Question: Biscuites vs. Doweles, Asking Harry's Opinion As Well As Others - Page 4 - Router Forums
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post #31 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 12:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Jerry Bowen View Post
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.
Jerry
Been a long time since I used dowels. I have plans to use some in a project for my grand-daughter, as soon as I come up with a design I really like - a small chest in fact. The dowels will be for decoration mostly, but I anticipate no problem with accuracy. I'll just drill pilot holes thru the two pieces involved at the same time, and repeat untill finished. If it turns out I will need a jig or fixture, no problem, I'll make one. In fact, could even just drill a hole thru one, and put in short pieces. My personal thought is that dowels are stronger than biscuits. Regardless, I think dowels are also simpler (read cost less for tools to use them) than biscuits. I also think glue strips are probably stronger than biscuits, and very simple. I have no problem aligning pieces, for a chest say, with clamps, or have been known to make glue-up jigs, also simple to use, and simple to make.

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post #32 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 05:29 AM
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I have used dowels, biscuits, pocket screws, splines and mortise and tenon in various projects over the years. (oh and 'but' joints...)

Each has it's own uses, IMO, some add strength [ m&t, pocket screws and dowels] some make alignment easier.

The most important aspect is that the pieces to be joined be flat and square..

To get back to Jerry's original question (biscuits v dowel), it depends which is more important. Dowels for alignment and strength, biscuits where alignment is the major factor.

For a frame, I would use dowels. My first choice would be M&T, but Jerry has excluded that joint.

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post #33 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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I have used dowels, biscuits, pocket screws, splines and mortise and tenon in various projects over the years. (oh and 'but' joints...)

Each has it's own uses, IMO, some add strength [ m&t, pocket screws and dowels] some make alignment easier.

The most important aspect is that the pieces to be joined be flat and square..

To get back to Jerry's original question (biscuits v dowel), it depends which is more important. Dowels for alignment and strength, biscuits where alignment is the major factor.

For a frame, I would use dowels. My first choice would be M&T, but Jerry has excluded that joint.
James,
While I have indeed excluded M&T joints in the question. I sure do agree that they would be a good choice. The truth of the matter is that I have wanted to use my new doweling jig and have planned to do so, but really wanted Harry's input due to his earlier encouragement to use biscuits. His reasoning on the biscuits was very good and came from his honest observation about my vision issue. Just for the record, my vision problem would not be an issue if I were to use dowels, this is due to the way the JessEm dowieling jig is made and how it is used. The issue with my vision is primarily that of seeing well enough to read detail in which I need magnification to do so. Obviously I am wanting to use my new dowling jig.

Right now, due to recent rain in West Texas I have been very busy cutting grass and weeds that have sprung up. I have about two acres of ground that I have to keep mowed and trimmed up, about half of that is actual lawn. Consequently I am spending any time in the shop.

I was working on the lid to the chest project and really got it screwed up due to not taking Harry''s advise about using biscuits when fitting the frame to the lid. I don't have enough material on hand to start over on the lid and will have to drive a hundred miles each way t buy more material. When I do that I'll buy enough material for the new lid plus enough for a second chest. I'm sure that I am repeating myself, but I don't recall all of what I have said earlier, so just bare with me and skip what you don't want to read.

By the way, the term "floating tenon" keeps coming up and I am not sure what this term means unless it is the joint that uses a large piece that resembles a very large biscuit that fits into the space that a normal tenon would fit but is not part of one of the two pieces. I have seriously been wondering buying the jig for that type of joint.

Jerry
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post #34 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 11:22 AM
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Jerry,,, these links should provide a nice explanation of "loose tenons" or "floating tenon" for you:

Loose Tenon Joinery - Woodworking Techniques - American Woodworker

Router Joinery Basics: Loose Tenons - YouTube

Floating Tenons. - YouTube

There are other methods but the concept remains the same...

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post #35 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 12:04 PM Thread Starter
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Jerry,,, these links should provide a nice explanation of "loose tenons" or "floating tenon" for you:

Loose Tenon Joinery - Woodworking Techniques - American Woodworker

Router Joinery Basics: Loose Tenons - YouTube

Floating Tenons. - YouTube

There are other methods but the concept remains the same...

Bill,

I had just looked at the Mortis Pal on the net, haven't looked at the ones that you sent the links to yet, but the morise pal is abit spendy, I was somewhat surprised. I'll be looking at the ones you just sent the links to. Thanks,

Jerry
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post #36 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 12:09 PM
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Well James. Tests show the biscuit is stronger than dowels. Myself I haven't used dowels for 35 years and don't see a need for them anymore. It's too easy and faster to use other methods.

