All Replies on using dowels for headboard

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using dowels for headboard

by SmallSnailsRule
posted 01-25-2017 05:14 PM

5 replies so far

View Rich's profile (online now)


5983 posts in 1472 days

#1 posted 01-25-2017 05:40 PM

I’m having trouble following. Are you saying that the rails (lateral boards) are going to be sandwiched between two leg pieces? Then I assume you are talking about doweling through that face and having the dowels exposed on the face.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Woodknack's profile


13503 posts in 3263 days

#2 posted 01-25-2017 06:31 PM

I have a vague idea of what you are doing but a pic of your mock-up would help. I use dowels for pinning miters, pinning tenons, reinforcing butt joints in boxes; I would never use them as a substitute for other joinery in a piece of furniture. BUT, many people do so you might get away with it. I wouldn’t expect to get more than 10-15 years from dowel joinery, although the glue should hold longer.

-- Rick M,

View bondogaposis's profile


5872 posts in 3234 days

#3 posted 01-25-2017 07:25 PM

Impossible for me to decipher, post a pic.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View pintodeluxe's profile


6210 posts in 3696 days

#4 posted 01-25-2017 07:35 PM

I would use pegged mortise and tenons. Through tenons are especially strong. Dowels are okay if that’s all you have access to. I’ve never heard of anyone cross pegging dowels with smaller dowels, although I’m sure it could be done. Of course you’d have to cross peg both sides of the dowel to have any meaningful effect!

Think of dowels like tiny loose tenons. They usually rely on glue strength on both ends to work.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View TungOil's profile


1383 posts in 1378 days

#5 posted 01-25-2017 07:46 PM

my initial thought is that a mortise and tenon joint (or it’s cousin- floating tenon) would be stronger than a doweled joint (assuming you are using a traditional dowel arrangement to hold the rails to the legs). Doweled joints are usually used to make assembly quick in production environments and for that they are great. The problem I find with a dowel is that you get too little face grain to face grain glue surface to hold up to any kind of stress. That’s one reason you see the glue joints on cheap chairs come apart after a few years of use.

If you are using dowels in some other “non-traditional” way, sharing a photo would be helpful so we fully understand what you are planning to do.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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