Joinery Pegs

Inarticulate

Matt
User
Hey all,

I'm working on a sapele farmhouse table with pegged joinery for the legs. I was planning on drawboring the joints (lightly) to keep things tight over time and also because I've always wanted to try it! I was planning to use mahogany dowels (1/2in) from Woodcraft given the similar grain and color. Unfortunately I just dropped by there and they only had 2 and they were pretty gnarly. No worries, I'll just buy the Lie Nielsen dowel plate that I've had my eye on for a bit. Nope, it's out of stock now! :(

I know riven dowels are best for strength but can have a little bit of a rough appearance, at least before being driven in. I don't need a ton of strength so I'm thinking that a turned dowel may be best for this application? Or will a riven dowel look perfectly fine after being driven in? Any thoughts?

Secondly, does anybody in the Raleigh/Durham area have a dowel plate (or lathe) that could help me make about 12-15 8in x 1/2in dowels? I have the stock and would be willing to pay.

Thanks!

-Matt
 

Graywolf

Board of Directors, Vice President
Richard
Corporate Member
Matt, you could use a chisel to shape your pins. Or a knife to whittle them to shape. Or if you have some steel plate about a 1/4” in thickness then you could drill a hole the size of the dowel you need and then counter sink from the other side sand, file or stone the flat side and you have a dowel plate ready to go. Or you could use a combination of all three suggestions described. Good luck and post your progress.
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Matt, I have a LN dowel plate you can borrow. I will be doing a canoe build demo at the Klingspor in Cary from 10 to 2 each day this week. I will have the plate in my truck
 
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Inarticulate

Matt
User
Matt, I have a LN dowel plate you can borrow. I will bedding a canoe build demo at the Klingspor in Cary from 10 to 2 each day this week. I will have the plate in my truck
Phil,

That would be awesome! I'd also like to see the canoe build too. I'll try to swing by and introduce myself this week. Thanks a bunch!

-Matt
 

Chris C

Chris
Senior User
IMHO handmade look better. I have always made mine. I use a block plane to rough them out and then use a homemade dowel plate.

I'm guessing you have a drawbore pin or two.... a pair makes life much easier.
 

Inarticulate

Matt
User
I do not have drawbore pins, I was going to try to do without them. The joint fits decently well right now and I was only going to go with 1/16 offset on the holes. Am I making a big mistake? What would the work flow look like with the pins? I'm not sure I understand how they should be used.

Richard/Chris, if I were to hand make the pegs using a plane/chisel, would the heads look shabby if they weren't nice and uniform? I'm not confident in my ability to make them close to circular freehand!
 

Chris C

Chris
Senior User
The dowel plate will do a good job of making them roundish.

As for drawbore pins... make yourself a pair.... again I made my own. Went by the local hardware store and picked up a pair of drift pins. Roughed out a handle and epoxied them on. Haven't let me down yet.

20201026_190605.jpg
 

Graywolf

Board of Directors, Vice President
Richard
Corporate Member
Draw bore dowels 1/2 x 8 inches? Did no one else raise an eyebrow? Those are huge, how big is the table?
That’s a good question Mike, however I figured it’s his party and he can make them any size he can.
 

Inarticulate

Matt
User
Draw bore dowels 1/2 x 8 inches? Did no one else raise an eyebrow? Those are huge, how big is the table?
Its not THAT big (though I did tell my wife its staying with the house if we move) :)

I only need 3.5inches of working length (4x4 legs) but I figured if somebody was going to turn the pegs individually that I would plan for about 8 inches of stock usage per peg which would also allow for me to cut the taper on the pegs.
 

Inarticulate

Matt
User
Here are some progress pics. I didn't do a great job of taking pics along the way.

I got the top partially glued up from HWS but had to add to the width. I used a Stanley #8 to true both edges and did the glue-up in the dining room (not ideal). I actually didn't get a drop of glue anywhere on the floor! Finished top should be ~46in x 86in
1603759350406.png


Re-flattening the surface and blending the new board in. The additional board had developed a slight twist which made things a little more tiresome. Also, hand-planing on your knees on the floor is not comfortable. The HWS had to shuffle the pieces around from what I had arranged at the store since they found some checking when they started truing the boards. I'm not super happy with the way the grains meet up now but "oh well".
1603759630975.png


Card scraped and then sanded the top. Even with a 50 degree blade and a tight mouth in the plane, I was getting some surface tearout so sanding alone wasn't enough (which is also why I need Mike's sharpening class). I despise chatoyance in wood so I wanted to get a very flat finish, hence the sanding. In the foreground are my test edge chamfers.
1603759729106.png


One of the leg mortises, already drilled. I originally planned for 3/8in pegs but they looked kinda puny in Solidworks so I upped them to 1/2in.
1603760021873.png


Wedged half-dovetail at top of each leg:
1603760101047.png


Test fitting of the wedge:
1603760132556.png


Working on the cross-beam that connects the two sets of legs together. I gave the Domino XL Connectors a try in case my wife wins the battle and we have to take it apart to move one day:
1603760175525.png


This is what the end result should look like:
1603760389947.png


I missed a whole bunch of steps that I didn't take pictures of, unfortunately.

-Matt
 

Chris C

Chris
Senior User
Awesome.....your joints look very tight. Nice work.

I'm sitting here figuring out cut lists for my shop cabinets and jealous I'm not building something nice like your table.
 

Martin Roper

Martin
User

Not mine, but if and when I need dowels I'll build one of these.

I've actually used my Domino to pin items together. I clamp the two pieces, set the Domino to its max depth, and then glue and pound a domino into place. I trim off the excess with a flush saw. The result looks kinda cool.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
You can order 36"l x 1/2" d mahogany dowels at Woodcraft (they're made by the Cincinnatti Dowel Company).

I ordered 36"l x 1/2"d mahogany dowel rods (5 each) directly from the Cincinnati Dowel Co today. You can have one.
 
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Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Drawbore pegs really need to be rived then driven through a sizing plate or turned to size.
The diagonal grain in most commercial dowels will break under the stress of holding a joint together.

I'm sure I have enough spell to make some dowels.

Just checked Janka chart - Sapele 1510 - Mahogany 800
 
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Inarticulate

Matt
User
Sapele from the Hardwood Store? Add to the width???????
Yea, the hardwood store can only do ~38in on their drum sander but I wanted closer to 46in for the width. They ran a spare board through the drum sander at the same thickness as the rest of the glueup and I added it on.
 

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