I am making a table that has some decorative pieces put in with tenons; the
consist of the decorative pieces instead of being solid. The tenons are not
visable, nor are the pieces structural. It would be an aweful lot easier to
use dowels, and probably more consistent as well. Am I overlooking
Dowels sound good to me, especially if the piece isn't structural. If
you're using a doweling jig, I'd recommend using it in the same
orientation with each piece, because the hole might not be exactly
centered. Did that make sense? Sorry - hard to describe. Do a trial
run on scrap and you'll be fine.
Do what works.
I once had a woodworking instructor that used to say "If they see the
tenons, and they're not through tenons, you've done something wrong."
They all work in different circumstances...
Speaking of pocket screws...
I've never tried that method of joining but I have a question: Every
single jig I've seen advertised shows the screw hole NOT being drilled
into the stile. The step bit drills pocket, and the hole for the screw
shank, but not deep enough for the whole screw. What happens when you
try to bury a screw into a the edge of a piece of oak with no pilot
hole? Am I missing something?
This brings to mind another question. This whole "self-tapping screw"
business. Seems to me that while the tip may cut through the wood
fibers, there is no place for the excess wood to go. What happens to
the bits of wood that the tapping screw cuts? The screw displaces the
bits of wood and the bits of wood go where? The screws have a bit of a
recess in them, but is that enough?
And even if things don't actually split, is it fair to say that the
joint is somewhat weak because the screw AND most the displaced wood
bits are crammed in the hole?
I suppose with a soft wood everything can be compressed and all is
well. But what about oak? That stuff is pretty damn hard.
Is there a reason why such jigs and drills are NOT made the whole
Nope ... not fair to say. While pocket hole screws are not and overall
replacement for other joinery methods, they do have their place/application
where they are "strong enough" to do the required job. Fame frames is one of
those applications ... pocket screws add the necessary joint strength to get
the job done, without going overboard.
I use them almost exclusively in oak, and while I have had a few stiles on
oak FF's split, the percentage is so small as to be not worth worrying
I use dowels a lot on panel frames to absorb the wood movement. Loose
tenon construction is nothing but an odd shaped dowel and David Marks
uses it extensively for fine furniture work on DIY's Woodworks. Dowels
are great with the proper application. A couple of sets of $3.00 dowel
pins/ locators are very handy ffor marking locations.
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