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post #37 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Bill,

I had just looked at the Mortis Pal on the net, haven't looked at the ones that you sent the links to yet, but the morise pal is abit spendy, I was somewhat surprised. I'll be looking at the ones you just sent the links to. Thanks,

Jerry
Just watched the demo on you tube about making the jig. If that is what the man referred to as simple, I can't image what one would be like that he calls complex. You guys and gals that see this as being simple are very gifted and just probably can't imagine wny someone like myself seeing it to be simple too. I don't but suspect that if I just did one step at a time I could master it, just can't get in in one pass. This is an example of why Harry loves photos so much. It's just a natural for him the say his mind works. My brother is like that, but my mind doesn't work the same way I guess. Anyway, looks like a project for the future, I like it, but right now I better stay with what is in front of me with the cedar chest build. Thanksa again Bill, the Mortise Pal is looking better all the time.

Jerry
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post #38 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 12:35 PM
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Well James. Tests show the biscuit is stronger than dowels. Myself I haven't used dowels for 35 years and don't see a need for them anymore. It's too easy and faster to use other methods.

Al
What tests? Quote:
"What we hear most – and agree with - is that biscuits joints serve best as a quick and easy way to keep glue-up parts in alignment, and that they add appreciable pull-apart to strength joints that would be otherwise too weak to stand on their own – like butt joints and miter joints. Doweled joints, on the other hand, are stronger – especially when it comes to shear strength – but usually take longer to make. This popular conclusion also echoes the findings of the “Wood Joint Torture Test”, published in the November, 2006 issue of Wood magazine, where dowels and biscuits were actually tested against one another under stress in a variety of joints."

From here: Doweling vs. Biscuit Joints / Rockler How-to

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post #39 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 01:02 PM
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Jerry...

ANY of the methods presented within this thread are certainly applicable to your project. I believe that all would work, and work quite well. There are perhaps even a few that have not been mentioned. Some methods will undoubtedly provide a mechanical advantage by design but in application add very little to this particular build and therefore do not warrant the additional expense for new equipment.
I humbly suggest that you stay focused on the two methods originally questioned. Either will provide you with the needed strength and durability needed for a successful project. You have gained the experience of using both and I do believe you are both confident and comfortable with the application of either.
The grass isn't always greener, but sometimes it is.. for now, however. stay in your own yard
It is not hard to find advocates for any of the methods mentioned. When it comes to joinery, that ole cat gets skinned 6 ways from Sunday and then some. Of the two methods you've queried about, I'm not a big fan of biscuits as you know. I do however use em when its makes sense. In fact, I used them on the seat for my rocker build. Just because that was the suggested method for joining the boards. The advantage to biscuits has been mentioned repeatedly. Ease of application and you get a bit of wiggle room during assembly. It is also generally agreed that biscuits are stronger than dowels. "Generally", not unanimously. The down side to biscuits is that they have been known to swell after application and create small rises on the surface of the wood above. This often can be found on softer woods and in thinner stock. I've had this happen a few times, but never to the extent that it presented a real problem. A little extra sanding and all was well. Dowels on the other hand in my opinion provide a stronger joint. I realize I may be completely wrong about that and most of the data you'll find won't support my thinking. But it works for me. Application of dowels can be extremely difficult without quality tooling. Without quality tooling, its extremely difficult to get proper alignment of the work pieces. Though not impossible!!! You just got to be real good, real lucky or real experienced (or any combination of the three) to do dowels freehand or even with a modest doweling jig. You have a quality jig, and have become proficient in its use. Any errors you've encountered have been recognized and adjustments made to your technique.
For this particular application I'd personally say that the biscuits have an advantage over the dowels in so much as that during glue up, you can make some adjustments
to align your surfaces.
Regardless of which you choose, its not uncommon to have some variation between surfaces especially when your looking at things from the .000 of an inch perspective. nothing is 100%, 100% of the time..

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post #40 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 03:37 PM
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What tests? Quote:
"What we hear most – and agree with - is that biscuits joints serve best as a quick and easy way to keep glue-up parts in alignment, and that they add appreciable pull-apart to strength joints that would be otherwise too weak to stand on their own – like butt joints and miter joints. Doweled joints, on the other hand, are stronger – especially when it comes to shear strength – but usually take longer to make. This popular conclusion also echoes the findings of the “Wood Joint Torture Test”, published in the November, 2006 issue of Wood magazine, where dowels and biscuits were actually tested against one another under stress in a variety of joints."

From here: Doweling vs. Biscuit Joints / Rockler How-to
Not going to get into a board stretching contest here. I have never read any tests that say otherwise. Wood mag would not be my pick for anything above a whirly gig. Fine Woodworking however did build a dining chair out of them also proving they add a great deal of strength to joints.

Given that the blade cuts a wider joint than the biscuit and that when not cut perfectly. The biscuits and joint still can be mated properly. I have no idea how this would aid in joint alignment.

I also know from experience on forums. There are three words or subjects one should never engage in. Biscuits, Fe$tool and Kregg.

Al
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