Question: Biscuites vs. Doweles, Asking Harry's Opinion As Well As Others - Page 3 - Router Forums
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post #21 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 09:29 AM
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100% Mortise & Tenon joinery
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post #22 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 10:52 AM
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Seems like a perfect application for mortise & tennon joinery. Use loose tenons if the pieces are already cut. Maybe dominoes (expensive?).
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post #23 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bowen View Post
My question is whether or not the miter lock joint is strong enough or not for this application. I became intrigued with the concept of the miter lock joint recently and purchased the bits from Infinity along with their set up jigs and wanted to try them. It may well be that they are not suitable for where I have been planning on using them in this project and if not I need to change my design, but I had hoped that they would work as they would form a nice clean looking corner joint.
A locking-miter profile falls into the spline joint family of joining techniques. Also in this family are dado's, rabbet (drawer-locking) joints, T&G, floating splines... Long mortise/tenon joints, span over into this category.

Of other joining techniques also mentioned in this thread-- mortise & tenon, biscuit, , dowels, domino, etc... All fall into the same family of mortise and tenon-- of which biscuits, dowels, domino, are all forms of floating tenons.

Historically, a locking miter joints were first used for making columns (making 4 pieces of lumber look like one beam.) So the profile was cut alone with the direction of the grain. This was a very strong joining technique, meant to last for years of service.

Later this same profile was used for medium sized boxes, such as drawers. Using in this way, it is cut into the end grain. This profile cut in this manner can be used as a corner or as a glue-up profile. It is still a strong joint, gluing end grain fibers to end grain fibers.

This is also what M&T joining does- gluing end-grain fibers together, both methods cut in a manner to extend the gluing surface. As you look at structural factors, the larger the tenon or loose tenon, then the stronger it is-- so a dowel is stronger than a biscuit; an oblong loose tenon (like the brand name domino is), is stronger than a round dowel... and so on.

A true M&T or spline joint is stronger than a floating tenon or floating spline, because there is no interruption of the grain fibers.

Considerations for spline joint joining goes by size of the grain and the cross-sectional thickness. from thin to 5/8", a rabbet joint is stronger than a butt joint, but somewhat too small to attempt a miter lock joint. 3/8" to 7/8" locking miter joints. 5/8" and above usually go back to rabbet joints and other spline joints.

Why the range? Because of expansion/contraction, how things fit together and strength. How things fit together in a chest-- and how things pull apart, a spline joint keeps a bottom from dropping down better than a locking-miter joint. That's just the physics of the forces being applied. A locking miter may look better, It may display more talent in getting it correct and looking right, but if you are asking what is stronger,... in that application for that one piece, that is not joint as strong in that application. (Spline keys and dovetail keys would help make a miter or miter-lock joint oppose those kinds of forces.)

But who the heck cares about if it will hold an elephants weight through a long-mast ship's voyage, eh? Lots of fine furnishing didn't make those kinds of voyages.) A locking miter would look nicer (if you get it right)... just as (to me) dovetails look nicer than box joints. Where I love asymmetric dovetailing in blanket chests <> looking as one piece (a mitered joint, locking or not, not showing any end-grain) is another nice effect, look and feel. Any technique, if done right would be strong enough for a small chest to last years. Besides, that joining technique falls along with the design you had in your head and have already started.

EDIT-- Notice I didn't mention pocket screw joints. I use them. But I think they have their time and place. They are quick and easy. But realistically, they are reinforced butt joints. That is not a criticism or judgement. Just an observation of what they are and where they fall into as a category. Judge for yourself on your own.

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Last edited by MAFoElffen; 06-26-2014 at 02:12 PM.
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post #24 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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A locking-miter profile falls into the spline joint family of joining techniques. Also in this family are dado's, rabbet (drawer-locking) joints, T&G, floating splines... Long mortise/tenon joints, span over into this category.

Of other joining techniques also mentioned in this thread-- mortise & tenon, biscuit, , dowels, domino, etc... All fall into the same family of mortise and tenon-- of which biscuits, dowels, domino, are all forms of floating tenons.

Historically, a locking miter joints were first used for making columns (making 4 pieces of lumber look like one beam.) So the profile was cut alone with the direction of the grain. This was a very strong joining technique, meant to last for years of service.

Later this same profile was used for medium sized boxes, such as drawers. Using in this way, it is cut into the end grain. This profile cut in this manner can be used as a corner or as a glue-up profile. It is still a strong joint, gluing end grain fibers to end grain fibers.

This is also what M&T joining does- gluing end-grain fibers together, both methods cut in a manner to extend the gluing surface. As you look at structural factors, the larger the tenon or loose tenon, then the stronger it is-- so a dowel is stronger than a biscuit; an oblong loose tenon (like the brand name domino is), is stronger than a round dowel... and so on.

A true M&T or spline joint is stronger than a floating tenon or floating spline, because there is no interruption of the grain fibers.

