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Dowels - not through dowels - to reinforce a mitered corner box

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Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 10-26-2020 06:44 PM 369 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HarveyDunn

407 posts in 2646 days


10-26-2020 06:44 PM

I want to make a batch of keepsake boxes as Christmas presents. My plan is to use mitered corners on the carcass, and I’m looking for the right way to add a bit of reinforcement. I’m thinking dowels, exposed, would add a bit of interest. But I want perfectly round accents, not little ellipses, so the Rocker “through dowel” jig (or equivalents) are out. Instead, I’ll stagger the dowels so they don’t interfere with each other.

Question: can I glue up the mitered carcass first (it is about the size of a wine bottle box), then drill the holes, through the face of one board and into the end grain of the 2nd board simultaneously? Would a jig like the JessEm enable me to place the holes correctly, so that they are centered on the second board? I’m thinking of using 3/8” thick stock, so I’d use their 1/4” version.


12 replies so far

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Loren

10788 posts in 4563 days


#1 posted 10-26-2020 07:06 PM

Yes I think the Jessem jig will do it but the little exposed area of short grain 1/16” wide will be vulnerable to breaking out.

You can pin with little wood pins of 1/8” or even smaller. Make a hardwood jig or lay them out and center punch the hole locations.

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Rich

6154 posts in 1505 days


#2 posted 10-26-2020 07:17 PM

I have the JessEm 08350 jig and it’s excellent. The fence that determines the location of the dowel moves in 1/8” increments. So yes, you could use it, but you’ll need to add a 1/16” spacer to center on the 3/8” stock (3/16” offset).

Your plan will work fine. Since you’re gluing up the miters, really all the dowels are going to do is add an accent. A properly glued miter joint is plenty strong all by itself. If you don’t want to stagger them, no real harm will come from drilling both at the same location. You’ll be drilling through one to insert the other but the second one to go in will give you any reinforcement you feel you need (even though you really don’t).

You could also cut slots for miter splines, which are attractive too.

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

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HarveyDunn

407 posts in 2646 days


#3 posted 10-26-2020 07:20 PM

That’s a good point, Loren. I’ll have to think on that. Could increase the wall thickness to 1/2”.

I’m afraid I don’t understand the alternative you are proposing.

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HarveyDunn

407 posts in 2646 days


#4 posted 10-26-2020 07:26 PM

Thanks, Rich, for the info about the fence!

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Loren

10788 posts in 4563 days


#5 posted 10-26-2020 07:39 PM

Just little pins without the Jessem jig. I’m not aware of a dowel jig that will drill for 1/8” dowels but you can make your own. Since the parts don’t have to mate, drilling can be done freehand as straightness of every hole isn’t crucial in the application.

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Rich

6154 posts in 1505 days


#6 posted 10-26-2020 07:40 PM


Thanks, Rich, for the info about the fence!

- HarveyDunn

Glad to help. It sounds like there will be some very happy recipients of your gifts this Christmas.

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

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Phil32

1181 posts in 819 days


#7 posted 10-26-2020 07:43 PM

I agree with Rich – a splined miter would be attractive (or invisible) and likely much stronger than dowels.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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HarveyDunn

407 posts in 2646 days


#8 posted 10-26-2020 07:47 PM



Just little pins without the Jessem jig. I m not aware of a dowel jig that will drill for 1/8” dowels but you can make your own. Since the parts don t have to mate, drilling can be done freehand as straightness of every hole isn t crucial in the application.

- Loren

Ah, I see – template with my hole spacing, center punch to mark the wood, and then drill freehand. Have I got it?

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Loren

10788 posts in 4563 days


#9 posted 10-26-2020 07:48 PM

Yeah, that’s the idea. I sometimes mark the hole first with an ice pick, than a center punch. You can get very accurate holes this way.

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Jim Finn

2858 posts in 3837 days


#10 posted 10-26-2020 08:02 PM



”... Since you re gluing up the miters, really all the dowels are going to do is add an accent. A properly glued miter joint is plenty strong all by itself. ....

- Rich


I agree 100% I have made thousands of cedar boxes with mitered corners using 3/8” wood and have never had a joint like this fail.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

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HarveyDunn

407 posts in 2646 days


#11 posted 10-26-2020 08:06 PM

Could I put a Dremel with a 1/8” drill bit into one of these and get the holes perfectly straight?

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Rich

6154 posts in 1505 days


#12 posted 10-26-2020 08:22 PM


Could I put a Dremel with a 1/8” drill bit into one of these and get the holes perfectly straight?

- HarveyDunn

I agree with Loren that precise drilling isn’t necessary since the box is already going to be glued up.

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

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