Question: Biscuites vs. Doweles, Asking Harry's Opinion As Well As Others - Router Forums
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post #1 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Default Question: Biscuites vs. Doweles, Asking Harry's Opinion As Well As Others

Harry seems to lean toward biscuits for jointing and alignment, but I am not sure which one he or others would say would be better for the application that I am going to ask about.

I sent Harry a couple of sketches of how I plan to build a frame for a cedar chest that I'm working on. I have all of the parts for the chest cut out nad until now have planned on using dowels in the joints primarily for alignment. My thinking is that dowels would add strength but I think that I recall reading that dowelsa and biscuits do not add much strength to a joint. I am not sure that I read that, just seem like I recall reading that.

There are two other members of the forum that I have been conversing with about the build of this chest as well as Harry. I have decided to ask Harry publicly about this and will see if there is or is not a consensus on which of the two methods would be better than the other. I suspect that Otis will have something to say as he tells us that he uses a lot of dowels.

I had, until now, been looking forward to using my new JessEm Doweling Jig, but am open to using biscuits if they are a better choice.

I am adding a couple of photos, the ones that I sent to Harry. The material is all QS ****e Oak, 3/4" thick. The corner styles are will be jointed together with miter lock joints. In the second of the two photo, the red areas are where rabbets will be cut for the vertical styles to reside in, these styles will be 3/8" thick.

But first, let's talk about the which would be better, biscuits or dowels and Harry's recommendations will carry a of weight in the decision. I say this because he is, from what I can tell, a strong advocate for biscuits, but he may not think that it makes any difference in this case. Let me know what you think Harry and this question is posed to anybody that would like to help me.

Jerry

Last edited by TwoSkies57; 06-27-2014 at 11:06 AM.
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post #2 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 03:43 PM
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I would use mortise and tenon joints and forget about dowels and biscuits.

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post #3 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by boogalee View Post
I would use mortise and tenon joints and forget about dowels and biscuits.

Al
Good point Al, let's see what others suggest, mortise and tenon would be easy to do, thanks for your input.

Jerry
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post #4 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 04:53 PM
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If it were me, I would use pocket screw construction to make the frames and be done with it in no time. See pic below of a kitchen island I will soon be building. (I am building the doors today). Carcase comes last.

Note: Just mark your rabbits so the screws will not interfere.

I forgot to ask. Will this frame be seen from the inside? If so, would the pocket holes be visible? You could always plug them and sand them smooth.
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post #5 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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If it were me, I would use pocket screw construction to make the frames and be done with it in no time. See pic below of a kitchen island I will soon be building. (I am building the doors today). Carcase comes last.

Note: Just mark your rabbits so the screws will not interfere.

I forgot to ask. Will this frame be seen from the inside? If so, would the pocket holes be visible? You could always plug them and sand them smooth.
Mike
Mike,
The pocket hole screw would be a good idea, the cedar lining would hide them, that would be good option, I have the Kreg Pocket Hole set up. Somewhere I had heard that using screws in is a no no in higher end woodworking, but never understood that in that, like in this project, who world ever know. O.K. one vote for PHS. One for M&T.

Tnanks for chimming in Mike,

Jerry
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post #6 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 06:41 PM
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I wouldn't even ask anyone, I'd just sit down and decide which way 'I'' preferred, and do it that way.

That said, the one time I made a chest, it was assembled 100% with glue, no fasteners of any type used, only glue strips to strengthen the butt joints. And after 15 plus years it's still holding up just as well as when it was made.

I was thinking about biscuits earlier today. With sausage gravy.

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post #7 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 06:49 PM
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Pocket hole would be a lot faster & easier.

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post #8 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 06:59 PM
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The issue here is not alignment since these joints would be easy to align on glue-up. There will be stress on the outside pieces so the best choice by far is mortise and tenon. The centre piece could be dowel joined if you wish but I would M&T it as well. Pocket hole joinery is not a good option in my opinion. Biscuits are for alignment and not really suitable here.
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post #9 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 07:11 PM
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If part of the pieces are going to be 3/8 inches thick, then the biscuit might be the way to go there. you could also do a loose tenon (1/4 inch thick) using the router.

I have seen test after test in woodworking articles about the strength of each of these joints, I just use what works now.

I built a massive deck box for my front porch using pocket hole screws and butt joints, it is built like a tank. It has held the weight of 2 or 3 kids eating lunch on it at a time.

I have built an entertainment center using biscuits to edge join the solid pine 'legs' onto the plywood panel sides, and it has been working for 15 years.

The first face frame I ever made was with dowels, and only dowel centers for aligning them. I would NEVER do that again... you have to have a decent jig of some sort to avoid frustration. {I have a huge box of Miller Dowel parts that were part of an estate lot I bought... I wonder how they would work}

Loose tenons are surprisingly easy. I picked up a 'beadlok' jig at an auctoin once for a buck or two, and I honestly think the router is almost as fast, plus the tenon stock is easier to make.

If you're really worried about strength, I would say loose tenon or dowel. Ease and strength, pocket hole or biscuit.

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Last edited by TwoSkies57; 06-27-2014 at 11:06 AM.
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post #10 of 66 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 07:21 PM
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Another vote for pocket screws.

Gene Howe
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