Recommended Joint - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-05-2020, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Question Recommended Joint

Newbie woodworker here (and first time post!). I'm building a pool cue holder for my new pool table (see attached model). I need a few recommendations for joints.

Originally I wanted to do all mortise and tenon. However, while I've been able to create extremely good tenons on my table saw, I am having a really hard time creating straight mortises in the face of the wood with my router. The wood I am using is 3/4" solid Red Oak hardwood. The router bit I have is a 1/4" up spiral bit. Originally I tried creating a 3/8" mortise by starting with my 1/4" spiral bit then creating a hole large enough for a 3/8" straight bit. But I couldn't get the darn mortise straight. Finally I tried just sticking with a 1/4" size mortise because then I wouldn't have to change bits but still couldn't get the mortise straight. The connecting board always was slightly crooked. Needless to say, I need more practice making mortises. My budget is tight and I can't purchase additional bits right now.

I'd like your opinions on alternate joints for A, B and C. I was thinking:

A: Dado Joint
B: Dado Joint
C: Butt Joint

I'm just worried that a dado joint for A and B wont make the final piece look very nice since they will be up front and centre. I've considered pocket screws but want to avoid that since I don't like the look.
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-05-2020, 04:06 PM
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I cheat. I use dado grooves&glue - no fasteners.


then I put some banding on to cover the joints.
are the shelves to hold the billiard balls? if so, the edge banding can extend up and serve a 'don't roll off' purpose....
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-05-2020, 04:23 PM
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Are you using a guide for the router or trying to freehand?
I would use stop dados for all the joints. You still need a guide.
Notch out the front of the boards to match.
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-05-2020, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCT2 View Post
I cheat. I use dado grooves&glue - no fasteners.

then I put some banding on to cover the joints.
are the shelves to hold the billiard balls? if so, the edge banding can extend up and serve a 'don't roll off' purpose....
I also don't want to use any fasteners. The shelves are indeed to hold the billiard balls. I've never used banding before. It feels odd to have to use banding when I'm already using solid hardwood. It was pretty expensive wood too, I feel as if adding banding would be super cheap lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pretender View Post
Are you using a guide for the router or trying to freehand?
I would use stop dados for all the joints. You still need a guide.
Notch out the front of the boards to match.
I tried to use a make shift fence on one side of the router and freehand move it down the board but no matter what I did I couldn't keep it straight. Also setting up the fence of the mortise was really difficult to ensure it was perfectly parallel with the board.

I didn't know about a stop dado till you mentioned it but that would be perfect! Only issue is, I was able to make perfect dados with my table saw but I don't see how you can make a stop dado without a router so I'm back to router issues.

James

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post #5 of 14 Old 10-05-2020, 06:41 PM
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a butt joint and a m&t and a stopped dado joint will all look the same from the front edge, so I may be missing something.



the banding allows you to 'show' once continuous strip top to bottom. it's hardly a 'cheap effort' solution - the banding width must match the board width, very careful glue on / clamping needed, with lots of final hand sanding. otoh, using the same species and grain direction, you can pretty much make the banding disappear....



for "difficult showing off" do dovetail joints.
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-05-2020, 07:34 PM
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I am currently working on a similar project, and have been taking step-by-step photos. I had planned to post all of them later, when the project is complete. Since some of the photos will help James with his project, here is an early preview - selected photos that show how I made stopped dados for shelves.

-> What I like most about this method is that each side is guaranteed to line up with the other side.

Photos:

* 1 Router Guide with a clamped stop block, sitting on a scrap of board for testing.
Note: It did not take much time to make it from scrapwood. The two fences that press against the board are 90 degrees to the guide rails. When you make your own, it should be a good fit, but be careful not to make it too snug. Test the squareness with your combination square and the fit with your router base immediately after you clamp it for gluing.

If you take a close look (double-click the photo), you can see the two thin pencil lines on the fence that show the center of my router for each orientation of the flat face of the router base. Use the pencil line to line up with the marks for your dados on your boards. A little paste wax buffed into the guide helps the router move smoothly.

* 2 Router Base in router guide.

* 3 Router ready to cut a dado on marked board.
Note: There is an alignment mark on the side of my router, and I made a matching mark on the router guide for where to plunge in to start each dado. You must be very careful to get it right. The stop block on the other side makes the end gap match the start gap.

