Dowel or mortise and tendon? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Dowel or mortise and tendon?

So I am trying to decide what joinery I should use for attaching supports to a vertical beam for a farmhouse table. Where the top and bottom (from the the table top and foot) meet in the middle of the vertical beam at 45 degrees, should I drill and dowel of do a shallow mortise and tendon? I attempted to attach a photo but we'll see if it happens.....
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post #2 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Another example of this idea....
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post #3 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 10:25 AM
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I dunno if tendons are a good choice for anything you build unless you're building arms and legs. Now tenons might be a good idea as they don't require amputating another coscious being to get them.

Sometimes spell check is great, sometimes it just doesn't see the big picture of what you're trying to convey.
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Last edited by allpurpose; 08-16-2017 at 10:28 AM.
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post #4 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 10:47 AM
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Either will work, once it is all locked together, your choice and nobody will ever know which you used.

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post #5 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 11:07 AM
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For that, it seems like a floating tenon (or dowel) would be easier to pull off.

... turning perfectly good wood into firewood every day ... :smile3:
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post #6 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allpurpose View Post
I dunno if tendons are a good choice for anything you build unless you're building arms and legs. Now tenons might be a good idea as they don't require amputating another coscious being to get them.

Sometimes spell check is great, sometimes it just doesn't see the big picture of what you're trying to convey.
I cannot say with any certainty that the mistake was not mine.....I am trapped at the Subaru dealer with my wife's vehicle and it's really not my gig. I'll take the blame on this one, lol.
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post #7 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by BigEd313 View Post
I cannot say with any certainty that the mistake was not mine.....I am trapped at the Subaru dealer with my wife's vehicle and it's really not my gig. I'll take the blame on this one, lol.
It is okay, those of us that wished to help understood. :smile3:
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post #8 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 11:38 AM
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Many years ago, one of the woodworking magazines (American Woodworker or Fine Woodworking I think) did an exhaustive article testing various wood joinery methods. I have the magazine somewhere, but it will take me hours to pick through the many boxes to find it. Anyway, the results were rather surprising in that most any form of joinery that was composed of tight fitting members and secured with the current woodworking glues was more than sufficiently strong enough for furniture and it's intended use. As I recall, dowels, biscuits, and loose tenons were all nearly equal in breaking strength. Properly sized and fitted mortise and tenon joints were stronger, much like pinned bridle joints. Current glues are stronger than most wood fibers and the wood normally fails before the glue does. The more mechanical the join, the stronger it will be. I tend to over build things and I now pin nearly all joinery I do for added strength.

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post #9 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 11:39 AM
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Dowels are probably easier to use and for the most part pretty darn strong as long as the material used is a good quality hardwood as opposed to pine dowel.
Tenons aren't extremely difficult, but do require a bit more work and planning. The only drawback I can even think of is whether you can drill straight in at that angle, but the same problem exist using tenons..
Personally I would probably go with dowel. Drill as straight as you can, tap into place with some glue and cut off the excess and trim flush.
Sorry about making fun of the spelling. I am not a grammar Nazi by any standard..

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post #10 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 01:29 PM
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Mortise and loose tenons

This video shows the use of both fixed and loose tenons for the base. That part starts here:
https://youtu.be/wo6-Yp_BvPM?t=653

Keep in mind that all the tenons or dowels must be parallel unless drilled afterwards OR you won't be able to assemble it.

A different approach, but pretty cool!

This guy uses dowels:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #11 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 05:34 PM
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Dowels are easier to use, especially with longer pieces or on angled cuts, tenon's are a mite stronger. For what you've got going on, I'd go with dowels, cutting a tenon on the end of those angled pieces would be a bear

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post #12 of 20 Old 08-16-2017, 10:34 PM
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Dowels are easier to use, especially with longer pieces or on angled cuts, tenon's are a mite stronger. For what you've got going on, I'd go with dowels, cutting a tenon on the end of those angled pieces would be a bear
I was doing angled tenons awhile back and they're not much more difficult than a straight tenon, but you need to trim the sides correctly.
I copied this a few years ago and it's still hanging on the wall (well piece of glass on the wall).
The mortise is pretty straightforward, just trim the tenon..

Sorry, it's gotten grimy over time..perhaps I should take it down and get a better shot of it..
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post #13 of 20 Old 08-17-2017, 12:12 PM
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The tenon you have in the sketch would be a damn strong joint in a well fitted mortise. But IMO is overkill for the strength needed for its use on this project. Which you use kind of depends on what you want the final appearance to be. If you don't want any visible indications of the joinery then the M&T or loose tenons might be best, but more work. You could also hide the dowels if you have a good dowel jig. If your ok with dowels showing in the finished product or are going to paint the base, through dowels would be plenty strong.


I would probably lean more towards the through dowels, its faster/easier. If it were me I would glue and screw the joint together then once the glue sets back out the screws and re-drill through the screw holes for dowels.
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post #14 of 20 Old 08-17-2017, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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I was looking at using a dowel but not through drilling, just 2-3" and installing into the upright then pressing the angle onto it. Obviously with adhesive.
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post #15 of 20 Old 08-17-2017, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEd313 View Post
I was looking at using a dowel but not through drilling, just 2-3" and installing into the upright then pressing the angle onto it. Obviously with adhesive.
Yep, just install the angle braces into the upright before the base is fastened to the upright.
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post #16 of 20 Old 08-17-2017, 03:24 PM
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If you are gonna use non-through drilled dowels .....

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Yep, just install the angle braces into the upright before the base is fastened to the upright.
If you are using "stopped dowels" rather than drilling them through afterwards .....
There is an "order" of assembly as Franks suggests. AND the dowels must be located very precisely in their opposing/mating surfaces AND they must be parallel as I stated above OR you will NOT be able to assemble the dang thing. :frown2:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #17 of 20 Old 08-17-2017, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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If you are using "stopped dowels" rather than drilling them through afterwards .....
There is an "order" of assembly as Franks suggests. AND the dowels must be located very precisely in their opposing/mating surfaces AND they must be parallel as I stated above OR you will NOT be able to assemble the dang thing. :frown2:
I had planned on using a drill press.....and the angle braces would be done by pivoting the table to match the surface ot the brace, i.e. 50 degrees, 45 degrees or whatever it needs to be.
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post #18 of 20 Old 08-17-2017, 05:57 PM
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that will be good

Quote:
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I had planned on using a drill press.....and the angle braces would be done by pivoting the table to match the surface ot the brace, i.e. 50 degrees, 45 degrees or whatever it needs to be.

What I was getting at is the dowel locations have to be "mirror images" of the mating surface. No room for being off by 1/16 of an inch in any direction. I would make a small template that references off an edge. Your layout will be critical is all I was sayin'.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #19 of 20 Old 08-17-2017, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigEd313 View Post
I had planned on using a drill press.....and the angle braces would be done by pivoting the table to match the surface ot the brace, i.e. 50 degrees, 45 degrees or whatever it needs to be.
It is important to dry fit it as you go, that way there is less chance of getting ahead of yourself. DAMHIK

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post #20 of 20 Old 08-23-2017, 05:56 PM
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Lots of great feedback here, but I just want to say how much I like the work you have done so far. Nice project.
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