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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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I'm building 4, 5' 8" garden gates and the edges of the 1x6 recaimed DF need to be mated nice and snug. My wife wants tongue and groove but I'm thinking a v-groove would be easier for a me, a Newbie, and just as effective. I don't have a table yet, but I have a heavy workbench and I thought that I'd clamp my pieces on the workbench and then free hand a chamfer bit top and bottom of one side and a V-groove on the other. If I make the groove a tad shallow, there will be a narrow channel between the boards and my wife will have a Merry Christmas. I hope that makes sense. What do you think? Thanks.
 

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I'm not a big fan of T & G since it requires you to mill a tongue and when you do you lose 1/4 to 1/2" of your wood. A spline is basically the same joint except that you groove both sides and create the spline from another board or from plywood. It sounds like these boards will have exposed ends so that the tongues would be visible so that would be a consideration.

However, it also sounds like these boards are going to be exposed to the weather so I don't recommend splines or T&G. The water the boards will absorb will cause major issues with the structure as well as promote rot in the joint itself if water goes into it. In a situation like that most garden gates are built with small gaps (1/4" to 1/2" e.g.) to allow for the expected expansions and contractions the wood will experience and they are held on with mechanical fasteners rather than glue. Mechanical fasteners will allow some movement while every glue joint I've ever tried failed. The frame you attach the boards to are the support frame which hold it all together which is usually the "Z" that is the standard frame.

This is probably not what your wife wants but is the practical solution.
 

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I'm not a big fan of T & G since it requires you to mill a tongue and when you do you lose 1/4 to 1/2" of your wood. A spline is basically the same joint except that you groove both sides and create the spline from another board or from plywood. It sounds like these boards will have exposed ends so that the tongues would be visible so that would be a consideration.

However, it also sounds like these boards are going to be exposed to the weather so I don't recommend splines or T&G. The water the boards will absorb will cause major issues with the structure as well as promote rot in the joint itself if water goes into it. In a situation like that most garden gates are built with small gaps (1/4" to 1/2" e.g.) to allow for the expected expansions and contractions the wood will experience and they are held on with mechanical fasteners rather than glue. Mechanical fasteners will allow some movement while every glue joint I've ever tried failed. The frame you attach the boards to are the support frame which hold it all together which is usually the "Z" that is the standard frame.

This is probably not what your wife wants but is the practical solution.
What he said. Too much wood movement from wet-dry cycles. If you must glue the boards together, just cut the existing rough edges off then glue the boards together with an edge-to-edge joint.
 

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Thinking some more about it maybe the splines could be made to work but here are the issues.

Each spline or tongue will support more weight and be subjected to additional stress as you move from the free end towards the hinges.

The individual boards will swell and contract with changes in humidity and you have to let them so you can't have any firmly attached cross bracing. You'll have to let the splines or tongues do all the work.

Because you can't use cross bracing a 1/2" tongue may not hold well enough to withstand all the force put on it. You may need deeper grooves which would be easiest done on the table saw.

You'll have to have a cap rail both to keep the gate straight and to prevent water from going down the joints. This cap rail can only be firmly attached at one point (I would attach it at the middle). The rest of the span has to float to allow movement. I would also slot the bottom of the uprights and put a spline in that groove to also help keep the gate from warping. The general rule in that case is that the spline is 1/3 the board thickness (approximately).
 

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Classtime; hey, welcome! We don't know where you're posting from, but if you were on the West Coast, or anywhere else it rains, or you have wet Winters, what Charles said about weather, in Spades!!!
If you see T&G exterior applications it's almost certainly something like Cedar. I love D. Fir, but not for the application you're talking about.
Having said that, if you enclosed the vertical applied boards in a 4 sided or maybe 3 sided frame, with the bottom open,, you might get away with it...but you'd need to reaaaaaly seal the wood! I mean Oil based; none of this Latex crap. It has to be WATERPROOF. It's still going to expand and contract, just not as much, so again, exactly what Charles said.
 

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blind the top of the spline as a weather cap for the spline...
leave the bottom open as a drain...
undersize the thickness of the spline a fuzz...
 

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It does make sense...you want that separated look between the boards...sorta like T-111 except you want a V between the boards...

You could bevel each piece on each of the faces and use a spline between them...will avoid having to V-groove precisely on one of the boards...

Your plan sounds like it would work but you will need to secure your pieces in order to cut the edges properly. Will you be using a router, handheld...? Or cutting the groove and bevels "au manual"...?
 

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use the female bit and splines...

.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Wow! Thanks for responding so qwickly.
I can't have any gaps and the splines are a great idea. They must be made with my new router or I'll have some explaining to do. I live in the Los Angeles area and the gates will be painted.

The current redwood gates that have been eaten by termites despite our efforts, are 2x6 tongue and groove exposed at the top and bottom with a 2x4 z brace.

My design so far has 1x6s as a panel with a 2x6 frame. Before I read your responses, I thought I might be able to use Titebond III and avoid a diagonal sag preventer. Now I'm thinking spline the panel together, spline the panel to the frame, lap joint the frame with some bolts, use a metal strap to prevent sagging, and no glue.

The DF that I am considering is reclaimed, more than 100 years old, rock solid (I built our dining table with it), reasonably priced and termites are not interested in it.
 
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