cabinet doors - biscuits vs tenon

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I am thinking of making my own kitchen flat panel doors...and refacing the cases. I have a good biscuit joiner and would like input on whether the biscuit techniques is strong enough for kitchen cabinet doors...or should I go with the traditional mortise and tenon assembly ?
Also..anyone know of a good site for detailed instructions/examples of a good quality kitchen door assembly ?
Thanks, Tim
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"TimR" wrote in message

With cabinet doors, stick with M&T. A few hundred years of a tried and true joinery method is to be ignored at your own peril, IMO.
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surface. Your gluing end grain to long grain in a door.
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Doors of any kind take an huge amount of stress over time. If you go with cope and stick you'll have sufficent glue area to hold it together. If you are talking mitered or butted then M&T is the way to go.
I've seen studies where biscuits do add some strength similar to tennons but no where near the same strength. I consider them only valuable for alignment.
TimR wrote:

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: I am thinking of making my own kitchen flat panel doors...and refacing the : cases. I have a good biscuit joiner and would like input on whether the : biscuit techniques is strong enough for kitchen cabinet doors...or should I : go with the traditional mortise and tenon assembly ?
I wouldn't hesitate to use biscuits. They're plenty strong enough for this application.
    -- Andy Barss
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Andrew Barss wrote:

Latest issue of Wood magazine rates biscuits as _barely_ stronger than butt joints in all directions. Dowels were second in strength to M&T.
http://store.woodstore.net/november173.html
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That's surprising. In fact, I don't believe it. I guess I will have to buy the mag to read about their testing. VERY hard for me to believe that the long-grain to long-grain gluing, even over the small area of a biscuit, is not a big improvement over end-grain to long-grain gluing of a plain butt joint. Maybe the problem is my impression of the weakness of end-grain gluing. I've always accepted that as an article of faith, but never tested it.
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I think the problem lies in the structural nature of the biscuits. The fiber structure seems to have been purposely crushed as part of the manufacturing process and they are very porous so to be able to absorb the glue and expand. Their shape also minimizes their strength with the full width only at the center and minimal width even just 1/2" away from the center.
Now a true spline or floating tenon on the other hand is as good as or better than classic M&T
alexy wrote:

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good point. And thinking this way, two dowels relatively near the outside of the joint would do a much better job of resisting typical non-linear (e.g. twisting or racking) forces.
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alexy wrote:

I guess you will! <G>
They went to an actual materials testing lab and used widely accepted, calibrated test equipment.
The article is quite well written, and the testing methods make sense.
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: Andrew Barss wrote:
: Latest issue of Wood magazine rates biscuits as _barely_ stronger than : butt joints in all directions. Dowels were second in strength to M&T.
: http://store.woodstore.net/november173.html
Interesting. There have been two previous studies (first one in FWW, second maybe also there) which showed M&T at the top, with biscuits very closely behind. Dowels, if I recall, were nowhere near as strong.
    -- Andy Barss
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On Fri, 20 Oct 2006 19:41:45 +0000 (UTC), Andrew Barss

"Wood" tested the joints two ways, shear strength and pullout resistance. As I remember, biscuits did OK in pullout resistance, the comparison to butt joints was in the shear test portion.
M&T came out on top in both.
"Wood" also included pocket screws in the tests.
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Question on this: Other than seat rails, bed rails, and maybe table rails, how important is shear strength? It seems that for many of our joints, including the cabinet door frame, the forces acting on the joint are angular. And what is important to the joint integrity is that the joint not pull apart at the side of the joint under tension.
As another poster pointed out, the strength added by a biscuit is concentrated on the center, so only has 1/2 the "arm" of an attachment at the end of the joint.
Thinking this way also points out one reason that M&T is so much stronger in actual use--the M&T provides no only additional resistance to pulling out of the side of the joint under tension, but additional mechanical w00d-to-wood contact from the shoulders of the joint. e.g., even a relatively loose unglued M&T provides massively more resistance to a joint opening out at an angel than does a biscuit.
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Good grief! I think it's time for another cup of coffee!
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Just goes to show, you shouldn't believe everything you read.

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I'd love to hear your critique of the testing methodology that Wood used.
todd

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Here it is: They're full of shit. Satisfied?

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No. I get the impression that you haven't read the article. Speaking as someone with the educational and practical experience to be able to evaluate their testing, I'll have to read the article before making such a determination.
todd

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I agree. Although my personal bias is in line with Swingman's, I think you have the right practical answer.
Data point: I built a "doggie gate" from 5/4 SYP (heavy) that was 48" long (much longer torque arm than the OP will have on kitchen cabinets) that a 40-poind puppy liked to climb over (OP should shoot anyone who hangs from his kitchen cabinet doors). And my customer and wife was more interested in having it NOW than in my having a fun woodworking project. So I built it with doubled #20 biscuits, and it has held up just fine.
I'd challenge anyone to break a cabinet door built with biscuits, while it is hanging on hinges. Unless you use a really heavy piano hinge with long screws, my money is on the hinges giving out first.
RayV brings up an interesting article, though. Worth checking out for additional info.
P.S. This weekend, I will chop the mortises for the M&T panel doors for a cabinet I'm building. But it is more a neander thing than a sense that I really NEED to.
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In 10 years of the door banging shut the M&T will outperform the biscuits IMNSHO alexy wrote:

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