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Old 04-27-2014, 02:14 PM
Vondoom88 Vondoom88 is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Nowheresville, IL
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Default Favorite Joinery type & Why?

I'm just curious what other members use/prefer. I realize that some may use many different types depending on the the situation I'd like to hear the what & why. I'll list my not so extensive experience

So far I've used butt joints (just glue), kreg jig/pocket hole joinery and I've used a biscuit jointer once.
I've used butt joints on a lot of speakers over the years with no issues.
the biscuit jointer I didn't really like but I've only used it once and I'm sure its just operator error. I'll revisit that one of these days.
I'm currently building a toy box for my fiance's niece who just had a baby a year ago. I've used pocket hole joinery exclusively on this project & while it's somewhat easy to setup/use I find that filling all those holes a HUGE PiTA!
The other thing I noticed is having to clamp the crap out of my pieces when screwing together due to the screw wanting to pull the pieces out of square/flat .
Now I'll probably continue to use it on speaker cabinets due to the fact that most/all the pocket holes will be inside the cabinet & there would be no need to fill them.
Now in the case of the toy box I've plugged 80 holes on the inside & there will be 12 more underneath that I haven't decided if I'm going to do them yet. The main reason is I don't want the little one to get splinters & such while digging around in it.
It got me thinking about different joinery types & I think in this case dowels would have been a better choice but I don't have a dowel jig yet but it's on the list for sure now.
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SGS 64" W/ Miter square. Ripsizer, SSRK, B-100 & STK 36", 24" tracks & a EZ-One ...... so far + a UEG!!
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Old 04-27-2014, 03:39 PM
philb philb is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Default All of the above?

Like you I have used the same joints. I use the Dowelmax instead of biscuit joints. Others have bought the Jess'em unit with good success. I just have a thing about companies that rip off the designs of others. That is just my opinion from looking at the two, and the Dowelmax is the original. I also use box joints and other joints like lock miter, and glue joints. I have also used screws in both function with decorative presentation. I like the metal washers that seat the screw head and make a rivet looking head. I always use glue in the joint along with dowels, pocket screws or just regular straight on screws. There are lots of different ways to make a good solid joint. I preferred to use any joint that was a straight cut joint, so that I did not have to calculate the extra for the joint into the cut. Dowels, pocket screws, regular screws all are butt or overlap joints that required no special considerations. For a M&T you always have to add and subtract and I always miss something. I only fill the pocket screw holes that are visible. In the case of visible pocket hole I see if a dowel can be used first. The pocket screws are fast if you have the clamps, and they will help where it is not seen. If it is visible or I am concerned with stresses or finish look, I will switch to a dowel or router joint.
Hope that helps some.
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Old 04-27-2014, 03:53 PM
Goblu Goblu is offline
 
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Location: Michigan
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Vondoom, I agree with you about the pains of pockethole joints and having to clamp them, and also having some splitting on hardwoods at the ends of things. I like them for some things and will continue to use them, but recently used them on a small hardwood furniture piece and had some problems that made the result less than ideal. I just made a large drawer with pocket holes and put in the plugs. Not so quick, since gluing the plugs, then cutting them flush with a saw or router, then sanding them flush is a lot of extra steps. I don't like their looks much.

Lately have tried the Jessem dowel jig 8350, the one that's not like the dowelmax. I like it a lot. It has one problem and that is the clamping. You use face clamps. But the anodized aluminum is slick and the clamps sometimes slip and are hard to position. Next time I use it I'm going to affix some sandpaper or friction tape to help the clamp stay in place. Haven't done that yet, but it should work. I may also put it on the inside edge where you clamp the board which will help the board stay in place, too, though that will change the alignment slightly, it probably won't matter since it will change it on each piece the same amount. I've gotten good results in general with this jig, though I've only used it here and there, never for a whole project. You can dowel on face boards with this jig as well as the ends/sides of boards. (unlike the centering jigs which will not do the face of the board). The price is good for this jig, it's quality is excellent. I got it when they had a special so it was around $160 I think for the kit with all three sizes. I've used dominoes (not my machine) and don't see a big difference in the end result between them and this dowel jig except for speed. If someone does this professionally, it might justify the cost for over 1K, otherwise not. It's just as easy to misalign dominoes as it is dowels. I plan to try biscuits, but haven't yet. The domino is designed like a biscuit joiner only using loose tenons which are stronger.