* 4 Board with stopped dados showing router guide still clamped after the final dado.

* 5 Completed dados in the board.

* 6 Finding center of board before rip cut on table saw.

* 7 Separated boards after rip cut.
Yeah, you can see additional dado cuts and rabbets for other aspects of the project. More about them in the future.

* 8 Shelves in place for early test dry fitting with clamps.
Note: Not shown - The front of the shelves were rounded to match the dados. It was not necessary, but this is a special project and I wanted it to look "real perty".

To James: I hope this helps.

To everyone else: Sorry for the early spoiler.
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-05-2020, 07:44 PM
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what is "banding" ......?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCT2 View Post
a butt joint and a m&t and a stopped dado joint will all look the same from the front edge, so I may be missing something.

the banding allows you to 'show' one continuous strip top to bottom. it's hardly a 'cheap effort' solution - the banding width must match the board width, very careful glue on / clamping needed, with lots of final hand sanding. otoh, using the same species and grain direction, you can pretty much make the banding disappear....

for "difficult showing off" do dovetail joints.

When you need to use banding to conceal your dados, it need only be 1/16" thick and that way it will disappear with the grain and color match the surrounding wood. Obviously, it must also be made from the same wood that you are trying to conceal the joinery on.

Stopped dados will be more difficult than through dados which could be more easily done using the table saw. Stopped dados can only best be made with a router and a guide using a bearing or guide bushing to limit the travel and constrain the side to side play. Once you make the router jig/guide, the process will be easy and fairly fast.
It's kinda up to you which method you'd be more comfortable with.... but make some practice pieces to get the feel of it first!

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 #8 of 14 Old 10-06-2020, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
I am currently working on a similar project, and have been taking step-by-step photos. I had planned to post all of them later, when the project is complete. Since some of the photos will help James with his project, here is an early preview - selected photos that show how I made stopped dados for shelves.

-> What I like most about this method is that each side is guaranteed to line up with the other side.

Photos:

* 1 Router Guide with a clamped stop block, sitting on a scrap of board for testing.
Note: It did not take much time to make it from scrapwood. The two fences that press against the board are 90 degrees to the guide rails. When you make your own, it should be a good fit, but be careful not to make it too snug. Test the squareness with your combination square and the fit with your router base immediately after you clamp it for gluing.

If you take a close look (double-click the photo), you can see the two thin pencil lines on the fence that show the center of my router for each orientation of the flat face of the router base. Use the pencil line to line up with the marks for your dados on your boards. A little paste wax buffed into the guide helps the router move smoothly.

* 2 Router Base in router guide.

* 3 Router ready to cut a dado on marked board.
Note: There is an alignment mark on the side of my router, and I made a matching mark on the router guide for where to plunge in to start each dado. You must be very careful to get it right. The stop block on the other side makes the end gap match the start gap.

* 4 Board with stopped dados showing router guide still clamped after the final dado.

* 5 Completed dados in the board.

* 6 Finding center of board before rip cut on table saw.

* 7 Separated boards after rip cut.
Yeah, you can see additional dado cuts and rabbets for other aspects of the project. More about them in the future.

* 8 Shelves in place for early test dry fitting with clamps.
Note: Not shown - The front of the shelves were rounded to match the dados. It was not necessary, but this is a special project and I wanted it to look "real perty".

To James: I hope this helps.

To everyone else: Sorry for the early spoiler.
Wow this is great! I really appreciate the spoiler in effort to help me out. I love this idea and I think I need to start taking the time to make the jigs to accomplish techniques like this.

Last night I decided to practice making mortises again and I was successful in making straight, perfect 1/4" mortises. My earlier problems were with my clamps. I was only using 1 clamp to hold my fence and it wasn't stable enough and caused it to still move while riding the router along it. Two clamps solved that problem. The setup for each mortise takes a while but a little bit of patience goes along way (this is something I'm learning as I increase my skills).

That being said, now I'm wondering if I switch to a stop dado. I like the look yours gives. I'd have to rip my shelves down since they are perfectly the same width as the rails at the moment.

One question, you said 'The front of the shelves were rounded to match the dados. It was not necessary, but this is a special project and I wanted it to look "real perty".' ... If you didn't round over the shelves, would you have used a chisel to square up the rounded dados on the rails?

