Editors note: This item no longer appears to be available.
Dowels and loose tenons have been around for some time. Both have stood the test of time, making strong, simple, reliable joints. While there are a number of manufacturers, these Expansible Dowel Pins and Compressed Loose Tenons from Laurier Wood Craft are a nice, well-thought-out option.
Laurier manufactures their dowels and tenons in Canada using domestic hardwoods. The dowels and tenons are dried, milled oversize and then compressed. Compression is the key. When Laurier’s compressed dowels and tenons are glued, moisture in the glue allows the dowels and tenons to expand to their original size, for an exceptionally tight, strong joint when the glue dries.
The other important feature of Laurier’s dowels and tenons are grooves. The importance of grooves on dowels and tenons is manyfold. For starters, achemical bond forms between wood and glue. The more grooves there are, the more surface area there is for this chemical bond to form. Multiple grooves cover the entire surface of Laurier’s dowels and tenons, as opposed to just the one or two grooves found on conventional dowels and tenons.
Without grooves, glue can become trapped underneath the dowel or tenon while you’re assembling the joint, causing hydraulic lock. In other words, because there’s nowhere for the glue to escape, the joint simply will not go together.
The grooves on Laurier’s dowels and tenons are angled; actually, they spiral around the dowels, and they’re angled 2° in opposing directions on the tenons’ faces. In addition to preventing hydraulic lock, grooves that are spiraled or angled help spread the glue across the entire surface of the dowel or tenon.
Some manufacturer’s dowels and tenons have straight grooves running along their length. While straight grooves prevent hydraulic lock, if the glue bond should fail the dowel or tenon can pull out. The angled grooves on Laurier’s dowels and tenons create a mechanical bond similar to the threads on a screw. So even if the glue fails, the dowels or tenons will still hold.
Laurier offers dowels and tenons in a full range of sizes. Tenon stock is sold in 1′ lengths, so you can cut custom lengths according to your needs.