Considerations for spline joint joining goes by size of the grain and the cross-sectional thickness. from thin to 5/8", a rabbet joint is stronger than a butt joint, but somewhat too small to attempt a miter lock joint. 3/8" to 7/8" locking miter joints. 5/8" and above usually go back to rabbet joints and other spline joints.

Why the range? Because of expansion/contraction, how things fit together and strength. How things fit together in a chest-- and how things pull apart, a spline joint keeps a bottom from dropping down better than a locking-miter joint. That's just the physics of the forces being applied. A locking miter may look better, It may display more talent in getting it correct and looking right, but if you are asking what is stronger,... in that application for that one piece, that is not joint as strong in that application. (Spline keys and dovetail keys would help make a miter or miter-lock joint oppose those kinds of forces.)

But who the heck cares about if it will hold an elephants weight through a long-mast ship's voyage, eh? Lots of fine furnishing didn't make those kinds of voyages.) A locking miter would look nicer (if you get it right)... just as (to me) dovetails look nicer than box joints. Where I love asymmetric dovetailing in blanket chests <> looking as one piece (a mitered joint, locking or not, not showing any end-grain) is another nice effect, look and feel. Any technique, if done right would be strong enough for a small chest to last years. Besides, that joining technique falls along with the design you had in your head and have already started.

EDIT-- Notice I didn't mention pocket screw joints. I use them. But I think they have their time and place. They are quick and easy. But realistically, they are reinforced butt joints. That is not a criticism or judgement. Just an observation of what they are and where they fall into as a category. Judge for yourself on your own.

Mike,
This post is, in my opinion anyway, an outstanding tretise on the subject of joinery. As everyone that follows me on the foum knows, I did buy the miter lock bits and with the set up jig I was able to make the cuts right off the bat. Also, as I said, all of the parts for my project are cut out including the corners with the miter lock joints cut in them. I got hung up in my attempt to construct the lid, spent a lot of time trying to overcome a mistake, consequently the assembly of the chest really got delayed. This thread got started and the subject of the miter lock joint has come up and may be a good thing. I say that because if it had not come up and I had gone ahead and used the design and it did not work, I would have been in for another disappointment. However, I'm not certain that you completely nixed the idea. The material is 3/4" thick. That means that the the distance across the 45 degree cut is .75 x 1.4142" or about .86" and the miter lock cuts are cut into that increasing the surface considerably more than that which when your explanatation is applied, that being the importance of surface area, the joint begins to look like it "might work".

This is where I get into trouble with my interest in woodworking. I think along these lines of seeing that something might work and just can't leave it alone until I try it and find out for myself why it will or won't work. Finding out for myself is the lure of it and what causes some to not understand. I have no problem with finding out that I'm wrong, that is how I learn which is repeat of what I have said so many times before..

Today I e-mailed a member of the forum that has been a big help to me. I told him that I have seriously thought of selling all of my tools and finding a new hobby due to the fact that woodworking is not something that I have a natural instinct for. That may well be true and what I need to admit to myself and stay focused on is that perhaps I am more interested in experimenting than I am in completing a project. This tendency may not be such a bad thing but maybe it's so different from the mentality of the majority of the members of the forum that it is the reason that I seem to always be running against the grain. I'm just trying to figure out why I have, from the get go, run against the norm of the forum.

I am who I am, and I think that I just need to except that and keep doing things my way and not let what others say bother me so much. Being a wonderfully talented woodworker may not need to be one's goal, but rather doing what one enjoys with one's woodworking endeavors may be much more important. This thread, while being somewhat controversial may be just what the doctor ordered in order for me to figure out what is going on with me. Believe me, I have been doing some serious soul searching and I thank all of the members that have ppsted to the thread, you have all been of help to me in my beginning to understand myself.

Jerry
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post #25 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 08:12 PM
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........I probably tried dowels too early in my woodworking and never really got over some of the traumatic experiences when thos suckers don't line up!!.......
Oh so true
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post #26 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 09:38 PM
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Jerry,

Please do not be discouraged. You do good work. Your are on an adventure to learn and better yourself. Experimentation is how I learn also.

With my experimentation, I have learned and am still learning. Sometimes my experimentation was way outside the box. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not. I especially like when someone says something cannot be done... and I think it is still possible. That is a challenge I like to take on.

Who cares what others think or say (I keep saying that). You are your biggest critic. (I have also told you that I few times).Please lighten up and just do it... remebering to have fun and take it easy on yourself. One thing I have told myself all my life since I was kid: If I try at something with all my being and I fail at it, I can say I tried whole heartedly. I didn't set myself up for failure. It just didn't work out."

But then again, I've also say you need to be just a little bit crazy and keep a sense of humor to get by..." Just do it and see how it turns out. That is also something I have told you. I know you will learn as you do things. I am not good in all things. I except that. That is only natural. In things I am good at, I had to work at it and practice. There was work and struggle, learning from what worked and what failed. That has shaped me to who I am today, as it should for others... We should be able to learn from our mistakes and not relive them. Things are not always easy or natural.