James

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post #9 of 14 Old 10-06-2020, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDee View Post
Wow this is great! I really appreciate the spoiler in effort to help me out. I love this idea and I think I need to start taking the time to make the jigs to accomplish techniques like this.

Last night I decided to practice making mortises again and I was successful in making straight, perfect 1/4" mortises. My earlier problems were with my clamps. I was only using 1 clamp to hold my fence and it wasn't stable enough and caused it to still move while riding the router along it. Two clamps solved that problem. The setup for each mortise takes a while but a little bit of patience goes along way (this is something I'm learning as I increase my skills).

That being said, now I'm wondering if I switch to a stop dado. I like the look yours gives. I'd have to rip my shelves down since they are perfectly the same width as the rails at the moment.

One question, you said 'The front of the shelves were rounded to match the dados. It was not necessary, but this is a special project and I wanted it to look "real perty".' ... If you didn't round over the shelves, would you have used a chisel to square up the rounded dados on the rails?
Answering the direct question first:
I had not really thought about alternatives to rounding over the shelves. In my mind, I had always designed it with the rounded fronts on the shelves to match the routed dados. If you look at the overall design, you will see other rounded elements that unify the whole.

Here are some alternatives for you:
* Don't do anything and leave the mismatch. I wonder whether anyone would notice.
* Chisel the dados as you suggest to match the square shelves.
* Instead of rounding, chamfer the front of the shelves with a tilted blade on the table saw as a close approximation to the round dado - quick and easy. Tilt the blade, cut one chamfer, flip the board, and cut the other chamfer. Leave the front "face" flat.
* Notch the ends on the front of the shelves, thus covering the front of the dados, like a tenon/mortise. If you do that, you wouldn't have to rip the shelves down. The shelves could still "match the rails." You could notch the ends with the miter gauge or a miter fence on the table saw. Hold the shelves up-and-down and pass the ends over the blade.
* Probably lots of other great ideas that I haven't thought of myself. I hope that others jump in and offer more suggestions.

I used a router table to round off the fronts of the shelves on my design. If you use a roundover bearing bit without a router table, the top side will be correct, but then when you flip the board to do the other side, the bearing will go too far and the roundover will cut too deep on the second pass.

-> Don't leave knife sharp edges along the front of the shelves. Sand them, round them, chamfer them, use a hand plane, etc. but do something.

FYI: For other aspects of this project, I used a 1/16 inch roundover bit to get a consistent, uniform soft look and feel.

Additional comment:

Are your shelves 1/4 inch thick? If so, will they flex under the weight of pool table balls? How will you keep the balls from rolling off?

We have a wood pool cue holder similar to your design. It was a gift, and it was cheaply made. The shelves for the balls are 3/4 inch thick, with a wide cove cut down the middle of each shelf to contain the balls. I used figure 8 calipers to measure the coves. The thickness of the coves in the middle is 1/2 inch. If I were making the same thing, I would make a cove cutting jig and use the table saw to cut the coves.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-06-2020, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
Answering the direct question first:
I had not really thought about alternatives to rounding over the shelves. In my mind, I had always designed it with the rounded fronts on the shelves to match the routed dados. If you look at the overall design, you will see other rounded elements that unify the whole.

Here are some alternatives for you:
* Don't do anything and leave the mismatch. I wonder whether anyone would notice.
* Chisel the dados as you suggest to match the square shelves.
* Instead of rounding, chamfer the front of the shelves with a tilted blade on the table saw as a close approximation to the round dado - quick and easy. Tilt the blade, cut one chamfer, flip the board, and cut the other chamfer. Leave the front "face" flat.
* Notch the ends on the front of the shelves, thus covering the front of the dados, like a tenon/mortise. If you do that, you wouldn't have to rip the shelves down. The shelves could still "match the rails." You could notch the ends with the miter gauge or a miter fence on the table saw. Hold the shelves up-and-down and pass the ends over the blade.
* Probably lots of other great ideas that I haven't thought of myself. I hope that others jump in and offer more suggestions.

I used a router table to round off the fronts of the shelves on my design. If you use a roundover bearing bit without a router table, the top side will be correct, but then when you flip the board to do the other side, the bearing will go too far and the roundover will cut too deep on the second pass.

-> Don't leave knife sharp edges along the front of the shelves. Sand them, round them, chamfer them, use a hand plane, etc. but do something.