I also like dovetails and recently bought a dovetail jig from Rockler which is similar to the Porter cable jig. I've used one in the past, making half-blinds for drawers. Once set up, it's very easy as long as you have a system for keeping track of the parts and follow it religiously. I think the porter cable has instructions for that, which is the one I learned on. I plan to do this more in the future. It's not that hard if someone who knows how shows you how to do it. Also, you can make dovetail drawers from pine which tends to be cheaper than baltic birch plywood, though you do have to mill the parts to the same thickness. No additional fasteners to purchase. I do plan to dovetail some small cabinets eventually. Not there yet, though. I also like the way dovetails look, even the jig cut ones. I had success on my first try, things lined up well and were square once glued up. Only a bit of sanding to make them flush (making them slightly proud is intended). Actually easier than wrestling with pocket hole alignment for drawers, though the angle clamps help a lot with ph.
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Last edited by Goblu; 04-27-2014 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:01 PM
Vondoom88 Vondoom88 is offline
 
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Thanks for the replies so far. I am mostly looking for what people are using and under what situations or why & your replies so far have been exactly that.

I'll have to revisit the biscuit jointer again but I feel like it requires precision I just don't quite have yet

I'm thinking I'll definitely be getting a dowel jig of some kind the jessem that Katie referred to. Not because I think it's better than the dowelmax. I remember there was a thread that got a little heated about the two. I have a tendency to lose things & the dowelmax seems like it has more parts to lose. Dowels definitely would have been the way to go on the toy box I'm working on. Would have saved me a lot of time plugging those holes.
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:36 PM
Vondoom88 Vondoom88 is offline
 
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Okay so I just watched a video with the inventor of the dowelmax going over the whole system I think that's the one I'm going to get. I thought maybe the spacers and stuff would be a hassle but it looks like they just drop on and since it has a built in clamping system maybe i won't have the slipping problem Katie mentioned.
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SGS 64" W/ Miter square. Ripsizer, SSRK, B-100 & STK 36", 24" tracks & a EZ-One ...... so far + a UEG!!
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:56 PM
jgowrie jgowrie is offline
 
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Location: Suffern, NY
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Most of my cabinet boxes ( the dart cabinets ) are miters with biscuits for additional strength. This is to eliminate the end grain. It's very fast and once the glue dry and the biscuits have swelled up, it's a very strong joint indeed. They do require careful layout but no more than a Pocket Hole joint so if you have gotten that skill set under your belt, mastering the biscuit isn't hard and it's just a matter of making sure you make accurate marks and that the plate joiners fence is fully supported and contacting each piece fully so you don't have misaligned slots.

On some of those cabinets I will use the Miller Dowels. Look them up as they give you a strong dowel joint but with a decorative look since the dowel head is seen. They can split the grain though if you are not careful when using them like I do at the end of your side members.

I've tried the lock miter but it's too much work to set up, IMO. I also don't like the look of it for a solid wood cabinet box.

Some other joints I use are the pocket holes. Love those for face frames of builtins! You don't see them so no need to fill them there. If you are using the Kreg Pocket hole jigs, they sell plugs in all types of woods which make filling those holes a little easier. Use a oscillating saw to flush the plugs up and then lightly sand. They are still not a good choice though for finish work that will be on display, but are acceptable on the interior of a cabinet like you used them for.

I just made some lap joints last weeks for joining up pieces of plywood that I used to create baseboard heat covers that spanned longer than 8'. That is a great joint for situations where you need a glued joint that approaches the strength of a M&T but not doesn't justify the set up and additional effort.

