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biscuit jointer or dowel jig

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by nathsea, Jun 23, 2004.

  1. nathsea

    nathsea
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    hi all..

    After deciding that there isn't a shelving system that meets my needs have decided to make one out of mdf, that I can then paint room colour etc.

    My problem is I want it to be strong, it will support all of my equipment , htpc amp, xbox etc.....

    When joining MDF what is the best way, should I use one of the dowel jigs that you can get from screwfix or I was thinking of perhaps buying the biscuit jointer (FERM) from screwfix.

    Ideas please, and any suggestions as to what I should use. I`m hoping to place the order today for delivery tomorrow, all being well

    Nathan
     
  2. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Having used a biscuit jointer for the first time when building my subwoofer, I'd definitely recommend one over dowels. Much easier and faster (though admittedly I've never used a professional dowelling jig- just those little copper buttons with spikes on that you put into your first set of holes, if you know what I am referrring to). Biscuits should give you stronger joints than dowels too, with less danger of splitting the MDF.

    Dave
     
  3. steve-j

    steve-j
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    Nathan,

    I too have recently been constructing my own cabinet and had exactly the same questions as you.

    I ended up using wooden dowels and a notched joint I cut out of one edge of the mdf using a router (plus plenty of wood glue). The ASCII picture below (hopefully) shows a side view of what I mean:

    XXOO|OOOOOOOOOOOOO
    XXOO|OOOOOOOOOOOOO
    XXOO|OOOOOOOOOOOOO
    XXOO|OOOOOOOOOOOOO
    XXOO|OOOOOOOOOOOOO
    XXXX|XX
    XXXX|XX
    XXXX|XX
    XXXXXXX
    XXXXXXX

    XXX=mdf side panel
    OOO=mdf top panel
    | = wooden dowel

    The joints seem pretty strong although I may glue a small wooden batten along the inside or each corner joint to add some extra strength, just to make sure.

    I actually didn't use a dowel jig either. I just drilled the holes in one piece and then held the 2 bits together to drill the corresponding hole in the second pice. It's not exactly scientific but it worked!

    -Steve
     
  4. nathsea

    nathsea
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    Many thanks - that looks like a very good idea and I have a router already. What thickness MDF did you use?

    Nathan
     
  5. steve-j

    steve-j
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    The side panels were 19mm veneered mdf and the top panels 18mm, the 1mm difference obviously coming from the wood veneer on the outside! I used 6mm diameter/40mm long wooden dowels for the joints.

    -Steve
     
  6. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    My father in law is a bit of a wizz with wood, his latest Biscuit C is the doggs ******** (Axminster tools), that is how I would do it for the ultimate
     
  7. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Because MDF is basically compressed laminated cardboard it's quite easy to spilt 18mm MDF hammering in a 6mm dowel into a 6mm drill hole in an end grain. Then you have to decide whether to discard the board or flood the crack with glue and hope for the best. Biscuits spead the joint over a hugely larger surface area and so make a much stronger joint that is much less likely to crack the board. Having said that I hand made a fitted kitchen using MDF with dowel joints in 1991 and it was as looking as good as new when we moved out in 2000.

    Dave
     
  8. Taz

    Taz
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    My 2 pence worth...

    We use biscuits for our prototype furniture and doweled joints when the item
    go's on sale to the public.

    :)

    *edit* as a guide, 12 / 15mm MDF use 6mm dowels, 18mm requires 8mm
     
  9. nathsea

    nathsea
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    many thanks. I think I`ll give dowels a try and see how i get on!
     

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