Dowel Reinforced Butt Joints

A HIDDEN DOWEL JOINT can be used to reinforce butt joints when assembling face frames or making furniture. The dowels strengthen the joint, and help you align the parts. For best results, use a dowel jig or dowel points for guidance when drilling the dowel holes.

ITo lay out the dowel joints, butt the two mating parts together, making sure the mating surfaces are flush. Mark the dowel hole locations by drawing a single line across the joint for each dowel. For best results, use at least two evenly spaced dowels at each joint.

3 After drilling all the holes, apply a dab of glue into each hole. Also apply glue to the mating wood surfaces. Slide the dowels into the holes to make the joint.

4 Create alt the joints, then clamp the assembly together with pipe clamps or bar clamps. Be sure to use a clamp pad between the wood and the clamp jaws so the jaws don't mar the wood. Do not overtighten the clamps.

2 Slip the doweling jig over each mating edge. Align the mark on the jig corresponding to the diameter of the dowel hole with each location line you drew on the workplace. Drill a dowel hole the same diameter as the dowel at each mark-use a depth stop to keep the holes of uniform depth (masking tape will suffice if you dont have a depth stop collar).

Dowel joints are reinforced butt joints that are used frequently for edge gluing and frame building —especially face frames used in cabinet construction. They increase the strength of a joint and, when used carefully, assist in the alignment of the mating workpieces. Today, they're not used _ _ as com-




Dowel types (actual size)

monly as in years past due to the advent of the biscuit joiner.

Depth stop

But for those who don't own a biscuit joiner, they're still essential to wood joinery. And unlike biscuits, dowels can be added after the joint is assembled.

Commercially produced doweling jigs, like the one shown below, are designed for making highly accurate hidden dowel joints for reinforcing butt joints or edge gluing. Dowel points (round metal spurs that fit into a dowel hole) can be used instead to transfer the exact location of the dowel hole centerpoint to the mating workpiece.

Because alignment is so important, use a drill press whenever possible. If using a portable drill, attach a right angle drilling guide.

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