What type of jointing

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Forum topic by phlyers posted 09-16-2013 02:56 AM 1847 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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93 posts in 2841 days

09-16-2013 02:56 AM

Hey guys. I’m making a bunch of children’s stools. In the picture you see an edge to face joint. I’m looking to know what the best and most importantly the strongest joint here would be. Dowels? biscuits? I don’t want to use brad nails because i’m afraid of pull out plus some will be made out of other hardwoods instead of poplar. Also I need to be conservative with glue because of clean up as this will be sort of a production job. Any thoughts? Ohh if I haven’t complained enough on what NOT to use use here’s another one. Cant use pocket screws either. I like the strength of them but these joints need to be full concealed.

21 replies so far

View BArnold's profile


175 posts in 2887 days

#1 posted 09-16-2013 03:19 AM

My first thought is to countersink screws to join the pieces together, then plug the hole and sand the plug flush. I think that will give you the strongest connection. Use a contrasting plug to give it a decorative element, unless you’re painting them.

-- Bill, Thomasville, GA

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93 posts in 2841 days

#2 posted 09-16-2013 03:41 AM

Bill, Yea the screws would be ideal but i’m going for a fully concealed joint. It’s all poplar so it will be painted. Some will be other hardwoods like cherry, maple.

View bondogaposis's profile


5978 posts in 3405 days

#3 posted 09-16-2013 03:53 AM


-- Bondo Gaposis

View Loren's profile


11148 posts in 4702 days

#4 posted 09-16-2013 04:06 AM

Dowels will serve but… well, dowels are not what
I would use, even though I like them and use
them plenty.

Plugged screws would resist pulling out better. When
furniture put together with dowels is not designed
specifically for dowel construction it can be prone
to pulling apart, and once it starts it tends to

MOD-EZE makes some killer blind fasteners that will
outperform dowels in this application.

View firefighterontheside's profile


21399 posts in 2910 days

#5 posted 09-16-2013 04:21 AM

Like bill suggested, countersunk screws with plugs sanded flush. You could paint over it or on the hardwoods, it will look good with whatever finish you choose. Use some glue to keep the joints tight.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 4025 days

#6 posted 09-16-2013 05:35 AM

I would make the end of each board a single dovetail.

Or, using a router, make a mortise in both sides and fit a loose tenon in there.

Or, drill deep pilot holes and use glue and two or three 8d or 10d finish nails, finish set in and putty the holes.

View Woodknack's profile


13552 posts in 3434 days

#7 posted 09-16-2013 06:01 AM

Strongest would be a full lap joint with screws. It would also be relatively fast with a dado blade.

-- Rick M,

View usmcshooter's profile


18 posts in 2818 days

#8 posted 09-17-2013 04:21 PM

How about mortising and loose tenons Any size and place you want

-- "It's always too soon to quit"

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 4023 days

#9 posted 09-17-2013 10:10 PM

You are painting the poplar ones right? Screw/plug/fill/paint. Maple and cherry ones I’d be tempted to dowel.

View bigblockyeti's profile


7191 posts in 2775 days

#10 posted 09-17-2013 10:25 PM

If screws are definitely out? I would use dowels, as you mentioned this will be sort of a production job they offer good strength, provided you’re going with a tough hardwood dowel, they’re relatively inexpensive and if you’re making several it would further justify a jig to make placement quick and accurate.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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93 posts in 2841 days

#11 posted 09-18-2013 02:39 AM

I’ve decided to go with screws. Countersunk and capped with a round head plug. I’ve seen it done on others and it looks “kid like” I’ll post pics as soon as a few of them are done.

View Loren's profile


11148 posts in 4702 days

#12 posted 09-18-2013 02:44 AM

Right choice. Flush plugs can be good too. Do a time study
both ways if you are going to do a lot. Round head
plugs vary in the package I have found and some may
be prone to splitting when hammered in (when needed)
and furthermore may have tearout voids in the surface.

Flush plugs can be made easily in the shop and sanded
with an orbital sander after assembly.

I would probably go flush. Round head do look neat
but I would not put them under a butt I think.

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93 posts in 2841 days

#13 posted 09-18-2013 02:48 AM

I’ve made a few changes. It doubles as a step stool/chair. The cross pieces for the “step” part are too far away from the “seat” part so I moved them closer together so there’s no gap. These are the only pics I have at the moment.

The fasteners will go on the ends of the pieces so no chance a little butt will feel them. If they can well then the stool is too big for them. Go sit on your big boy/girl chair if that’s the case!! :)

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13552 posts in 3434 days

#14 posted 09-18-2013 03:32 AM

Nice little chair!

-- Rick M,

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93 posts in 2841 days

#15 posted 09-21-2013 10:28 AM

Question regarding the cross pieces. Is there a technique I can use to get them flush with the side pieces? Even though they’re all cut exactly at 12” some tend to hang over the sides just a hair. Should I use a flush trim cutter with a bearing and allow the bearing to ride on the vertical side piece so it flushes up the cross pieces or should I use a belt sander. Picture shows where I want it flush. I guess that if a router is used that I pose the risk of tear out at the ends of the cut but they only hang over MAYBE as much as 1/32”.

Thanks Rick for your kind words.

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