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Loose tenon joinery on Sapele frame? Sensible or not so sensible?

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Designer1

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Hi,

Bit of an odd one this one.

I'm wanting to make a stand for various implements in the garden, drawers etc for cooking utensils and a cutout for a small Argos BBQ. The whole thing is probably going to be made from Sapele milled by myself. For the assembly I was thinking of milling my own 10MM thick tenons on the thicknesser for an optimal fit and cutting the mortises with a 10MM Festool upcut router bit then covering the lot with glue. One thing that's let's say, at the front of my mind is that I am thinking of the moisutre over the years getting into the gaps and expanding the whole thing leading to failure.

Am I better...

A) Going ahead and hoping that Jesus is on my side and the joints won't expand over time, assuming the Sapele won't expand and contract too much...

Or

B) Using loose tenons and drilling some hardwood dowels through both sides to stop the expansions and weakening over time. I have considered a Festool Domino with some hardwood sipo dowels but I am looking at more going down the router route as a Domino XL is out of my budget at the moment and the XL wouldn't get enough use to warrant me buying one. Hence wanting to go the plunge router way, as well as being able to make much wider tenons e.g. 50mm.

I aren't too keen on using screws as it just doesn't feel right to ram some screws or coach bolts through the outside on the nice sapele.

Appreciate any advice or any other methods of doing this.

Thanks,
Designer1
 

Spectric

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Cannot see an issue with either M&T or loose tennons, and if you want that extra piece of mind then drive hardwood dowels or rustic looking dowels through the sides depending on the style you want and use titebond 3 as it is waterproof.
 

Designer1

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Yes what I was thinking, was thinking of some oak dowels for a bit of contrast, makes it more of a nice feature too instead of trying to match the grains and hide the dowels.
 

Spectric

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Sometimes perfection can detract from style, and if something looks like it was meant to be then it will look right, sometimes a good way of getting round a mistake because rather than attemp to hide just make it a feature and no one will notice.
 

johnnyb

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I knocked a set of gate up opposite me in an afternoon using loose tenons and titebond. the wood was the worst grade of spruce. 6 years later to my shock they are fine..he only painted them once...the day they went on. last month I noticed he had a joiner around putting a folding section in!
 

Stevekane

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Could you use the techniques used when assembling a tabletop with your joints,ie only haveing one end of your tennon glued and elongating the hole for the dowel to allow for across the grain movement?
 

Designer1

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I knocked a set of gate up opposite me in an afternoon using loose tenons and titebond. the wood was the worst grade of spruce. 6 years later to my shock they are fine..he only painted them once...the day they went on. last month I noticed he had a joiner around putting a folding section in!
Was it a timber frame gate?
 

johnnyb

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have to say titebond seems a really great glue externally. also long hinges seem to take a lot of stress from the joints
 

johnnyb

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a tightly fitting top hat helps to protect the joints as well. I find any deviation from the basic up and down t and g bare faced rails straight full width top rail with tight top hat significantly shortens the life.
ie 45 degree t and g or curved top or full bottom rail.or no top hat
 
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