Oak 1x2 to wrap around a desk surface. I've got some oak 1/2" dowels
that I'm going to use both for decoration and to keep the 1x2 in line
with the desk surface while the glues dries. Maybe not strictly
necessary, but I like the look and the 1x2s weren't 100% true even
though I picked the best ones I could find. (I bought those before I
asked for the lumber store advice BTW)
Anyway, I've already drilled the holes, I'll probably glue it up
tomorrow (Sunday). I made a test piece out of an oak 1x2 scrap. (It's
quite a test piece, by the way, with a couple of lap joints, a narrow
groove down one edge, a rabbet on the other, 2 or 3 different finishes
and now two dowels).I used a 1/2" Forstner bit which made nice clean
holes. But I found I needed to pound the peg in with a rubber mallet. It
went in OK, but it's ^tight*.
I cut off the excess and even sanded it down for practice, but I didn't
use any glue. Is the addition of glue likely to swell the wood and crack
the oak 1x2?
Would that be because the dowels will expand perpendicular to their
grain (i.e., the growth rings will widen) and the 1x2s will have more
strength lengthwise? Or perhaps because the 1x2 and the dowel will then
swell in orthogonal directions?
In any case, is what I described OK to do? Or should I have either made
the holes a hair larger, or sanded the dowels a little? Is a tight fit,
requiring a mallet, normal?
Funny thing: On my test piece I drove in the dowels with no thought to
their orientation. One was nearly parallel, one nearly perpendicular. I
was trying to decide which one I preferred, strictly from a visual
perspective. Now I have a better reason, I guess.
Unlikely unless you're using a lot more glue than you need. A little
dab will do ya. You could use a CA glue if you're worried.
A bigger worry is that you had to pound the dowels in. Tapping them
in with a mallet is one thing, pounding is another.
If they're both from the same species, why is there a need to turn the
dowel so the grain doesn't align? Same species, same coefficients of
expansion for both radial and tangent.
For better or worse, I glued it all up this morning. I did put the
dowels in with the grain perpendicular to that of the 1x2s.
I'm not sure what word to use. To my ear, there's some room between
"pounding" and "tapping". If I were being precise, I suppose neither
word would be quite appropriate. It was tight enough to make me wonder
about it though.
How long, I wonder, before I don't have to worry about it anymore? It's
been glued up for about 2.5 hours. No cracks so far. Am I out of the
If you are planning to seal the wood and it's in a relatively stable
environment, you don't really have anything to worry about. Well,
unless you plan on living a really long time. And even then, just
call the cracks patina and everyone will be awed. ;)
For a test, throw a micrometer on the dowel and see how out of round
it is. Notice I didn't say "if".
I'm not sure I agree with the desirability or need to "turn the dowels
not thinking it through completely, it seems like it doesn't matter.
The hole in the 1 x 2, depending on the moisture content when the hole
will either grow or shrink in the transverse direction (perpendicular
to the long axis of the 1x2)
but will remain relatively unchanged in the long axis of the 1x2.
The problem with using dowels is that their radial, tangential &
cannot all be matched up with the same axes of the piece of wood
receiving the dowel.
The way to get all the axes of the "dowel" to match up with the
to cut a plug from a piece of would with the same grain orientation as
the 1 x 2.
Unfortunately, plugs have very reduced "shear" strength when compared
to traditional dowel. :(
So one has to choose.....
match the axes & eliminate differential movement and accept the poor
maximize dowel strength and accept differential movement.
A 1/2" dowel will move a miniscule amount regardless of orientation.
Unless, of course, someone is soaking the wood in water. I see no
benefit to changing the grain direction.
In the OP's situation I would have used screws to obviate the need for
clamps, and used contrasting wood plugs. Maybe a nice endangered wood
The grain orientation as suggested by others is the right way to handle
I wonder if the tightness is due to dimensional changes in the dowels and/or
holes due to the gain or loss of moisture, i.e., one or both are no longer
truly round. Pushing the end of the dowel through a dowel plate to insure
roundness, and drilling the holes just before plugging, might help this
Hadn't thought of that, and I don't have such a tool. But that sounds
like a good explanation. The doweling may very well have expanded in the
bin at HD. I thought about chucking the dowel material into a drill and
sanding it down a tad, but it the end I didn't bother.
and drilling the holes just before plugging,
The test piece that made me wonder about this was indeed drilled moments
before I put in the dowel. It was already tight.
- How sharp was the drill bit?
-Was it a brad point, or a regular twist drill?
-Or a forstner bit?
A dull bit might have to push its way through. A regular twist drill might,
-How fast did you drill?
-A forstner bit would be my choice for an accurately sized hole in this
Pushing the drill bit real fast through the wood might make for a poorly
-What was the real diameter of the dowels? Could they have been a little
oversize or out of round?
There are times when I go looking for a metric bit that is slightly over the
nominal size if I want a looser fit.
Case in point for oversize holes: Making a wooden drill bit index. I'd go
1/64 oversize for each hole.
On Sunday, October 9, 2011 5:40:18 PM UTC-7, Greg Guarino wrote:
Often a good choice, but for glue in the hole, a brad point might
suit better (the hole sidewalls can get burnished by the Forstner,
and that inhibits glue adhesion). I always scuff up dowels on
coarse sandpaper (50 grit) when I want 'em to hold glue, too.
If your hole is tight, and glue is applied, it can seal and your driving
of the dowel will make a hydraulic piston. It can blow the wood out right
then and there. If that didn't happen, the water in the glue
will help the oak 'relax' any stresses, and it's all OK when it dries.
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