The Strength Of Joints

Joint Strength

It's difficult to get enthusiastic discussing how many men with sledge hammers it takes to knock apart the various types of joints used in the construction of furniture e.g. biscuit joints, doweljoints mortice and tenon joints, loose tenon, pocket hole screw etc. etc.

What's important is that the joint is strong enough to withstand normal usage with a margin left over for the occasional abusethat might be inflicted, especially in a commercial settings like bars, restaurants, offices etc. As long as the weakest jointing method is strong enough, does it matter if a dowel joint is five times stronger than a biscuit joint?

The answer is yes, it does matter, because in many situations it is impossible to predict the maximum stress a joint will endure and in those cases only the strongest jointing methods i.e. dowels or mortice and tenons, can ensure the joint fulfils the strong enough criteriamentioned above.

A two hundred pound drunk, swivelling around and leaning back on a barstool, will impose enormous stress on the leg to stretcher joints, not just once, but repeatedly. It's essential for this type of application that only the strongest joints are used or sooner or later the stool, and possibly the drunk, will disintegrate.

On the other hand, an inert piece of furniture like a kitchen cabinet, is unlikely to have the same stresses imposed upon it as the bar stool and a weaker type of joint might suffice. Indeed, the biscuit jointer was invented to facilitate the construction of MDF kitchen cabinets in the smaller workshop.

In general, larger workshops, with in line boring machines and CNC technology used, and continue to use, dowels.

So what prevented the smaller workshop from using dowels? The answer, in two words, speed and accuracy!

Even when using one of the many dowel jigs aimed at trying to make dowel jointing possible small achieving perfectly matching holes in both pieces of the joint, within an acceptable time frame, proved extremely difficult if not impossible.

It was this problem that Dowelmax was invented to solve.

The innovative design and superb engineering quality of the Dowelmax now brings the accuracy and speed of the dowel jointing achieved in the larger production shop, to the home user or small cabinet shop. Add to this the flexibility of the Dowelmax, whereby it can be reconfigured to adapt to a different process in seconds and you have the answer as to why it is such good value for money.

As described above, other joints, whilst not as sound as dowel joints, may be perfectly adequate in some situations. However, using the Dowelmax now makes it easier to produce provably strong dowel joints in the same, if not a shorter time than the alternativesso is there any point in settling for less?

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