Evolution of Jointery

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Bear Republic

Steve
Corporate Member
In my recent travels of the web, I have noticed a change, at least I think, in the types of joints people are using. I can see how pocket holes have overtaken mortise and tenons. They are a lot quicker, but I feel "traditional" woodworkers probably sticking with M&T joints. I see less use of biscuit joints but Festool seems to have taken over. Is it more prevalent in the construction of cabinets? The two seem related.

Just a random question rattling around my brain lately. Any thoughts?
 

mbromley

Bromley
Corporate Member
I think with the diy craze pocket holes definitely gained quick popularity. In terms of turning wood working into a profitable venture many turn to the Festool domino. Unfortunately it takes a very special customer to understand the craftsmanship that goes into traditional joinery. I love old school traditional joinery and build most of my pieces that way but I also do it for enjoyment and not trying to make a profit.
 

Graywolf

Board of Directors, Vice President
Richard
Corporate Member
Steve are talking about the loose tenon or domino being used in jointery. If so that is something that is superior to biscuits, stronger and more flexible in use, now having said that as long as I'm just doing one off type work I'll stick with what I do, however if I were doing production products I would utilize what ever I can to be more competitive in that market.
 

Stuart Kent

Stuart
Senior User
I use traditional joinery as well as pocket hole and floating tenons (dominoes). They are all just tools for the job, and should be used where appropriate and efficient. Floating tenons were used widely in very high grade furniture for the last century and a half, and pocket holes were first seen used in ancient Egypt. I have personally seen pocket holes used in very expensive British antiques from the 18th century.
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
In my recent travels of the web, I have noticed a change, at least I think, in the types of joints people are using. s
No doubt about it. Things have changed.


I can see how pocket holes have overtaken mortise and tenons.
For some things and I would say the majority.


They are a lot quicker, but I feel "traditional" woodworkers probably sticking with M&T joints. Agreed.


I see less use of biscuit joints but Festool seems to have taken over.

Is it more prevalent in the construction of cabinets? The two seem related.

Just a random question rattling around my brain lately. Any thoughts?
If you are joining kitchen cabinets and paying the bills with what you get paid, speed is critical. If you work at a desk 40/week, you might get more satisfaction cutting joints a certain way??

Many woodworkers here are hobbyists. Some derive their pleasure from the process of building as much or more than completing the project quickly. On the other hand, there are others who get their enjoyment by feeling they completed the work efficiently and accurately using every modern jig and gizmo they can find.

I guess the real question rattling around in your head might be which one of these paths would bring me the most pleasure?
 

LeftyTom

Tom
Corporate Member
I don't build a lot of stuff, so I prefer to use traditional joinery (M&T ro floating tenons). I also have the ubiquitous Kreg pocket hole setup. The Kreg is faster, but on some projects, I like knowing that there are no metal fasteners used.
 

Graywolf

Board of Directors, Vice President
Richard
Corporate Member
If you are joining kitchen cabinets and paying the bills with what you get paid, speed is critical. If you work at a desk 40/week, you might get more satisfaction cutting joints a certain way??

Many woodworkers here are hobbyists. Some derive their pleasure from the process of building as much or more than completing the project quickly. On the other hand, there are others who get their enjoyment by feeling they completed the work efficiently and accurately using every modern jig and gizmo they can find.

I guess the real question rattling around in your head might be which one of these paths would bring me the most pleasure?
Nicely put, the best part of that question is there is no wrong answer here it's an individual choice. Predicated only by your own personal satisfaction and personal goals.
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
I often use biscuits for the reason that I have a biscuit joiner. Don't use the other things like pocket hole screws or Dominoes mainly because I don't have the tools to use them. Economics plays a major role in my choice of joinery, I cut my dovetails by saw and chisel, do M&T with drill press and chisel but use power tools when I can. I just never felt the need or had the wherewithal to upgrade my joinery to use the latest equipment. YMMV

Roy G
 

Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
95% of people today would not know quality if it hit them in the face. They only care about 2 things, How cheap, How fast. Custom work, furniture, cabinets, etc is on its last breath.
There is no real future in it. The box stores, Ikea, that to them is quality.
 

Rick M

Rick
Corporate Member
Over the years I've heard from people that work with antiques that nails and screws (including pockets) were common. Pocket holes are just another way of using screws. They are stronger than, and an alternative to, screws into end grain. Chances are all the doors in your house are attached with screws and doors are stressed more than furniture. The benefit of a screw joint is it can be easily repaired by anyone whereas a mortise and tenon repair requires skill and tools.
 

Bear Republic

Steve
Corporate Member
Thanks everyone! I have my homework now. Definitely need to learn the history of those methods and more about the floating tenons. I plan on learning every type of joint i can. I'm not looking to mass produce anything at the moment. At least until I give up my day job. I'm more passionate about the process and creating something that will be cherished.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member

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tarheelz

Dave
Corporate Member
Carry on Steve. Here's a few references to begin and all of them can be used when appropriate but there are limitations to each including the revered mortise & tenon.

Kreg would have us believe that pocket holes are the best thing since sliced bread...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvO6zaIUO18

but...

https://woodgears.ca/joint_strength/pockethole.html

Floating tenons (aka dominoes) and Festool is the at the top of that mountain...
Has woodgears done failure tests with Dominoes?
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
Has woodgears done failure tests with Dominoes?
Not that I've found. Fine Woodworking (#203, 2009) tested several types of joints with some surprising results. Individual joint strength testing is a bit misleading because the multiple joints in a piece are probably stronger in total than a single joint.
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
In my recent travels of the web, I have noticed a change, at least I think, in the types of joints people are using. I can see how pocket holes have overtaken mortise and tenons. They are a lot quicker, but I feel "traditional" woodworkers probably sticking with M&T joints. I see less use of biscuit joints but Festool seems to have taken over. Is it more prevalent in the construction of cabinets? The two seem related.

Just a random question rattling around my brain lately. Any thoughts?
This is a funny subject for a bunch of reasons:
I'm not sure there is a word "jointery" until Youtube came along?? Jointery from my days in the military was when two service commands worked on a major exercise or op plan. Never heard of it in use with wood. There are joints and there is joinery. Maybe I'm off but I think this word comes with the advent of a new tool maybe?

later
 

petebucy4638

Pete
Senior User
Floating tenons were very commonly used on some of the oldest examples of wooden boat and shipbuilding. They were found mostly in the ships planking where cutting a tenon out of a plank would be a significant waste of timber. I can see the value of loose tenons in a lot of woodworking projects. I bought my first Kregg screw-joint tools only a couple of years ago. It did a good job on a cabinet repair. Though functional, I use the tool mainly for installing bracing that will never be seen or in for repairs where other methods of attachment would be difficult or impossible. I can't imagine building a project where the primary fastening method was pocket hole screws.

I just finished up a work bench that evolved a lot during construction. Near the end I decided to install drawers instead of storage shelves. With the bench mostly already built, I used pocket screws to attach the vertical 3/4" plywood drawer dividers to the base of the work bench. The pocket screws worked well and they can't be seen, unless you pull out the bottom drawers. My new ham radio table has triangular braces that are attached to the frame with pocket screws. The table top is attached to the frame with pocket screws too. These are strong connections that will never be seen until someone take the table apart.

The leg assembly used 3/8" dowels and glue. My Jessem doweling jig makes joints like this pretty easy.


Pete

Thanks everyone! I have my homework now. Definitely need to learn the history of those methods and more about the floating tenons. I plan on learning every type of joint i can. I'm not looking to mass produce anything at the moment. At least until I give up my day job. I'm more passionate about the process and creating something that will be cherished.
 
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