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Dowel Joinery help...please

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Forum topic by jmurf posted 10-01-2020 09:49 PM 369 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jmurf

20 posts in 466 days


10-01-2020 09:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question jig joining

I am making a hall entry table with two small drawers. Legs are 1 3/4×1 3/4. I have a top rail and bottom rail above and below the drawer fronts joining the legs. My rails are 3/4×1 1/2. I have the rails set up so the 3/4 side is facing front. I drilled four dowel holes in each leg (2 above drawers and 2 below). I used the drill press so they were square and all in line. I marked for the dowels on the end of my rails and drilled them by hand. The drill press was not long enough. They appear to be square too. My issue….when I dry fit the rails and legs my distance between rails is dead on on each side and the center. However, when I stand my legs up on the bench one is square while the other is twisted open slightly. My legs are square, the rails are the same length and also square. I have no gaps where the rails meet the legs. I am assuming the dowel holes must not be drilled straight but they appear okay. When I measure the hole locations I seem right on target. I would appreciate any advice. If I drill out the holes a little to give me some room to adjust am I ruining the strength of the joint? Appreciate your help.


14 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

10718 posts in 4531 days


#1 posted 10-01-2020 10:14 PM

You can fill them with glued dowels and re-drill imo. As long as you’ve assessed your problem accurately I don’t see harm in it and what else are you going to? I’m picturing a problem with the flushness of the joint or “reveal” and it’s possible you could hand plane the parts slightly out of square to compensate so the eye doesn’t see.

Try making another test part out of a piece of scrap and see if your holes are off or it’s something else if you want to.

There was a method of modifying a drill press in FWW years ago to end drill for dowels. Getting the holes straight by hand could be a challenge but people have done it I am sure. There are some inexpensive jigs on the market that will do legs and aprons and frames but not case corners.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3415 posts in 2682 days


#2 posted 10-01-2020 10:30 PM

Trying to picture what the solution could be is nearly impossible with seeing something.
From what you described it could be a twist or wind in one or more of your pieces.

-- Aj

View northwoodsman's profile

northwoodsman

389 posts in 4630 days


#3 posted 10-01-2020 10:37 PM

Did you check the accuracy of your drill press and drill press table or are you just assuming they are 90° to each other? They can get easily mis-aligned. Also if your drill bit is not sharp, or if you hit a knot, it can wander and if your piece isn’t clamped tight to the table and fence you could be drilling a hole at an angle while the wood is sliding. Invest in a Dowel-It Jig. I have been wood working for 45 years and got my first on just last week for a project. Wow, I kicked myself for not getting one a long time ago.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View pottz's profile

pottz

11717 posts in 1868 days


#4 posted 10-01-2020 10:40 PM

you need to invest in a dowel jig,some are very inexpensive and some can be very pricey.trying to drill dowel holes without one is hard to be accurate.as aj2 said pictures are worth a thousand words.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

6113 posts in 3193 days


#5 posted 10-01-2020 10:41 PM



Trying to picture what the solution could be is nearly impossible with seeing something.
From what you described it could be a twist or wind in one or more of your pieces.

- Aj2

I’m wondering if the stock is that straight flat off the shelf material that those anti jointer guys talk about.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View jmurf's profile

jmurf

20 posts in 466 days


#6 posted 10-01-2020 10:49 PM

Will take some pictures and post….stock was all jointed and planed and putting the square on them they look good. Will post more…thanks

View Sludgeguy's profile

Sludgeguy

59 posts in 1006 days


#7 posted 10-01-2020 10:55 PM

You may want to consider gluing dowels in the hole and cutting mortises with a router and using some scrap for tenons. Also, you could use Festool dominos.

View SMP's profile

SMP

2668 posts in 789 days


#8 posted 10-01-2020 10:57 PM

Depends on how out of square it is. If its not much can drill out the one that is out of square a little larger, fill with 2 part epoxy and clamp the pieces so they are square while the epoxy and glue dry.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5987 posts in 1473 days


#9 posted 10-01-2020 11:53 PM


you need to invest in a dowel jig,some are very inexpensive and some can be very pricey.trying to drill dowel holes without one is hard to be accurate.as aj2 said pictures are worth a thousand words.

- pottz

True. Drilling for dowels without a jig is asking for trouble. There are jigs that index off of the mating pieces, or you can just use dowel points to mark the mating piece.

One of the handiest jigs ever made was the old Stanley No 59. It’s out of production but they are plentiful on eBay. I got one that was complete (all the bushings, etc) in the original box for $10 plus a few dollars shipping.

I use the JessEm 08350. It does not require dowel points since it indexes off of the holes in the mating part. It also is designed such that it’s easy to set a reveal between pieces like a leg and apron that’s accurate and repeatable.

Or, as was mentioned, for a mere $1000+ you can get yourself a Festool Domino.

Here’s what a complete Stanley No 59 includes:

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

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

1161 posts in 794 days


#10 posted 10-02-2020 06:08 AM

I use the ‘General Doweling Jig’ to drill the dowel holes. Cheap but does a good job for me. https://www.lowes.com/pd/General-Tools-Instruments-Pro-Doweling-Jig-Kit/3523664 .

And I use Dowel Centers to transfer or mark the piece your attaching board https://www.rockler.com/dowel-centers-individual-sizes.

You can get ‘dowel kits’ to get what else you may need https://www.harborfreight.com/22-piece-3-8-eighth-inch-doweling-accessory-set-96857.html.

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WoodenDreams

1161 posts in 794 days


#11 posted 10-02-2020 06:25 AM

Another option is to use ‘screw-on T-nuts https://www.rockler.com/screw-on-tee-nuts-choose-size-thread.

Using ‘steel hanger bolts https://www.rockler.com/steel-hanger-bolts-steel-hanger-bolts

A friend of mine made a hall table using these. The legs were 28” long. Seemed quite steady.

View weedeater64's profile

weedeater64

62 posts in 895 days


#12 posted 10-02-2020 09:11 AM

Hand drilling perfectly matching/aligning holes. Nope.

And don’t spend a bunch of money on some jig either. Just grab a squared block of wood and drill it on your drill press. Takes a couple of minutes. Get fancy and add some metal bushings (and time) if you want and you’ll still be out pennies on the dollar compared to buying one.

View rustynails's profile

rustynails

899 posts in 3413 days


#13 posted 10-02-2020 05:43 PM

Here is your answer …

https://www.dowelmax.com/

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5310 posts in 4844 days


#14 posted 10-02-2020 06:46 PM

I also have the General jig. Works well, and I’m not even gonna try to drill for dowels w/o a good jig.

-- [email protected]

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