QUESTION OF THE WEEK #4: wood or metal?

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Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 07-24-2011 03:15 PM 1993 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: What do you get when..... Part 4 of QUESTION OF THE WEEK series Part 5: re: Project Photos »


When joining wood, is your #1 preference to use wood or metal?
(ex. dowels vs screws)


-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

22 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4908 days

#1 posted 07-24-2011 03:40 PM

I would have to decide if I’m going to want to take it off again or wood movement. I.E. Table top to a base

I’ve also used screws where it’s outdoor and I want something that’s going to be waterproof.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View jumbojack's profile


1689 posts in 3131 days

#2 posted 07-24-2011 04:15 PM

I am doweler through and through.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3592 days

#3 posted 07-24-2011 04:30 PM

It would depend on the application, If I have to plug the screw hole, why not just put in a matching or
contrasting dowel and get just about equal strength, and maybe change the aesthetics of the project?
If I need clamping pressure to hold two pieces together while the glue dries, then a screw is sometimes
better. A plate joiner makes it real easy to align some pieces during assembly. I guess I am pretty open on this option.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View lew's profile


12859 posts in 4263 days

#4 posted 07-24-2011 04:33 PM

As others have indicated, it depends on the application.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3622 days

#5 posted 07-24-2011 04:38 PM

a big hammer and a 12 inch nail is always the finish solution if anything ells fail …. :-)


View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4604 days

#6 posted 07-24-2011 06:23 PM

Agree, it depends on the joint. I have nothing against using metal if it will make the joint stronger. I lost my purity a long time ago….

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10734 posts in 4559 days

#7 posted 07-24-2011 06:28 PM

Panels: dowels

Legs to Horiz: screws

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 3059 days

#8 posted 07-24-2011 06:28 PM

I prefer dowels or joinery, simply because I don’t like screw holes and plugs, but that’s the only reason really. I’ll use screws and nuts and bolts when it’s something I want to have KD style, or sometimes on a tabletop.

View Occie gilliam's profile

Occie gilliam

505 posts in 3803 days

#9 posted 07-24-2011 07:18 PM

I use screws nails for the building and gluing and replace them
with glued dowels as often as i can

-- OC down in Costa Rica. come down and see me some time. I'll keep the light on for you [email protected]

View Grumpy's profile


25623 posts in 4358 days

#10 posted 07-25-2011 12:50 AM

Give me wood any day but if the need arises metal is often the right choice.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3583 posts in 3616 days

#11 posted 07-25-2011 02:30 AM

Screw or dowels? The majority of my wood joining is with nails. For hobby it’s a mix of both. If I want the fasteners to show, I’ll use screws, as small as #2 by 3/8”. I made a small knickknack shelf recently and I used those screws and little homemade ebony plugs to cover them up. I could have used little dowels, I guess, but they would have been tooth-pick size. I’d take a picture and post it, but my camera skills are abysmal.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4908 days

#12 posted 07-25-2011 02:51 AM


You work in Atom Sized Materials I see.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3183 days

#13 posted 07-25-2011 05:43 AM

Well, they used to tell us that carpenters used nails and furniture builders used joints. This is basically the system I try to use but there are times when you need something to hold the wood until the glue dries and metal fasteners are the item of the moment. I like joints and glue but there is a place for metal. Like the others have said it all depends on the application and the location.

View Roger's profile


21011 posts in 3311 days

#14 posted 07-25-2011 02:58 PM

I have used both. It depends what you want the outcome to be for myself

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3200 days

#15 posted 07-25-2011 03:00 PM

For utilitarian stuff, metal. For fine’ish furniture, wood. I don’t like floating tenons or biscuits, personally; although, they’re still wood.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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