High end cabinets - pocket holes or M&T?????

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Hello:
For those who build high end cabinets-----Do you use pocket holes or M&T joints?
Here's my concern. I'm looking at several stationary mortisers and production pocket hole machines. They all run around 700.00 to 900.00. In that range, it really dosen't matter which I buy as far as price goes. So then the question is, which is preferred. I understand pocket holes are faster, but I also know they are not as strong as clasic M&T. So fine, in a cabinet face frame - who cares? But what about other projects. Would the M&T be more versitle???
So, IF you are going to spend that kind of money, which type do you recommend?
Thanks, Richard Hollingsworth
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IMHO Cabinets are not "fine furniture"... their expected lifetime is 30 years (give or take). I expect hierloom furniture to be good for at least a century. This justifies differnet techniques.
In my kitchen cabs I used both:
For cabinet face frames.... Pocket holes all the way. They never show, and it just makes like "way too easy".
For the doors, I used M&T..... However I am proabbly in the minority there. The mainstream answer would probably be to use rail and stile cutters which forms an integrated "stub tennon" on the rail.
Personally I would never use pocket holes on a door. PHJ is really ugly but functional, doors are just way to visible.
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Stephen M wrote:

If life span of the piece is THE criteria for "fine furniture" then the base cabinet for my mortising machine qualifies - all joints being either M&T or box/finger joints.
If the joinery is to be a design element of the piece as well, then through M&T along with dowels and rectangular pegs make it "fine furniture" though a lot of "Craftsman" and "Stickley" pieces have faux joints.
I can think of an example where pocket hole joinery may be better than M&T - specifically table leg/table apron joints, assuming there's ust enough room for two pocket holes for each end of each apron.
charlie b
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I can think of several applications where a pocket hole screw would be much stronger than a M&T. I prefer Pocket holes due to strength and speed and ease. M&T really slows things down. Might consider it IF I had a wealthy customer who could appreciate such things. Maybe.
On Tue, 10 Feb 2004 15:25:56 GMT, Richard Holliingsworth

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Lawrence A. Ramsey wrote:

Where?
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gabriel

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On Tue, 10 Feb 2004 10:20:53 -0600, Lawrence A. Ramsey

I've seen numerous tests that show M&T to be the strongest joint. Pocket holes are fast and easy, and probably strong enough for many applications. Personally, I would not use them if the ugly oval-hole plugs show.
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Phisherman wrote:

I would think that the application would be the determining factor. For example, I can't imagine that steel wouldn't be better at resisting shear; and I would expect a good M&T joint to better resist racking.
I've been playing with modified lap joints that lock together in 3D. I'm posting sketches of three of these in news:alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking if anyone's interested.
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Morris Dovey
West Des Moines, Iowa USA
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wrote:

The steel may not break with that shear load but don't you think the wood around it would give way instead, resulting in a failure anyway?
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Lazarus Long wrote:

If we apply enough force we can probably break about anything. There's not much point in considering forces capable of breaking the joined pieces themselves.
I'm thinking that it has to be considerably more difficult to pull a screw out sideways than out straight; and that (if you consider the combined dimensions of the screw shafts) 1/8" by 1/4" (two screws) or 1/8" by 3/8" (three screws) of steel would probably be less prone to damage from shearing forces than an appropriately sized tenon.
The racking situation might be slightly different, since the applied forces will tend to pull the screws straight out, with the forces applied to the screws in a very unbalanced fashion. My guess is that a well-fit and well-glued tenon /might/ provide an advantage over the pocket screws for this kind of stress.
I'm not an expert. If anyone has any authoratative information on this, I'd really appreciate if you jumped in now.
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Morris Dovey
West Des Moines, Iowa USA
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Morris Dovey wrote:

Well, you can put all the shear you want on a high-quality bolt, but what's going to fail is the wood itself (assuming the bolt was put in correctly).
The glue in a glue joint is stronger than the wood, so the issue is the same. I would even say that a M&T joint would resist _more_ shear force than wood bolted together because there is more wood surface glued together (and therefore, more wood to break apart before failure).
--
gabriel

