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joining pieces -nails, dowels?

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Forum topic by LumberBear posted 01-13-2015 02:38 AM 959 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LumberBear

1 post in 1069 days


01-13-2015 02:38 AM

Hi, I have some leftover poplar (I made a table) and would like to make a nightstand. Simple design: join 3 pieces in a U shape, and a middle shelf; maybe a piece to close the back.

I’m not sure of the best way to join the pieces. the poplar is 2 cms thick (4/5 of an inch), about 40 cms wide.

Can I use dovetailed finishing nails, or would it split the wood or not have enough strength?
Should I use dowels? I saw that doweling jigs have as smaller size a 1/4 inch, I was wondering if that’s alright for a board 4/5” thick.

Otherwise I could just use L metal brackets. I have limited free time, so I don’t really want to get into doing wood joints, unless it’s easier than I think it is.

thanks!


10 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

8332 posts in 1325 days


#1 posted 01-13-2015 02:51 AM

Rabbet the top. Dado the shelf.

Or biscuits, dowels, etc.

Glue should be the strength of the joint, not a nail.

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

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8034 posts in 2416 days


#2 posted 01-13-2015 03:04 AM

Done ^

View Andre's profile

Andre

1496 posts in 1645 days


#3 posted 01-13-2015 03:38 AM

I would half dovetail the top and rabbet the shelf, you could just dovetail the top poplar has a nice end grain.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3116 posts in 3070 days


#4 posted 01-13-2015 04:05 AM

There’s always time to do it right. Do it! :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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MT_Stringer

3116 posts in 3070 days


#5 posted 01-13-2015 04:38 AM

Something like this is about as simple as it gets.

Adjust the sizes to fit your lumber.

Dado for the shelf.
Rabbet for the rear to fit.
Glue in the dado and rabbets.
Nail as necessary

From here, you can get as fancy as you wish.
Good luck.
Mike

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Cyrus30's profile

Cyrus30

4 posts in 1078 days


#6 posted 01-13-2015 05:36 AM

As long as you’re not using it for a wwe expirence in the bedroom any of those options would be fine. For simple, quick, square, and strong (relatively), I’d use biscuits

View bobro's profile

bobro

319 posts in 1149 days


#7 posted 01-13-2015 06:22 AM


Something like this is about as simple as it gets.

Adjust the sizes to fit your lumber.

Dado for the shelf.
Rabbet for the rear to fit.
Glue in the dado and rabbets.
Nail as necessary

From here, you can get as fancy as you wish.
Good luck.
Mike

- MT_Stringer

That construction is fine for plywood, but gluing the shelf into the dado isn’t a good idea with solid wood, unless you glued just the front end, say the first inch. Then the shelf can expand and contract but the movement will not push the board out the front or shrink it away from the front.

If the shelf were cut from the same board, and kept the same thickeness, as the sides, it might seem that it would move the same amount as the sides and so could be glued in all the way across, but one thing that doesn’t seem to get mentioned is that wood moves differently according to the amount end grain exposure (which is the origin of those fancy skinny dovetail pins on drawers- minimizing end grain exposure), and not just according to width. Your shelf, thinner and with end grain covered, will certainly not move in complete tandem with the sides.

You could also just pin the shelf from the sides, only at the front, with a nail in a predrilled hole, a countersunk screw covered by a plug, or a dowel. That’s better construction but brings in an aesthetic issue with the nail head or plug exposed on the side.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4480 posts in 2190 days


#8 posted 01-13-2015 02:02 PM

Screws and plugs is the way I’d do this.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

3116 posts in 3070 days


#9 posted 01-13-2015 06:33 PM

That construction is fine for plywood, but gluing the shelf into the dado isn t a good idea with solid wood, unless you glued just the front end, say the first inch. Then the shelf can expand and contract but the movement will not push the board out the front or shrink it away from the front.

If the shelf were cut from the same board, and kept the same thickeness, as the sides, it might seem that it would move the same amount as the sides and so could be glued in all the way across, but one thing that doesn t seem to get mentioned is that wood moves differently according to the amount end grain exposure (which is the origin of those fancy skinny dovetail pins on drawers- minimizing end grain exposure), and not just according to width. Your shelf, thinner and with end grain covered, will certainly not move in complete tandem with the sides.

You could also just pin the shelf from the sides, only at the front, with a nail in a predrilled hole, a countersunk screw covered by a plug, or a dowel. That s better construction but brings in an aesthetic issue with the nail head or plug exposed on the side.

- bobro

Well, there you go. the expert has spoken.

BTW, I got in the middle of the night and checked all of my stuff I have built this way in our house. I couldn’t find any problems and everything was sitting where I had put it. Nothing has moved! :-) ‘Course the wife and kids are mad as hell for waking them up.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View bobro's profile

bobro

319 posts in 1149 days


#10 posted 01-13-2015 08:37 PM


That construction is fine for plywood, but gluing the shelf into the dado isn t a good idea with solid wood, unless you glued just the front end, say the first inch. Then the shelf can expand and contract but the movement will not push the board out the front or shrink it away from the front.

If the shelf were cut from the same board, and kept the same thickeness, as the sides, it might seem that it would move the same amount as the sides and so could be glued in all the way across, but one thing that doesn t seem to get mentioned is that wood moves differently according to the amount end grain exposure (which is the origin of those fancy skinny dovetail pins on drawers- minimizing end grain exposure), and not just according to width. Your shelf, thinner and with end grain covered, will certainly not move in complete tandem with the sides.

You could also just pin the shelf from the sides, only at the front, with a nail in a predrilled hole, a countersunk screw covered by a plug, or a dowel. That s better construction but brings in an aesthetic issue with the nail head or plug exposed on the side.

- bobro

Well, there you go. the expert has spoken.

BTW, I got in the middle of the night and checked all of my stuff I have built this way in our house. I couldn t find any problems and everything was sitting where I had put it. Nothing has moved! :-) Course the wife and kids are mad as hell for waking them up.

- MT_Stringer

And I have a pine table I threw together during a move as a temporary piece just to get some stuff off the floor- it’s perfectly fine almost ten years later although it’s screwed together with blatant constriction of wood movement. Doesn’t make it a good idea.

Of course you can get away with gluing the shelves into dados, it’s not a cross-grain situation like in a web frame. But it is simply not necessary to do, and it can create problems of varying movements locked together. But you go ahead and do as you please.

-- Lao Ma: You are so full of anger and hatred. Xena: Everybody's gotta be full of something.

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