I rarely if ever use butt joints. That is just too weak of a joint unless it's reinforced by some mechanical connection, like dowels. Depends on what it's for I suppose.

The dovetail is a joint I've used in the past, having the porter cable jig and I also had the Keller jig. Again, the set up is a little more time consuming and I tend to not use it since I am always billing for my time. If I feel it's going to be appreciated, or if it's requested then I would use it but most of the other methods mentioned so far ( dowel, biscuit and pocket hole ) will handle just about any connection needed and provide more than enough strength for most situations. All are fast to make using the right tools or jigs.

John
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  #7  
Old 04-27-2014, 07:00 PM
philb philb is offline
 
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Default I think the Dowelmax is the best -- I am biased

I have an admitted bias. The Dowelmax came out a few years before the other jigs and it was a huge improvement over the other previous brands of a dowel jig. The dowel is proven, you do not need to buy biscuits, an expensive tool -- just use your drill -- and you can make your own dowels if you are in a pinch. Biggest vote for a dowel? If you make a mistake -- just glue a dowel in place and re-drill the hole correctly.

I was sold on the Dowelmax, when I had to help my son make a sign of 3 each, 2 x 12 cedar planks, joined with dowels along the 16 foot length of 2 x 12. The finished sign was 3 foot by 16 foot by 2 inches thick. The Dowelmax was so incredibly accurate that running step and repeat down the 16 foot length, not a single dowel was off! Every dowel fit perfectly. It was every bit as spot on as my laser cutter--engraver. Perhaps the other units made today are just as accurate, I have not wanted to find out. The Dowelmax was the best I have ever used. Since it did what I needed and more -- all perfectly -- why go to even look at anything else? How do you improve upon perfect?
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:41 PM
Goblu Goblu is offline
 
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Yes, if I felt I had the $400 or so to spend, I would have bought the Dowelmax, based on what Phil (especially) and some others on here have said. The main reason I bought the Jessem was that it was a good special and I could get all three sizes of bushings with the kit. Since it's no longer on sale, the Dowelmax becomes more competitive. If you know which size dowels you use the most and just order that from Dowelmax, it's even more competitive. I do see more dowels in my future furniture projects, though for the big plywood projects/cabinets that are next, I'll try the biscuits and screws together. But only for inside where the screws aren't seen. I'm building a handy jig for the biscuit joiner to make alignment easier. This should make things go quicker. Here's the jig I'm making, though I'm doing a few things differently. http://www.woodmagazine.com/woodwork...it-joiner-jig/ There are some similar jigs around that hold things steady to keep alignment accurate.

I have always used pocket holes for face frames, but may try biscuits for the upcoming cabinets face frames, too. Here's the article about how to use biscuits to make cabinets with plywood. http://www.finewoodworking.com/how-t...it-basics.aspx (you have to be a member to download the whole article or if your library subscribes you can get a copy there). Here's another good video series from FWW on how to make good biscuit joints with screws http://www.finewoodworking.com/how-t...nd-tricks.aspx. He shows how to do the biscuit/screw combination and various joints.
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Last edited by Goblu; 04-27-2014 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 04-27-2014, 09:18 PM
bumpnstump bumpnstump is offline
 
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Mark (vondoom), great question re. joinery.

I had a recent e-mail conversation w/Woodpecker re. dowel jigs. I was wanting to know if they were going to design/offer a dowel jig that did more than just center dowel holes in the edge/end of a board. They didn't say, "Yes", and they didn't say, "No", but they did say that if anyone had some good ideas about a design for a 'universal' doweling jig, they'd love to speak with that person.

I have the Dowelmax- good unit, very precise, also, very pricey. It's a bit of a pain (for me) to be doing the changes from end-grain—to—edge-grain set-up. And, if you're using it out in the field of say, a piece of plywood, against a straight-edge, be sure to not forget the 1/8" difference in measurement from using just the main body vs. when that body is enclosed in the clamps. (If you forget, your shelves might end up 1/8" off from where you intended them.)

