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tharnett

Beginner with question about sturdy joints

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Hello - relative newbie here. I have some experience with most basic tools - compound miter saw, table saw, router, that sort of thing but lack access to anything too specialized. I’ve made some small items over the past few months but nothing that’s required any special techniques. Mostly just picture frames, a rustic planter...that sort of thing. But now I’m planning a rustic farmhouse-type pendant light and due to the size, and the fact that I really don’t want any visible pocket holes, I’m concerned about having sturdy joints. The light is basically a long open rectangle dressed up with cross arms. I’ve attached an example picture so you know the general look I’m going for. My questions are: for the cross arms, will glue be enough to hold it all together well? If not, what’s a good option...small dowels? And if so, how would I get the angle correct for the dowel holes? Also, for the top support, I’m sure glue isn’t sufficient for that since those are the pieces that support the entire weight. What are my options there, dowels as well or something else?

Thanks for your patience for what I’m sure are pretty basic questions!

964A8966-645A-444D-A642-BC53BC55DEFC.jpeg

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Structurally, you need to concerned about the upper and lower rectangle frames, and the parts that join them together. The diagonal bracing is more decorative in this application.

With a heavy stain or paint, you can get away with using dowels straight through each joint, without concern for appearance. Think carefully about how gravity will pull against each joint, and position each dowel such that the weight is pulling across the dowel, not along its length.

The X braces can be constructed separately with half-laps where the parts cross, then slipped into the frame, just held with glue and maybe a few brad nails.

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I would consider using stopped half lap joints wherever 2 pices meet in a "T".  Like where the cross member that support the bulbs meet the long pieces.  Just to explain......it's the same a a half lap joint except that that the cross member will stop just short of extending out the other side of the long piece.  Orient the joint so that the long piece is suuported by the cross pieice so that tht weight is not trying to pull the glue joint apart.  You might find marcs video #230 helpful for building a simple jig for the stop half lap joints.

Since the top cross members in the picture do not occur where the vertical pieces are, you can use the same joint the as well.

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Thanks to both of you for your suggestions. Dowels it will be for most of the joints!

I was considering half laps for the X braces but didn’t think of a stopped half lap for the T’s.  Great approach.

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Hi, I'm new to the forum and I like to make things in my spare time too. Thanks for posting your project, it looks lovely. I would also recommend using dowels.

Harry

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For extra strength you could also use long screws countersunk into holes about ½” below the surface, then plug the holes with dowels.  If you want to spend a couple bucks on something you’ll use again and again, buy yourself one of these:  https://smile.amazon.com/Snappy-Plug-Cutter-3-8/dp/B000H5LGOW/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?crid=3JHJZTITGJ271&keywords=3%2F8+plug+cutter+tapered&qid=1556994943&s=gateway&sprefix=3%2F8+plug+cutter&sr=8-3

it allows you to cut your own plugs to cover over screw holes, which is really nice because it allows you to A, show only face grain instead of end grain, and B, get an exact match on the grain since the plugs can be cut from an off cut of the exact board they’re going into.

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