Rockler bead lock or dowels

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Forum topic by Joecarrr posted 02-17-2018 03:40 PM 1114 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 910 days

02-17-2018 03:40 PM

Hello all. This is my 1st post but I’ve been lurking and learning for a couple years.
I’m about to take on a project for my bosses wife. It’s a bathroom vanity. They are having a concrete top and sink made and I am making the rest. They want the legs made from some old barn beams they have. My question for you guys is, would you use traditional mortis and tenon, 1 inch dowels or the 1/2 inch rockler beadlocks.
I’ve done mortis and tenons before on my work bench but they take a long time for me and I don’t have a lot of time.
I can’t afford a domino right now but I see rockler had the bead lock pro that would save a lot of time. It would be almost $200 for everything I need but I can see it coming in handy on a lot of future projects.
Another thought I had was to use a couple 1 inch dowels for each joint. I would make a homemade dowel jig to accomplish this.
I’d appreciate any ideas or input you guys can give me.

7 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


682 posts in 1431 days

#1 posted 02-17-2018 03:50 PM

They may take time, but it’s tough to beat the good old M&T

-- Sawdust Maker

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4459 days

#2 posted 02-17-2018 04:02 PM

Check out the Jessem dowel jigs.

Dowel rod sold in hardware stores is not very
round. I’d recommend many 3/8” fluted dowels
over a few 1” sections of dowel rod.

View LesB's profile


2576 posts in 4254 days

#3 posted 02-17-2018 06:45 PM

I recently saw a video by Matthias Wandel (inventor of the Pantorouter) where he was testing the strength of three different joints on a face frame. On a right angle joint with the two pieces about 12” long he tested Kreg type pocket hole joints, multi dowel joints and mortise and tenon. He did 3 samples of each. The screw joints withstood about 100 pounds of pressure, the dowels about 160, the tenons about 200. Also on the tenons he did three different types of glue. Yellow glue, Tightbond III, and epoxy. The epoxy was the strongest, breaking at about 220 pounds. For this test he did not glue the pocket hole so later he retested them with glue and there was almost no difference.

Obviously there is a difference in the amount of work needed to produce each of these joints but it does give a good reference to use for deciding what type of joints you need for a particular project.

-- Les B, Oregon

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Bill White

5297 posts in 4772 days

#4 posted 02-17-2018 07:03 PM

I’ve used all the methods mentioned, and never had a failure with any of them. Dowels will work if you prep the surfaces well. I’d also put a wash coat of glue on the end grains of the aprons. Keeps the final glue from soaking into the end grain.
Just my thoughts.

-- [email protected]

View caboxmaker's profile


280 posts in 1199 days

#5 posted 02-17-2018 08:09 PM

Joecarrr, you’ve been lurking? You’re one of 243,000 finally accounted for. Now, I just need to find the other 242,999 lurkers.

View Joecarrr's profile


4 posts in 910 days

#6 posted 02-17-2018 08:19 PM

Thanks for the replies! Loren, why would the 3/8 dowels be stronger than larger dowels?
Good tip on the end grain bill. Thanks!

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4459 days

#7 posted 02-17-2018 08:36 PM

Well, regular fluted 3/8” dowels are rounder
than dowel rod but I also think you’ll get more
long-grain glue surface using a bunch of smaller

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