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It depends on the primary work you'll be doing. If you're a custom cabinet shop doing mostly kiitche/bath cabinets, go with the pocket hole machine. You probably won't use that many M&T's in your construction. Cope and stick joinery is plenty strong for the average size kitchen cabinet door. If you do furniture in your shop go with the mortiser it's more versitle.
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M&T and Pocket holes are two very different processes. Pocket holes are now the generally accepted method for Face frames. Strength is relative to a degree. If you use glue with the pocket joints and you break that joint then There has probably been way too much force applied or your wood quality stinks. Pocket holes now have plugs too and they are used to add to the piece's looks. If all you plan on doing is Cabinets for a kitchen go Pocket holes. IF you still think a M&T is needed once in a while and really want that machine because it's cool, think about purchasing a Kreg Jig ($120-$150) and the Mortiser.
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Young Carpenter

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: Hello:
: For those who build high end cabinets-----Do you use pocket holes or M&T : joints?
: Here's my concern. I'm looking at several stationary mortisers and : production pocket hole machines. They all run : around 700.00 to 900.00. In that range, it really dosen't matter which : I buy as far as price goes. So then the question is, : which is preferred. I understand pocket holes are faster, but I also : know they are not as strong as clasic M&T. So fine, in a cabinet face : frame - who cares? But what about other projects. Would the M&T be : more versitle???
: So, IF you are going to spend that kind of money, which type do you : recommend?
: Thanks, : Richard Hollingsworth
Hi Rich,
When yu say "cabinets" what are you talking about? Kitchen cabinets? Or things like dressers and hutches?
To me, if you want a high end cabinet you make it with dovetails.
--- Gregg
My woodworking projects:
Replicas of 15th-19th century nautical navigational instruments:
http://home.comcast.net/~saville/backstaffhome.html
Restoration of my 82 year old Herreshoff S-Boat sailboat:
http://home.comcast.net/~saville/SBOATrestore.htm
Steambending FAQ with photos:
http://home.comcast.net/~saville/Steambend.htm
"Improvise, adapt, overcome." snipped-for-privacy@head-cfa.harvard.edu Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Phone: (617) 496-1558
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we're talking face frames, not drawers. morbid curiousity forces me to ask you to post pics of your dovetailed face frames and doors,
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"RemodGuy" wrote in message

He was talking cabinets, and even stated "high end cabinets". Dovetails _are_ a traditional way to join the carcass parts of many types of "cabinets, particularly in furniture like "dressers and hutches."
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yes, but more specifically, he asked about M&T and pocket holes. from there the posts naturally went to doors and face frames (as i'm sure it was intended to do).
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"RemodGuy" wrote in message

... "more specifically" the OP excluded face frames from the discussion in the very first post in the thread.
So much for "read these posts.", eh.
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My first instinct when i hear "cabinets" is kitchen/bath. "furniture" would lead me to dressers and hutches. Regardless, are you saying that dovetails can be used to attack face frames to boxes or sides to backs, etc? If so, please describe the process, as i have never seen an example.
Thanks

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: My first instinct when i hear "cabinets" is kitchen/bath. "furniture" : would lead me to dressers and hutches.
You are welcome to your instincts, but I don't share them.
The terms "cabinetry" and "cabinetmaker" are quite often used with regard to fine furniture. I would imagine it's not a stretch to think that cabinetmakers make...well...cabinets.
Perhaps you disagree.
: Regardless, are you saying : that dovetails can be used to attack face frames to boxes or sides to : backs, etc?
;^) No, although I don't approach my cabinetmaking with a high level of violence ;^)
Neither am I saying one would *attach* face frames to boxes, or sides to backs, using dovetail joints.
Nor have I ever said it. Or even implied it, much less ever thought of doing it.
: Thanks
You are entirely welcome.
--- Gregg
My woodworking projects:
Replicas of 15th-19th century nautical navigational instruments:
http://home.comcast.net/~saville/backstaffhome.html
Restoration of my 82 year old Herreshoff S-Boat sailboat:
http://home.comcast.net/~saville/SBOATrestore.htm
Steambending FAQ with photos:
http://home.comcast.net/~saville/Steambend.htm
"Improvise, adapt, overcome." snipped-for-privacy@head-cfa.harvard.edu Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Phone: (617) 496-1558 ------------ And now a word from our sponsor ------------------ For a quality usenet news server, try DNEWS, easy to install, fast, efficient and reliable. For home servers or carrier class installations with millions of users it will allow you to grow! ---- See http://netwinsite.com/sponsor/sponsor_dnews.htm ----
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