That said, I don't head for the Dowelmax much, unless I've got the time, and, I feel the strength of the dowels is called for. Dowels are a much slower process for me, and I don't go there unless the job 'requires' it.

Like everyone else, I do different joints at different times. Mainly, it's pocket screws and biscuits. And, whenever possible I use screws instead of nails. (Cabinet assembly screws from these guys: http://www.quickscrews.com/catalog)

For 'nice' drawers, I dovetail them w/the Porter Cable jig. For 'lesser' drawers, I sometimes do biscuits; usually, it's just a butt joint w/glue, a couple of brads, and screws. In the old days, I used to do my own version of a lock-joint (on the table saw); I very rarely do that any more- too labor intensive, and, using the dovetail jig is quicker and more precise.

Interesting to hear comments re. the biscuit cutter- I love mine. (Porter Cable) If I'm biscuiting a bunch of shelves/dividers in a number of cabinets, I'll use the EZ square w/a cabinetmaker attached to transfer biscuiting locations from one panel to the next: set the square/cabinetmaker in place; clamp the square; put the biscuit cutter against the square to index the biscuit cutter; plunge-cut; repeat the process for all affected panels- quick and precise. (If your panels are long, you might need to substitute a longer B2B on the cabinetmaker to get it to reach farther.)

Quick fix for making pocket hole plugs (shown in the pic):
-drill a 3/8" hole in the edge of a board;
-cut the board at a 15˚ angle, thru the 3/8" hole;
-leaving the saw at the 15˚ setting, insert a 3/8" dowel into the remainder of the drilled hole;
-cut. Square the end of the dowel to be cut and repeat the process.

When gluing plugs into the pocket holes: cut down a styro or plastic cup to about an inch of depth remaining. Put in a bit of glue; thin the glue (w/water) till it still has a bit of body, but is definitely more fluid. Dip the plugs into thinned glue; shake off excess; drive into the hole. (If the 'issue' is the glue that gets on the fingers, use some needle nose pliers to dip and insert.) Let dry overnight, if possible.
When cutting w/the oscillating saw, set the blade on a piece of formica, or a business card, or whatever, on top of the wood w/the pocket- protects the wood from the moving blade. The remaining thickness of the protruding plug quickly sands down. (I've gone to making my paint-grade frame/panel doors w/pockets and then cutting/installing my own plugs. I used to use dowels, mortise/tenon, etc.- pocket screws do great. In some cases, I've butted the stile/rails together; clamped w/glue till dry. Then, when dry, I've angle-drilled, w/a long 1/4" bit, on the outside of the stile into the rail; lubed up a long 1/4" dowel w/glue; driven it into the hole; trimmed/sanded when dry.)

For some joints that mainly need to be held in the same plane, but don't have structural requirements, I'll spline-cut each piece to be joined together; insert a masonite spline, w/glue; and micro-pin @ side of the spline, from the back of the panels.

Sounds like we're all headed in the right direction re. joinery, hey?

(FWIW: If you're really into mortise and tenon joinery, the SSRK is the ticket. W/a bit of creative planning, you can build a simple indexing jig to hold/index the pieces to be mortised/tenoned. If you mount the jig in a vertical position w/the EZ track in it's normal position (w/SSRK on the track), you'll be able to quickly position and rout your pieces. Sweet!)

Rick
ps apologies ahead of time for my long post......
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:36 PM
Goblu Goblu is offline
 
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Rick, have you ever used the quickscrews pocket hole screws? What did you think about them vs the Kreg screws? I'm asking because I've had some trouble with the Kreg screws breaking off. Not to save money but to increase quality. Great method of making the PH plugs and also how to best glue them, etc.

Also, great to hear your method of using the cabinet maker with biscuits.
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Last edited by Goblu; 04-27-2014 at 11:39 PM.
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