pins for a mortise and tenon joint - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 12-23-2012, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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pins for a mortise and tenon joint

Hello all,

I want to pin the mortise and tenon joints I made to join some table legs to the aprons. I'm using black walnut for the legs and aprons so I'd like to use a contrasting wood for the pins, e.g. maple. I bought a 1/4" and a 3/8" dowel from Home Depot that were probably poplar but they were not dimensionally accurate and did not fit snugly into the 1/4" and 3/8" holes I drilled in some test pieces.

I tried turning the 3/8" dowel down to 1/4" on my lathe, but it just crumbled when it got near 1/4".

Can anyone tell me what they'd use to pin the mortises. Can you buy hardwood dowels for this purpose, or do I have to make them somehow.

Thanks,

Kevin H.
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post #2 of 18 Old 12-23-2012, 10:30 PM
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be careful you don't get metric

Woodcraft has them as well as Ebay. Here's a link:
http://www.woodcraft.com/Family/2000...od-Dowels.aspx

http://www.woodworkerssource.com/6_wood_dowels.html

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 #3 of 18 Old 12-24-2012, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjhart0133 View Post

Can anyone tell me what they'd use to pin the mortises. Can you buy hardwood dowels for this purpose, or do I have to make them somehow.

Thanks,

Kevin H.
They aren't a specialty item that you would need to order from a woodworking supply. Every lumberyard I've been to sells them, and so do the box stores.





.
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post #4 of 18 Old 12-24-2012, 08:32 AM
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If you want to use dowels, you have to find a bit that fits or use a dowel forming plate to make exact sizes. Traditionally, the pins were split and slightly chamfered, they could be square or other faceted shapes. The edges helped to grip in the pin hole since glue wasn't used. Even with todays modern glues, the wood movement will often break the glue line and round pins can fall out. The round dowels often go out of round due to cross grain movement. Faceted pins have to be correct in fit and placed in the hole so when driven, they won't split the work. They should bite into the edges of the hole slightly crushing in where the corners of the pins make contact. Round dowels and pins are just fakes of a properly pinned M&T joint, lacking the correct grip. The pins are also draw bored. Meaning the hole in the tenon is offset from the holes through the cheek of the mortice. As the pin is driven in, it pulls the joint tightly together and this puts a slight bend in the pin, further helping to hold it in place. A sinewy type of straight grained wood is used, like oak, ash, hickory.
http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?sku=DP
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post #5 of 18 Old 12-25-2012, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer1
If you want to use dowels, you have to find a bit that fits or use a dowel forming plate to make exact sizes. Traditionally, the pins were split and slightly chamfered, they could be square or other faceted shapes. The edges helped to grip in the pin hole since glue wasn't used. Even with todays modern glues, the wood movement will often break the glue line and round pins can fall out. The round dowels often go out of round due to cross grain movement. Faceted pins have to be correct in fit and placed in the hole so when driven, they won't split the work. They should bite into the edges of the hole slightly crushing in where the corners of the pins make contact. Round dowels and pins are just fakes of a properly pinned M&T joint, lacking the correct grip. The pins are also draw bored. Meaning the hole in the tenon is offset from the holes through the cheek of the mortice. As the pin is driven in, it pulls the joint tightly together and this puts a slight bend in the pin, further helping to hold it in place. A sinewy type of straight grained wood is used, like oak, ash, hickory.
http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?sku=DP
Great summary. I like the look of square pegs so start with square pin and make the end that goes in an octagon so it inserts more easily. I just use a knife and make it crude since it won't be seen. Hammer home and flush cut it.
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post #6 of 18 Old 12-25-2012, 10:31 AM
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Or, just make your own. Several methods of doing it on the router table. I think Kenbo published one here a few weeks ago.
Here's one more way though
http://www.woodmagazine.com/woodwork...-router-table/

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
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post #7 of 18 Old 12-26-2012, 01:25 PM
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i make pegs using paring strokes with my chisels.

i cut the square blanks and chisel down.

go with the grain for bigger chunks, but when it gets smaller you don't need to worry with a sharp chisel.

another way is to get a nice and thick piece of metal, get a metal bit the size you're going for and one bigger than what you're going for. go all the way through with the small one and partially drill from the other side so that there's a beveled edge.

