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Dowel pins after glue-up?

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Forum topic by ADHDan posted 08-29-2012 06:49 PM 1605 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ADHDan

623 posts in 862 days


08-29-2012 06:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m making a simple box to hold some cutting boards. It needed to be a cheap and fast project, so I used scrap plywood with rabbet joints. It seems sturdy enough, but the joints are not perfect and in some places the plywood is gappy, so I’d like to do something to reinforce it. The box itself is really narrow – about 3” wide on the inside – and I’d rather not use cleats, since I think it is barely big enough to hold my cutting boards as-is. Plus I had to prefinish all of the pieces before glue up, again because I couldn’t get inside to stain/poly after assembly.

I was thinking of drilling holes through the joints every 5” or so and inserting glue-soaked fluted dowel pins. This would be a little different from a typical dowel joint because I’d be drilling straight through both workpieces. Assuming the pins are in tight, would this add much support to the joints? The box is 1/2” ply, I’d be using 1/4” dowel pins (very carefully placed). I was thinking this would be better than screwing into end-grain plywood.

Edit: the box is more or less going to remain stationary, so I don’t anticipate a lot of stress on the joints. It’s just a long, tall, narrow box that fits the space between our fridge and our cabinets, so we can keep cutting boards there without having them sit in a pile of accumulated dust.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.


7 replies so far

View crank49's profile

crank49

3524 posts in 1725 days


#1 posted 08-29-2012 07:52 PM

I would use something like a washer head Spax screw instead of a dowel.
They hold well in that type situation.

The dowel will hold in the target board (the one you are drilling into the edge of) but is not going to have much to hold onto in the surface board.

The right kind of screw will be just as strong as the dowell, IMHO.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

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Rex B

314 posts in 1004 days


#2 posted 08-29-2012 08:02 PM

If it was me I would go with your doweling idea. You say it’s different than a typical dowel joint, but in many cases doweling after assembly is the typical way, much easier than trying to get them all aligned on both pieces. (Of course, this only works on through-doweled joints)

My only suggestion would be to use round dowels instead of fluted dowel pins. Just cut them from a long dowel, and leave it a little long. Get plenty of glue in the hole when you put it in. Later cut the dowels flush, possibly using this method. IMHO this will make the finished appearance much nicer than fluted dowels or screws.

-- Rex

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1723 days


#3 posted 08-29-2012 08:29 PM

You’d have to put a saw cut along the dowel to let the glue escape or it might blow out.

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ADHDan

623 posts in 862 days


#4 posted 08-29-2012 08:29 PM

All points well taken. What do you think of a hybrid approach: gluing in dowels, and then drilling pilot holes and screwing through the dowels? If the dowels are likely to hold well in the target board, but perhaps not as well in the surface board, I assume a screw through the dowel would help secure the surface board?

All things considered I’m not too concerned about appearances, and I don’t mind screw heads visible along the joint edges. Plus I already glued in one set of fluted dowels before posting – but I could drill through them and replace with round dowels if that sounds like a better idea?

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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Rex B

314 posts in 1004 days


#5 posted 08-29-2012 08:35 PM

Dowel joints are pretty strong. For your application, I would just stick with what you have done (glued in fluted dowels). Your method will definitely add some strength, and adding screws won’t increase it unless you use some large washers. My suggestion to use round dowels was mostly for appearance

-- Rex

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ADHDan

623 posts in 862 days


#6 posted 08-29-2012 08:41 PM

Roger that. I’ll stick with fluted dowels, no screws. Thanks for the input!

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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ADHDan

623 posts in 862 days


#7 posted 08-30-2012 02:56 PM

Thanks Jonathan. Good tip.

Your sketchup uses nicer wood than my actual project :-(.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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