FYI: For other aspects of this project, I used a 1/16 inch roundover bit to get a consistent, uniform soft look and feel.

Additional comment:

Are your shelves 1/4 inch thick? If so, will they flex under the weight of pool table balls? How will you keep the balls from rolling off?

We have a wood pool cue holder similar to your design. It was a gift, and it was cheaply made. The shelves for the balls are 3/4 inch thick, with a wide cove cut down the middle of each shelf to contain the balls. I used figure 8 calipers to measure the coves. The thickness of the coves in the middle is 1/2 inch. If I were making the same thing, I would make a cove cutting jig and use the table saw to cut the coves.
Great suggestions, I'm so glad I posted my predicament here. First thing I'm going to do is build the jig you posted. After looking at the bits I have for my router I'm still leaning towards a mortise only because I don't have a 3/4" straight bit to make a stop dado the right size. I could use my smaller but that would require more passes and my inexperience leads me to believe there is more risk is messing up. After I make the jig I'll try both and see how it goes.

All the wood in my schematic (rails and shelves) are 3/4" red oak. It's the 1x4x8 moulding from home depot. It's expensive but I don't have a jointer or planer so I needed to get as flat and straight wood as possible.

The schematic doesn't show on the shelves but I will be using a forstner bit to drill round holes to hold all the balls. I think I have it at 8 balls per shelve (8 ball and snooker set). It also doesn't show that the top cross part of the piece will be a 5" piece cut in half to make a cleat in order to mount it to the wall. The bottom cleat will be cut to the exact width between the rails and the top will be mortise and tenon to the rails.

I will indeed soften the edges of by hand sanding. I thought about a round over but think I'll stick to sanding the edges down.
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Last edited by JDee; 10-06-2020 at 01:34 PM.
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post #11 of 14 Old 10-06-2020, 01:40 PM
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As someone also fairly new to this hobby, I'm making and buying jigs on every new project, it seems. I suspect you will too...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDee View Post
Great suggestions, I'm so glad I posted my predicament here. First thing I'm going to do is build the jig you posted. After looking at the bits I have for my router I'm still leaning towards a mortise only because I don't have a 3/4" straight bit to make a stop dado the right size. I could use my smaller but that would require more passes and my inexperience leads me to believe there is more risk is messing up. After I make the jig I'll try both and see how it goes.
When cutting the stop dado with a router jig, I would not prefer to have a 3/4" bit just the right size for your shelf. There are two problems with that plan. 1) The odds that your shelf is exactly 3/4" thick are slim, and while it may be on this project, more often (for me at least) the shelf is "whatever size I decided to thickness it to", which is often more like 1/2". And 2) by definition a router will cut one edge nicely, and the other edge not so nicely. Running the router back and forth in the groove to get each edge on the correct cut will make for a cleaner cut, with less forcing of things. So I tend to use my 3/8" straight bit for stop dados.
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post #12 of 14 Old 10-06-2020, 02:35 PM
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Sounds great.

FYI:
Straight router bits are not always designed for plunging. Only the ones that have cutting edges on top are designed for plunging. They are sometimes labeled "plunge router bits." If you look carefully at the top, you can see the cutters that go from the center to the edge. Spiral router bits can also also used for plunge cuts. I used an upcut spiral bit for the dados in my project.
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post #13 of 14 Old 10-06-2020, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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After work today I got into the garage, determined to make this jig. First attempt was a flop. I quickly realized I had no idea how to make things parallel and square. Clamping things down and getting it perfect is great till you need to unclamp to glue up.

Second attempt I’m happy to report was near perfect to a hair width square. I happen to have two squares that were large enough and clamped them together at the right width. Lined up the runners, measured and bingo. Glue down of the MDF rails was done and squared without clamps as I don’t have bench dogs or any other way to put a clamp so far into the bench I made.

I’ll let the glue dry overnight and give it a shot tomorrow.
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post #14 of 14 Old 10-06-2020, 09:42 PM
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Here are a few hints on getting basic L-jigs square.

Don't bother with glue for jigs. Use screws.

Mark a 90 line on the bottom piece. Set the top piece along the line. Use a combo square to make sure you have 90. Clamp them together, and drive in one screw. Check that they're still square, and if so, drive in another screw. I like to use 1" #8 particle board screws for plywood jigs.
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