The Science of Wood Jointing Made Easy
The science of wood joinery is as old as wood itself and numerous techniques and items of equipment have evolved in an effort to produce the perfect method of joining two pieces of wood together.
These range from a simple hammer and nail to the sophisticated multi million pound CNC machines used in mass production. Probably the best known joint is the mortice and tenon. Dowel joinery, biscuit joinery and loose tenon joinery are all variations on the basic mortice and tenon joint. Dowels are after all simply round tenons.
The difficulty with traditional mortice and tenon joints is that they are time consuming to make and difficult to get totally accurate. Even with machinery, a fair amount of set up time is necessary if the joints are to be cut accurately. Hence the plethora of machinery and power tools that has appeared in workshops in an attempt to speed up the process and improve accuracy. Hollow chisel morticers, biscuit jointers, routers with jigs, and latterly the Domino machine, which is used to cut mortices for loose tenons.
Because of the problems making mortice and tenon joints many, if not most production woodworking companies prefer to use dowels. You simply drill the same size hole in both pieces of wood to be joined, insert the dowel, add glue and you have a perfect joint, which has been proven to be at least as strong, if not stronger, than a mortice and tenon joint.
The major draw back, indeed the only draw back with dowel joinery, is that the holes must line up exactly for the joint to come together. In the large production workshop expensive in line drilling machinery and CNC technology accomplishes this, but for the smaller furniture maker or hobbyist the cost of this equipment is prohibitive. There are of course many smaller dowel jigs on the market but none of them really combine the flexibility, speed, accuracy and ease of use, the bespoke furniture maker and serious home woodworker need.
Except that is for the Dowelmax. Designed to give a lifetime of use in a professional workshop environment, the Dowelmax is superbly engineered and a joy to use. It produces perfectly accurate joints... fast, time, after time, after time and can be switched between tasks and reset up in seconds. It has brought the accuracy and speed of production line technology into the small workshop but for a fraction of the cost and allowed the smaller maker to compete successfully in a crowded furniture market.