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Dowels for miter joints?

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Forum topic by gfadvm posted 12-09-2011 04:27 AM 12016 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2158 days


12-09-2011 04:27 AM

Topic tags/keywords: joinery doweled miters

I am building a project for a guy who asked that I dowel the miter joints as he likes the look of dowels. Project is a fairly large box of Jatoba and he requested oak dowels. Sounds OK to me but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it done. Anyone done this? All comments/ sugestions welcome. Holes will be drilled perpendicular to the faces of the box sides. Hope this makes sense. Thanks for your time/comments in advance.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm


23 replies so far

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patron

13538 posts in 2809 days


#1 posted 12-09-2011 04:34 AM

funny you ask

been thinking about that myself

the jig for this needs to be real tight
or the bit will wander
and splinter out the back side
i think

glue the box first
so the parts don’t wander

should look real nice
little ellipses

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2158 days


#2 posted 12-09-2011 05:18 AM

David, I think you have the wrong picture. The dowel hole will be drilled straight into the face of the wood (not at a 45 degree) so the possibility of ‘blowout won’t occur and the visable part of the dowel will be round, not oblong. Sorry, I didn’t explain this very well. I need a pic. RANCE: where are you when I need you???

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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jumbojack

1667 posts in 2092 days


#3 posted 12-09-2011 05:56 AM

something like this?

I start the hole with a good mark made with the scribe on my combo square. I bury my BRADPOINT bit in the chuck to make it short and unlikely to wander. My drill press has an excellent stop system. I think those dowels are 3/8.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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rance

4245 posts in 2628 days


#4 posted 12-09-2011 07:15 AM

Sorry Andy, I was out all day because I had a class to teach this evening. Here’s the corner(As Jack pointed out):

Note however, the offset of the dowls from one face to the other so they won’t intersect. I am not in agreement with any of the above methods in getting the holes absolutely accurate.

To accurately drill for these, I would make a drill guide for drilling the holes. You’ll want to orient your box on your DP such that you can drill them. Something like the following:


(Kindly ignore the pre-existing dowels. However, you WILL need to have marked the locations for your dowels.)

Now build a drill guide. Drill a 3/8” hole in part A of your drill guide. Location is not absolutely critical. Now lay part A EXACTLY over your crosshair of where you want one of your dowels. Now take part B of your drill guide and put it in place as shown and brad nail it to part A:

Now with your drill guide, you can accurately drill ALL your holes EXACTLY the same distance from the corner of the box. You just slide it along to a crosshair, clamp it in place, and drill. The drill guide will keep your drill bit from wandering.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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Woodwrecker

3928 posts in 3043 days


#5 posted 12-09-2011 07:16 AM

I actually like David’s idea too.
That 45 degree placing with the oblong face would be neat looking.

-- Eric, central Florida

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patron

13538 posts in 2809 days


#6 posted 12-09-2011 07:41 AM

well there we go
all these ways work ok

the ones in a mitered corner in face at 90 deg.
scare me somewhat
as the ‘head’ of the dowel
is in thin territory
and the diminishing edge to corner
doesn’t really have a lot of holding power

WudnHevn’s last drawing
moves the dowel back from the corner
where there is more ‘meat’ to keep the end from spliting

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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Gene Howe

8263 posts in 2896 days


#7 posted 12-09-2011 02:23 PM

You could spline it first. Then use a 3/8” forstner 1/4 deep.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2158 days


#8 posted 12-09-2011 03:53 PM

Rance, I appreciate the drawings. It appears others have mastered this sketch thingy also! David, Really good point about the thin edge. Do you think the fact that the miters are already glued wii help. I was going to use 1/4” dowels as far from the edge as possible. Jumbojack, Are yours mitered corners or butt joints? That look is exactly what this guy wants. Thanks to all of you (a great bunch of guys who are always willing to take the time to help a fellow LJ)! Andy

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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rance

4245 posts in 2628 days


#9 posted 12-09-2011 05:57 PM

Yes, there are many great sketchers on here, and lots of folks willing to help. A great site. You say “fairly large box”. How large? If it is being thrown around in the back of a pickup, then yes, the strength could be an issue. If it is sitting at the end of a bed(a blanket chest), then I think the dowels would be sufficient. Will the box be tossed around? Using the smaller dowels(and more of them) would actually be stronger IMO.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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LittlePaw

1571 posts in 2546 days


#10 posted 12-09-2011 06:08 PM

Wow, excellent information! Learned a lot on this! THANX, Doc and good luck!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

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DS

2151 posts in 1888 days


#11 posted 12-09-2011 06:08 PM

I would construct the box to stand on it’s own merit without needing dowels for strength.

The dowels then are merely decoration and along for the ride.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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CharlieM1958

16244 posts in 3686 days


#12 posted 12-09-2011 06:52 PM

I like these ideas from a decorative point of view. I’m thinking of experimenting myself after reading this thread.

I agree with DS251 though, that the dowels should really not be necessary for strength in most cases.

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

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2158 days


#13 posted 12-09-2011 08:50 PM

The dowels will primarily be decorative. Miter joints with a perfect fit still basically rely on end grain glued to end grain so a spline or dowel is functional as well as decorative. If this were my project I would spline the miters but the one who’s paying for it asked if I could dowel it. This box should not be subjected to any abuse (but one never knows what might occur). After all we have had a tornado and an earthquake in the same day (last month)! Thanks for all the input. I’m off to the shop to make a drilling jig like Rance suggested.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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Chipy

374 posts in 2061 days


#14 posted 12-10-2011 12:04 AM

gfadvm if you have a Japanese back saw this would be good time to get it out sounds like like a lot of dowels to cut.

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dustysawyer

107 posts in 2096 days


#15 posted 12-10-2011 01:03 AM

I think the ellipse splines (Dave’s Way) look more “elegant” than the straight and round approach. I call them cat’s eye splines. Patron is right though about the need for a tight, accurate jig to keep the bit from wandering.

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