Joinery Tool Decision: Dowel, Mortise/Tenon or Router? Jessem, Mlcs etc

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Forum topic by PatrickIrish posted 02-26-2015 06:09 PM 961 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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127 posts in 2250 days

02-26-2015 06:09 PM

I havent dont any fancy joinery yet. I have a double kreg pocket hole and an Incra LS router table and positioner.

Looking to get into joinery to make pieces without screws BUT I cant decide on what would be best and cost effective.
Of course if $$ was no object I’d have a Festool Domino ordered. I was looking at the Porter Cable 557 biscuit joiner BUT then I came across these below.


Jessem Dowel Jig – Either 8350 or the 8300 Paralign. Not sure the real differences.

MLCS Horizontal Router Sliding Table LINK

I can’t decide on what would be best to buy and use. The MLSC is only $220 shipped with the sliding XY platform. I have some bits already and just need to add a Bosch fixed plate. This would be the cheapest.

I like the portability of both the Dowelmax and Jessem setup. Cant decide if the 8350 or Paralign 8300 is better/what different.

2 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3018 days

#1 posted 02-26-2015 06:14 PM

I like to use real mortise and tenon joints. The minimum equipment needed is a benchtop mortiser and basic dado blade for your tablesaw. You will use the dado blade for rabbets, dados, and grooves anyways so it is a good starting point.
Otherwise you could get a plunge router with edge guide, and make loose tenons to fit. Every shop need a router, so I don’t see how you could go wrong.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View jmartel's profile


8239 posts in 2355 days

#2 posted 02-26-2015 06:15 PM

Use traditional joinery. Mortise & Tenon, Dovetails, etc. You don’t need any of that fancy stuff. All you need for a mortise & tenon is a hand saw, a chisel, and a mallet. Anything more just makes stuff easier.

I use a router and a homemade tablesaw tenon jig for M&T joints. I doubt any of the above would be any easier than that. It would certainly cost more money.

EDIT: A benchtop mortiser isn’t needed like Pinto says. It just makes it quicker. You don’t even need a dado blade for the tablesaw.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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