta[]=butterfly%20joints%20in%20wood%7Ctyped

my favorite was with the style of a zipper along the crack.
aluminum would be my choice of metal. easy to work with and will keep its luster
compared to brass, copper, steel, etc.
my father used some copper accents on our kitchen cabinets back in the ‘70s and over the years,
the copper tarnished like an old penny and the tannin from the wood turned the area around the wood green.
even though it was varnished over to make it air tight, it still degraded and eventually looked awful.

if you like a piece of construction hardware does not mean you have to use it for its intended purpose.
for example: small metal pipe straps can be hammered flat to give a vintage hand forged look.

-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2631 posts in 3031 days


#2 posted 12-20-2017 05:13 PM

There are a lot of great examples on the web of alternatives to the traditional butterfly/bowtie look to stabilize cracks. Most involve some sort of mechanical block rather than a fastener to keep the crack from splitting more, ie. traditional butterfly stabilizes the crack by its shape; the crack tries to expand and is blocked by the angled sides of the bowtie.

I’d be concerned about the long term stability of anything that used fasteners rather than a mechanical block. Nails especially are prone to bending as the wood moves; this is why so many of the simple boarded chests that were nailed together have survived eg. https://www.popularwoodworking.com/tools/woodworking-hand-tools/the-joy-of-chests

You also need to think how you’re going to flatten any bowtie made of steel…

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1378 posts in 310 days


#3 posted 12-20-2017 07:05 PM

Manitario – just a quick question.
what do you mean: ”You also need to think how you’re going to flatten any bowtie made of steel…”
I’m just trying to envision your technique. – thanks -

-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3796 days


#4 posted 12-20-2017 07:11 PM

Low carbon steel is pretty easy to work with
a piece of railroad track and a propane
torch. You could make a hand hammered
bow tie in probably 15 minutes. An angle
grinder is useful too.

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2631 posts in 3031 days


#5 posted 12-20-2017 07:19 PM



Manitario – just a quick question.
what do you mean: ”You also need to think how you’re going to flatten any bowtie made of steel…”
I m just trying to envision your technique. – thanks -

- John Smith


Any bowtie I’ve done always is a bit proud of the surface, which I then flatten with a handplane. Would be difficult and/or a lot of sanding to do this with steel!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1378 posts in 310 days


#6 posted 12-20-2017 07:36 PM

I guess I was thinking along the lines of 1/8” aluminum plate (of which I have quite a bit of).
it would be shaped, flattened and polished prior to installing – not after. bedded in with epoxy and a little sawdust.
wood material is a cinch. plane smooth and then carry on with the finishing details.
if you need a butterfly that is 3/4” or more thick, I would make the main structural patch a bit short and apply
the matching ornamental patch on top just for cosmetics.
or – make the structural patch out of aluminum, bury it deep with epoxy and sawdust.
then apply the more delicate ornamental butterfly over that.

either way – they look great in a distressed piece of wood !! it adds that personal craftsman touch.
any design outside of the traditional bowtie is a bonus.

-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com