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Egg Spurt
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking of giving them a shot. I use dowels quite a bit, but have yet to give miller's a shot.. Anyone tried them yet and if so what do you think of them? They do require a special stepped drill bit, but it's not that costly compared to some other systems for joinery..
 

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Egg Spurt
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Discussion Starter #2
I do see a definite drawback to their business model other than the fact that making your own miller dowels is difficult, but they only sell packages of 100 at a time meaning you really can't buy 500-1000-5000, etc., unless you buy multiple sets of 100. I'll still try them, but if I find it's just too out of reach for us poor woodworkers then they lose a customer right from jump..
 

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I don't see any benefit. The taper ... isn't. Since it's NOT a taper, but a series of step down diameters, there'll be gaps at each step. Seems, somehow, less than sufficient/efficient. I just don't see where they're "better".

I'll stick with straight diameter dowels that don't need to be drilled to exact depths every time.
 

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I've seen them before and theY look cool. I'm curious how you plan to use them. Each time I've thought about trying them, I ended up using a screw and plug instead.
 

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Got me to look. :)

The Miller Dowel website says, "We developed the product, put up a booth at a convention, and a big buyer, Woodcraft™ though the idea was amazing." (They meant "thought.") I looked for them on Woodcraft's website. Woodcraft does not sell them now. You can buy them direct from Miller Dowel and on Amazon. I didn't look elsewhere. They seem expensive compared with other solutions.

I am open-minded about Miller dowels, but wonder whether they are a solution looking for a problem. So far, nobody who has actually used them has posted in this thread.
 

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Actually, they are quite simple to use..... that is the big advantage.

"There is nothing those dowels can do a straight dowel couldn't do easier and better."

As a mediocre woodworker, for me they offer a way of adding strength to a joint that is very simple and easily accomplished without having to be precise in laying out and drilling for regular dowels. I have used them on several projects. The biggest drawback is that the head of the dowel will be exposed. I have used that as part of the ornamentation....just cut it off and sand it smooth. The differentiation in color looks nice. I have also bought a doweling jig, which I still need to master, but as you guys already know, one must be precise in the layout. Regular dowels might be stronger....I don't know, but the Miller system is actually a really simple and handy way to tie joints together. (I actually used mine in most cases through a dado kind of like a pin through a through tenon on knock down furniture....so the dowel is helping to keep the piece tightly in the dado...but they would work well for miters too, and probably many other situations.)

For a guy like me...as a newbie who struggled with joinery, they are a good solution. I think they might also be good for you experts who just want to add a little reinforcement to your joinery. The only gripe I had would be that I needed to add a washer on the stop for the drill bit as it would tend to damage the surface of my project. On some holes, the bit is sometimes unexpectedly pulled inward while drilling. Otherwise, I give them a great review! Probably not for everyone though.


OK. Flame on! :smile2:

Cheers


Brad
 

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Don't laugh too hard at my amateur gun racks here ... :vs_laugh:

I made these a few years ago for the store that I manage. The criteria was that I wanted to get the guns up off of the floor at a better height, and adding extra storage space was a huge benefit. The problems were that I needed to build something "commercial" grade so that my sometimes neanderthal customers wouldn't tear it up, and my skills at the time were VERY limited...as were my tools.
I used Miller dowels for most of the joinery on the gun rack and base (two separate parts to get them in the door). I was quite apprehensive about making a box with a face frame.... again, joinery, but what would I do with the other three sides? I (obviously) made the base out of plywood....styled after my youth sleeping on a water bed. I didn't have a good solution for the exposed corners, and I was afraid of laminate not being bulletproof, so I made a 3"x3" (actually, probably 2 1/4" x 2 1/4") corner and dadoed the plywood into that. I used the Miller dowels for reinforcement on those joints. I liked them so much, I used them for all of the other exposed joints on the gun rack itself. I think they look nice...you you may have a different opinion. Remember, this was my first large project. I had actually used the Miller dowels before on some other racks that I also made out of oak to hold clothing.

