Dowels make it easy to locate the joint parts, and add strength with a “bracing
effect”. Marking is critical to a joint that lines up, so using a marking gauge
helps enormously, although a pencil is fine. Mark the parts so that they will
line up perfectly. Mark the dowel positions carefully on both parts, then drill
the holes. Select a drill size that’s tight on the dowels and marked so that the
depth is 1 or 2 millimetres deeper than the dowel. This allows room for glue and
air, so the timber won’t split when you drive the dowel in. Use a dowel-jig if
you have one, because it helps to guide your drill to keep it straight and
square. A drill-press is also useful for the same reason.
The strength of this joint is in the glue bond, so seal the timber end-grain
with glue, then squirt glue into the dowel holes and “swizzle” the glue to
spread it around the hole. Apply glue again, then drive in the dowels and bring
the parts together. Clamping may be required to pull the joint tight and hold it
square until the glue dries.
This is a special joint that uses flat plates of wood to locate and strengthen
the joint. Kev reckons these plates look a bit like milk arrowroots but without
Biscuit joints are a favourite of cabinetmakers, as they are fast and accurate.
The marking out is easy: simply place the parts together and mark the inside
edge. Lay the piece over so that it stays on the line. Mark the position of the
biscuits then align the “biscuit machine” with these marks to cut for the plates
in both pieces. Apply glue as you would for a dowel joint, including swizzling,
and insert the biscuits and bring the parts together. The biscuits will swell
slightly to hold the joint, but clamping will help hold it tight and square
until the glue dries.
Kev’s tip: Always use a good quality glue like Selleys Aquadhere.
Viewer Tip: Joe Seychelle suggests wiping soap on your saw blades after use to help prevent