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Gerard Scanlan

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Can anyone advise me on the best way to drilling for dowels in jointing cabinets?
In my Krenov books he suggests making a simple hardwood jig. I wonder how long that would stay accurate?
Then recently I stumbled across metal dowelling centres and I though that they looked easier to use but have read that some people struggle to extract them after marking.
I am hoping that there is a doweling fanatic who can help.
 

Steve Maskery

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Dowelled joints are a poor way of constructing furniture. They are not easy to do accurately, unless you use the Porter-Cable tool, but if you are going to that expense you might as well go the whole hog and get a Domino.
If you have a router, you can rout loose tenons easily with a couple of home-made jigs. If you are making face-frames where one side is not seen then pocket screws are excellent. If the components are wide enough then biscuits are excellent and BJs are not very expensive these days.

It's not just that they are hard to do accurately, either. There is a high percentage of end-grain contact becasue of the geometry (a a corresponding low percentage of the face-grain contact which is necessary for high strength).

So you have many options and dowels are fairly low down on that list, I suggest.
S
 

Smiffla

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I have something called a joint genie. I got it a while back when i was starting out thinking it would be a game changer. But I found out the hard way that it wasn't! as steve suggests there are far better ways to make joints.

Just realised I'm talkin about joint genies with a Dutchman.lol!

Good luck dude

Smudge
 

AndyT

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I think dowels are still useful.

When I was harder up than I am now, but needed to make cupboards and bookcases in various flats/houses I made several projects with dowels. The total outlay is so much less - even the newest diy-er will have an electric drill, so adding on the cost of a suitable lip and spur bit and the sort of cheap and cheerful jig that Bosshog linked to was affordable, whereas buying a router or biscuit jointer would have been out of the question. Those jigs are quite good, but you will still need some dowel points. You just need to experiment with scraps of the timber you will be using, and maybe buy several drills to get the exact right diameter for a snug fit on the dowels.

There is also plenty of mileage in the traditional hand marking method where you square a line across both pieces, then continue lines and mark the centres on each piece.

None of my dowel joints ever fell apart!
 

Paul Chapman

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If you want to use dowels then it's worth keeping your eyes open for a second-hand Record #148 dowelling jig. You can sometimes pick them up quite reasonably priced. Possibly the most versatile dowelling jig ever made



I bought mine soon after they came out - must be about 40 years ago. I don't use it much now because I much prefer using a biscuit jointer or Domino but they are occasionally useful. When I do use it, it's usually for drilling holes for knock-down fittings where they need to line up accurately.

Cheers :wink:

Paul
 

RogerP

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I don't use dowels much these day as I've mainly moved to traditional mortice and tenon. I've never used a Domino or biscuiter. When I did use dowels I found for marking the second piece dowel points as good as anything. A well made multi-dowel joint can be as strong as a MT.
 

Mike Wingate

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I used to use a Record 148 at school, but it was "borrowed". For dowels I use lip and spur drills and dowel points. I have had on order since last summer, a Dokota dowel jig from Rutlands, when they had 15% off and free postage, the price has gone up another tenner since and should be available Easter 2012!. I do use 2 biscuit jointers plus other joints, but dowels can be useful. I get the pupils to make their own jig from angle iron, they do not understand the concept, but get by if I shout loudly and enough at them!
 

SteveB43

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There are two Record 148's on Ebay now..

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Record-No...lectable_ToolsHasdware_RL&hash=item4843a58d48

and
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Record-Do...lectable_ToolsHasdware_RL&hash=item27c2649bf9

however, the drillbushes are imperial, you'll need to be able to make your own dowels as metric drill bushes are'nt available....., imperial drill bits from Axminster...
I'm still mulling over getting a 'special' order from an Engineering firm to make me some new ones, but cost of each bush is £10-£14....

I've used dowel centres with some success...

Cheers!
 

AndyT

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Another thought relevant to dowels...

Years ago there was an article in a magazine, which I'm pretty sure was by Robert Wearing and probably features in one of his books as well. If you already have a lathe, it makes a lot of sense, but a desire to do dowelled joints is probably not a good justification for buying a lathe.