Anyways, They have flaws, but they came out nice enough for our purposes at the store. They have seen heavy use for about 8 years now, and the only problems that I have had to repair is the leather coming off of the insets for the guns to rest in. The only other problem that I had was that the first one took me FOREVER to build (working a few hours in my spare time each weekend), and then they all liked it so much, they wanted a second one!

I used to have more pictures, but I think they were lost when my computer crashed a year or two ago...


Cheers!

Brad
 

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The biggest problem with doweling is the size of the hole. You buy dowels from the store that they have been sitting for weeks or months and because of humidity are certainly larger than when they were made. If you just purchase a drill bit that is 1/64" larger than the drill bit for the doweling jig and enlarge the holes the dowels will fit fine. Myself I made a cutting knife for a shaper to make dowels and make them 1/64" undersized so I don't have any issues. You would think the manufacturers of dowels would understand what happens storing dowels.
 

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Can someone post a picture of them? I don't understand what this is about.
I've never used them before but did a quick search on-line. Here's a description of what they're used for along with an image:


They are stepped dowels that allow easy alignment when making a butt joint. The main holding power comes from the ribbed sections. They work by holding more glue in gaps that really grabs the end grain. Also the ribs are pressed in so when the glue is applied, it slowly swells that part of dowel.

miller-dowels.jpg
 

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I've never used them before but did a quick search on-line. Here's a description of what they're used for along with an image:


They are stepped dowels that allow easy alignment when making a butt joint. The main holding power comes from the ribbed sections. They work by holding more glue in gaps that really grabs the end grain. Also the ribs are pressed in so when the glue is applied, it slowly swells that part of dowel.

View attachment 397349
Thank you. I don't know English and get lost when I use a software translation of the text. I've never seen a dowel like that. In Russia, they are not used. Thank you for the new information. It's good for me.
 

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Egg Spurt
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
The more I read about them the more i like them. I've used fluted dowels and absolutely hate them because A, they're very inconsistent and B, not very strong. They slide right out all too often.
Straight dowels often just push the glue out the other side if you're making a through dowel, but often leave no place for the glue to hang up. Of all plain, straight dowels for joinery I vastly prefer spirals over the others.
I was thinking these would cost a lot more than plain, straight dowel rod cut into 1, 2, or 3" sections, but I've used a LOT of those and it's quite a bit of work prepping them, tapering the ends, cutting grooves, etc..Heck, just cutting the pieces off the rod is a pain, forget the prep. After adding up the difference these are about the same price or even less, sometimes dramatically so.. Depending on where you buy dowels or even if you make your own they're still quite costly. Think about a 36" rod, cost can be up to $8 each and more for walnut and certain other species.. A 36" dowel will only yield 24 1.5" dowels and of course the longer your dowel the fewer pieces you get and that doesn't even mention how inconsistent store bought dowel rods can be. Sometimes you can visit several box stores and never find a single straight rod..
Anyway, I'm going to get a small assortment and see how they work out. I'm planning to build some furniture soon so this will be a good time to see how they work out or not.. I will sometimes make inexpensive pine tables and chairs to give away to people in dire need. I sometimes work with groups helping fire victims, homeless people and others who have lost everything they own. For the price of a 2x12 I can build 2 pretty darn nice dining room chairs. Last time they were all dowel joinery..

Here's prices at Taylortools.. https://taytools.com/collections/vendors?q=Miller Dowel

You can get 40 1X walnut dowels (2 5/8" each) for $16. Compare that to 2 36" 3/8" walnut rods before all the work of prepping them.. Sounds like a bargain to me.
 

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I will sometimes make inexpensive pine tables and chairs to give away to people in dire need. I sometimes work with groups helping fire victims, homeless people and others who have lost everything they own. For the price of a 2x12 I can build 2 pretty darn nice dining room chairs.
That is a very cool way to utilize your skills. I don't have much in the way of free time right now, but I'm going to look into something like that. That is awesome! First I need to learn how to make simple furniture though...


Brad
 
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