dowels or biscuits - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 11-02-2017, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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dowels or biscuits

Biscuit joiners are not that cheap for a quality tool whereas I can buy or make a dowel jig quite cheaply. Do dowels do just as good a job as biscuits? Also, how do you properly size a dowel to the size of the boards you are joining? Obviously I am a novice so forgive the basic nature of my question.
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-02-2017, 06:31 PM
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Many years ago one of the woodworking magazines did an in depth study of glue joinery. Doubled biscuits and doubled dowels were nearly as strong as a tight mortise and tenon joint. I like biscuits because they are quick and somewhat forgiving when gluing up. I also have a good quality doweling jig and it does a good job too. It just takes longer to set up and perform the joint. I size dowels at 1/3 the thickness of the wood being joined with an equal amount of stock all around the dowel. If money is tight, buy a good doweling jig and brad point bits. Later, when you have the coins, upgrade to a good biscuit joiner. I've had a DeWalt unit for nearly twenty years and it works fine. My B-I-L has a Lamello unit that I first used, but I liked the fence on the DW one better. The PC unit that was around when I bought my DW was a good one too. I also have a Ryobi mini-biscuit joiner, but I seldom need biscuit joins that small.

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post #3 of 6 Old 11-02-2017, 06:35 PM
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Yes, a properly installed dowel will be as good as a biscuit.

I usually go 1/3 the thickness of the wood for the dowel diameter.

In cases such as boards butt joined to make a panel neither are really necessary.

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post #4 of 6 Old 11-02-2017, 08:16 PM
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If you are looking for strength a dowel will beat a biscuit every time. Biscuits are more often used for alignment that for strength.

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post #5 of 6 Old 11-02-2017, 08:18 PM
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I agree with Frank, if you are joining boards edge to edge there is no need for anything other than glue. If your saw cut is true you don't need to do anything to it other than glue and clamp. In the industry gluing directly off the straight line saw is standard practice. Biscuits are primarily used for sheet materials, dowels or Dominos can be used for sheets or lumber.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-02-2017, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Great information from all of you. Many thanks. Just got started, learn so much from each project and am getting more adventurous. Love looking at something I just built, even if it's just some shelves for the basement.
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