Anyway, what he did was to put a suitable dowel bit in a Jacobs chuck in the lathe head, and build up an adjustable platform to fit over the lathe bed. The details depend on the style of lathe and what it is mounted on, but it was based around a pair of u-section boxes, with slots and screws in, so you end up with a flat surface, parallel to the lathe bed, but close to the central axis of the drill. The slots and screws give a bit of adjustment to cope with different thicknesses of stock.
An adjustable fence along the back of the box lets you offer up a piece of wood needing dowel holes on its end, slide it along the fence and get a clean accurately placed hole. (Include a depth stop.)
For transverse holes, he made a fence at right angles to the drill which slid along the built-up box.

This would all be better described with a diagram which I may still have and will hunt for if anyone wants me to.

The point of the whole thing is that (provided your stock is all the same dimensions) you can drill lots of holes really quickly, as the fences take care of the positioning and so you don't need to do any marking out of hole positions at all.

I did make one, from a few scraps of MDF, and it worked well.
 

RogerP

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AndyT":28vqppbc said:
.....
An adjustable fence along the back of the box lets you offer up a piece of wood needing dowel holes on its end, slide it along the fence and get a clean accurately placed hole. (Include a depth stop.)
For transverse holes, he made a fence at right angles to the drill which slid along the built-up box. ...
I've not seen a design but I made up something just like this to put twin holes in the ends of framing using a lathe. The wood slides along an adjustable V fence arrangement, on the lathe bed, set to put the hole towards one edge and flipping the wood puts it in the opposite - two holes accurately and repeatable placed. Very fast to churn them out once the first is set-up.
 

johnf

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Copied this from the Joint genie web site they cant all be wrong

“This is a professional tool that is simple to use – it is
well worth snaffling one up!”
Good Woodworking Magazine, Issue 167

“Sheer Genius”
New Woodworking, Issue 74

“A sublime piece of equipment”
Good Woodworking, Issue 168

“Practical, fast and accurate”
Chalon UK, Handmade Furniture Manufacturers

“Joint Genie has made it possible for me to easily enjoy
learning a new skill – there is no limit to what I can put together”
Ann Lacey, Novice Woodworker, Cornwall

“The Genie is one of those delightfully simple and effective ideas that prove the adage about the simplest solutions being the best……this is a beautiful piece of kit – one that actually lives up to the claims made for it, which not many do” Michael Forster UK
 

Lester Burnham

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I would second the comments re the joint genie. It is a high quality precision tool and comes in very handy. I have a good quality biscuit jointer, but sometimes a dowell can be better. Joint genie is not cheap, but it paid for itself on its first use.
 

DonJohnson

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I also have been very pleased with my Joint Genie. Worth the expense.

A set of Dowelling Centres covers some difficult situations (but once one hole is positioned accurately the jig can be used for more by indexing off the first one)
 

TheTiddles

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Every time I make a dowel joint I regret it...

However they do have uses, I like using them for carcase construction when I've got everything together with biscuits and screws I drive dowels through the parts that can't be seen, straight through all the pieces, then when i reassemble in situ the dowels will guarantee allignment

Aidan
 

chrishyde

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After dithering for 12 months i have finally succumbed to the temptation and bought a Dowelmax. I have always been a fan of dowels joints because they are quick to make, aid assembly and glue up and closely spaced dowels are at least as strong as a mortise and tenon joint and much stronger than a biscuit. However it was always difficult to achieve the high degree of accuracy necessary for the dowel joint to come together exactly so I gave up and went through stages using loose tenons, biscuits, mortise and tenons, pocket screws etc etc. all of which have good and bad points.
The Dowelmax has solved all of the accuracy problems and reinstated doweling as my number one choice for joint making. It is a beautifully engineered piece of equipment, a delight to use and will last a lifetime. I have just built a prototype rocker that took thirty joints to construct and every one came out right first time. Expensive..yes. Value for money..yes. Cost effective.. Definitely.
 

chrishyde

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You are welcome. Dowelmax also provide a free DVD if you need more information

Chris
 

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