Get a section of your wood that's straight grain and smack the blanks through with a mallet. just vise the metal.

i've seen them with multiple sizes on one piece of metal. very easy and very quick once you've made the jig.
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post #8 of 18 Old 12-26-2012, 01:30 PM
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this guy didn't undercut. perhaps it works fine too. as always, green wood is easier to work with, and that is why your store bought dowels aren't exact sized. just like a 2x4. It's all cut green and kiln dried from the store.


Last edited by johnmark; 12-26-2012 at 01:35 PM.
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post #9 of 18 Old 12-27-2012, 03:09 PM
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I had good luck fitting 5/16" dowel, that was purchased at HD, in a hole drilled with a 3/8" forstner bit. It was a good snug fit. I may have gotten lucky with the fitting?
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post #10 of 18 Old 12-29-2012, 09:01 PM
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Another option that I learned from Sam Maloof at a workshop was to use long screws and end plugs to cover the hole. Look at some of his work and you'll see that he used this technique a lot.
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post #11 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 12:27 AM
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I've used square pegs for pinned mortise and tenons in shaker style cabinetry. Drill a round hole, whittle the end of your square peg round-ish, glue liberally and drive it home. Cut off with a pull saw or gents saw and sand flush. Careful how you orient the pegs, it will determine the finished look
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post #12 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 01:38 AM
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What amazes me is that pinned mortice and tenon joints were used in the oak cribs of Neolithic water wells
some 5500 BCE.
"Here's a sharp rock. Go over there and use it to whack a few oak trees.
Split the logs, square the timbers up and do the M&T corners while we dig
the hole for the new well."
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post #13 of 18 Old 12-30-2012, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Darn it, Jacko9! I wish you'd posted earlier. I like the idea of using long screws and covering them with a small plug, BUT I just ordered the dowel maker from Lie Nielsen! If I had seen your post earlier I could have saved myself $60

Oh well, I'll find some use for that dowel maker Can't have too many tools, right?

Thanks,

Kevin H.
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post #14 of 18 Old 12-31-2012, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjhart0133 View Post
Darn it, Jacko9! I wish you'd posted earlier. I like the idea of using long screws and covering them with a small plug, BUT I just ordered the dowel maker from Lie Nielsen! If I had seen your post earlier I could have saved myself $60

Oh well, I'll find some use for that dowel maker Can't have too many tools, right?

Thanks,

Kevin H.
Kevin, You can never have too many good tools and I always liked Lie-Nielsen tools.

Jack
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post #15 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 01:05 PM
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I like post #12. Those guys were real craftsmen. Why do I need two buildings full of tools to build a set of cabinets or a table?

Eugene

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Last edited by Eugene In NC; 01-01-2013 at 01:08 PM. Reason: typo
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post #16 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 02:45 PM
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The dowel maker is still of use. I cut square 5/16 stock , roughly whittle a round about 1/2 or so long on a 1 inch piece. Hammer it parkway thru the dowel former then knock it out. Dril a 5/16 hole while the joint is clamped, cut a small square hole in the first layer then drive the 1/2 round and 1/2 square peg in with lots of glue. Cut off with the flush saw After a few hours. Then sand with the ROS with a touch of glue. Properly oriented it makes a good looking peg.
It's not as time consuming as it sounds.
If the wood is softish then just the bit of whittling allowing the peg to crush for a tight fit.
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post #17 of 18 Old 01-01-2013, 03:04 PM
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Just make a square peg the same as the hole size and bang it in. At those small dimensions it won't matter. As you get past 1/2 you need to start rounding the square corners.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
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post #18 of 18 Old 01-03-2013, 10:29 AM
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Slightly visible on my router table.
1/4" aluminum pins on the rail, & they're also at every leg/rail connection.
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