I don't know who sets "normal." That is a mystery to me and I don't understand people who try to measure themselves to that. I certainly do not think of myself as being normal. LOL.

Be well my friend. You will do just fine.

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Last edited by MAFoElffen; 06-26-2014 at 09:41 PM.
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post #27 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-26-2014, 11:30 PM
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I agree with Doug's reply. Personally I use biscuit joinery in almost all of my non -corner joints because they are fast, easy and never have any alignment problems.I probably tried dowels too early in my woodworking and never really got over some of the traumatic experiences when thos suckers don't line up!!
Interesting. I first used dowels when putting together a small cherry wood bookcase. When I was in the 10th grade. Used a brace and bit to drill the holes, no problems whatsoever. That was in 1954/5. Still got the bookcase, and it's as solid as it was new. I did have a pretty good shop instructor. Back then, our first year of shop was in the 9th grade. No power tools until the 10th grade tho.

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post #28 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 01:27 PM
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(Bump)

Thread has been reopened..

play nice..

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post #29 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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(Bump)

Thread has been reopened..

play nice..

bill
I am getting the feeling that most of the negative thinking on dowels is that they can give one real heart burn if not done perfectly and the absence of a good tool or jig is the cuprilt, not the concept. I have experimented with the JessEm jig enough to have a lot of confidence in it's accuracy.

Would some other members that have the JessEm jig like to comment on it and tell me if they agree with me or if they have found any fatal flaw in there use that I may have over looked. since we are discussing the advantages and disadvantages of both biscuits and dowels and so far dowels are the ones that seem to get least support, I'm of the opinion at this point that we might need to discuss why dowels are less popular. It seems that dowels would be stronger than biscuits, but they do have to be installed properly. O.K. I'm waiting for comments.

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post #30 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 03:24 PM
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I've noted about strength. Now for the other side of it. Each step up is stronger, but more labor and skill intensive/

- Pocket screws are easier to do than than cutting biscuits. You only tool one side. Then sink a screw into the other side. I glue and clamp the side together to help prevent the screws from kicking that opposite side from kicking out while attaching them. Ise them allot with cabinet face frames, where the off side is not seen (it is not a blind joint)... and other adjacent joints are going to help strengthen it.

- Biscuits are easier to do than dowels. It is a blind joint, meaning it is hidden, not seen when finsihed. It is a lose tenon joint, where you extend the surface of the glued joint. They help keep things alighed and together whiel gue dries. Wafers them selves are usually pressed hardwood. Being "pressed" the grain is compromised during that process. Being you are cutting a slot in two sides of a joint and putting it together, it takes more care in getting those cuts lined up for that... but the way a biscuit jointer does that makes that easy (with a little practice). The grooves and biscuits are not a tight-pressed fit, so there is room for fudging that alignment until the glue dries. Example of how it holds things together and aligned-- As a finish carpenter/joiner-- at the one million dollar mark (value of a home) we when from butt joints in trim, to adding biscuits in trim, to hold them in closer alignment, for longer years of service.

Dowels are harder to do than biscuits. I started doing these years ago with dowel pins and freehand electric drills. Many people are going to give up if they start out that way. Holes need to be fairly lined up with each other in relation to the pieces you are putting together. There are jigs to make that all easier and more accurate. That is hard to do freehand. I've done it long enough to be able to do some freehand, but have had enough failure rate at that, to know that that technique has a high failure rate. It is a sronger join...but learning to do it well and easily has probably turned most people away from it. Get or make yourself a doweling jig and learn to use it. I use dowel on higher end cabinets and even used them in conjunction with spliine joints. Some people think you need to have a pressed fit... Actually not so. It should be a loose to lose-snug fit. That what you can still adjust the alignment until the glue dires... and you leave run for there to be enough glue for a good bond.

Oblong floating tenons. Very good joint. Takes the skill of doing dowels, so laying out for the mortises (holes) take care and time. Easily done with a good jig and router. Strong joint. Again, leave room between for glue and alignment adjustment. I hate to plug a brand or imply to someone to spend money, but the domino system made this easy to do, just as a biscuit jointer did foe doing bisicuits. A good router jig comes in second. I do this for higher end furnishing, cabinet facings, etc.

Spline joints and joining... (including drawer lock and miter lock joints)-- You extend the glue surface more so the joint is just stronger(bigger period). You pn the joints so the slpine and grain help hold things together. Takes time in setup and tooiling, Diffrent slpine joints are easier to lineup with other pieces and are more or less forgiving than others. You have to use your head and pplan ahead and it takes math to get things setup and lined up with eact other... but when done right and it goes together,,, I feel stronger (within it own applications) than traditional M&T joining and more forgiving with alignment. I do this on cabinet boxes and joining cabinet faces to those boxes.

M&T -- strong, rough service, HD applications... Usually where the customer wants to pay for it and usually requests it. Although low end applications for chairs and benches, work tables, etc. Takes skill and time to get the alignment and both pieces fitted. I do a lot of my tenons on my panel saw or a router table. Mortises with a router, a drill and chisels.

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