Dovetail joinery for bed rails. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-17-2012, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Dovetail joinery for bed rails.

Newbee here. I am in the brainstorming/planing stage of my very 1st project. I am going to build a bed. I would like to join the bed rails together using dovetails, however through my research I found that it might not be a strong enough joint. I want dovetails basically for looks i think it will add some character. My question is, do you think it would be a strong enough joint to use dovetails with a bed bolt running from top to bottom through the dove tails?

Thank you and I will be looking forward to hearing all your suggestions.
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-17-2012, 08:52 PM
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First project? Seems like a big job for a newbie.
I personally would do a mortice and tenon for strength.

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post #3 of 16 Old 05-17-2012, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dominick
First project? Seems like a big job for a newbie.
I personally would do a mortice and tenon for strength.
+1. Yep!

Edit: A bit of a smart aleck response. Given that you want the look of a dovetailed joint. Dovetails can be incredibly strong; given enough size. Let us know the sizes and type of woods you are joining, then we can better answer your question.

Last edited by Wrangler; 05-17-2012 at 09:17 PM.
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post #4 of 16 Old 05-17-2012, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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The wood i plan on using is maple and the rails will be 8" in width. To add extra strength i want to add a bed bolt running from to to bottom through the dovetails. The dovetails will not be glued in order to allow for disassembly. Also the rails will not be attaching to any posts/legs, rather the legs will be attached to the bottom of the bed.

I hope that this is enough info and thanks for you response.
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-17-2012, 10:59 PM
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If I understand you; you're building an 8" high "box" w/o bottom. To this, you will fasten legs. If I am correct, and your lumber is at least 3/4" thick, you should be plenty strong wi dovetails. I don't think any bolts you use would add strenth, but could keep the joint from disassambly.
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-18-2012, 04:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinjbauman
The wood i plan on using is maple and the rails will be 8" in width. To add extra strength i want to add a bed bolt running from to to bottom through the dovetails. The dovetails will not be glued in order to allow for disassembly. Also the rails will not be attaching to any posts/legs, rather the legs will be attached to the bottom of the bed.

I hope that this is enough info and thanks for you response.
Well for a newbie, it sounds like you've got it all figured out. Lol. Doesn't sound like newbie to me. Good luck. Hope to see pics soon.

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post #7 of 16 Old 05-19-2012, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Well by newbie I mean I have never actually built anything. However, over the last 3 months I have spent every ounce of spare time reading and researching. Im just trying to make sure I have all the necessary tools (knowledge) that i need to complete the project. I know that the real knowledge will be gained with my hands on experience and through my mistakes and im OK with that.
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-22-2012, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinjbauman
Well by newbie I mean I have never actually built anything. However, over the last 3 months I have spent every ounce of spare time reading and researching. Im just trying to make sure I have all the necessary tools (knowledge) that i need to complete the project. I know that the real knowledge will be gained with my hands on experience and through my mistakes and im OK with that.
I'd avoid running a bolt top to bottom through the DT as it won't really help ya draw the joint tight.

Have sketched up what you are wanting to build yet?

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post #9 of 16 Old 05-23-2012, 08:22 PM
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I think the bolt hole will actually weaken the joint. I would go with angle brackets screwed to the inside. That way you can still disassemble it and have the dovetail look.
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-24-2012, 12:20 AM
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You should read some books on japanese joinery and joints. Not sure unless I see a drawing, but from your description I don't think the dovetail is structurally the correct joint.

Mortise & tenons with draw bolts are "traditional" for a reason: They are the strongest joint that can be used in this application and beds are subjected to a great deal of racking forces, coming from a lot of different directions.

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post #11 of 16 Old 06-18-2012, 10:01 AM
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I have built several beds and they ARE about the hardest. Not because of the build, but because of the loads comming from several ways. One is movement from the sides, back and forth, kids jumping on them, etc. Then there is the loading...is the box springs going to go inside the box or be on top? One has the side boards wanting to twist from from the load the other has downward load. If you want looks would a finger joint be ok? Because you could double mortise the ends of both boards, then finger joint them so they come together. Glue the tenon in one piece after that, and use a draw bolt to pull everything together, so you have looks and strength.
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-02-2012, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinjbauman View Post
The wood i plan on using is maple and the rails will be 8" in width. To add extra strength i want to add a bed bolt running from to to bottom through the dovetails. The dovetails will not be glued in order to allow for disassembly. Also the rails will not be attaching to any posts/legs, rather the legs will be attached to the bottom of the bed.

I hope that this is enough info and thanks for you response.
By now Kevin you will have discovered the answer to your question; will the dovetail joint be strong enough for a bed.
From your post I understand you want the decorative function of the dovetail joint. (you gave 8" wide dimension but no thickness) You will find that you will have to use mechanical fastening to maintain structural integrity. "Rockler" has all the hardware to join bed rails to legs, footboard, etc.
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-02-2012, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrangler View Post
If I understand you; you're building an 8" high "box" w/o bottom. To this, you will fasten legs. If I am correct, and your lumber is at least 3/4" thick, you should be plenty strong wi dovetails. I don't think any bolts you use would add strenth, but could keep the joint from disassambly.
I think it not only would not add strength, it would reduce strength.

George
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post #14 of 16 Old 07-18-2012, 11:11 AM
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Dovetails for bedrail joints? Interesting idea, I hope you figure it out. Cant wait to see the end result
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post #15 of 16 Old 07-22-2012, 04:05 PM
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Not at all applicable, but
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post #16 of 16 Old 07-29-2012, 12:45 AM
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BAD had a similar sort of question (see "Wide tenon question...") there area lot of good answers there. My best advice is to get the FWW (FineWoodworking) issue # 165. It has the perfect article describing woodmovement and how to work with it when doing wide tenons (he shows severalmethods for what you're asking about)
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