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STL251: Assume the glue is going to fail

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Question 1:

From Frank:

I keep hearing about how pointless it is to glue end-grain on dovetails, and FWW videos are no exception. I’ve seen end-grain to side-grain joints hold up to my attempts to break by hand, but a long enough fulcrum would break the joint.

Just today this video  “Glue Myths: 1. End grain” by Patrick Sullivan popped up on my YouTube suggestions, and I’d like for Mike and BVD, and any or all others to watch and comment on:

I don’t think the same results are possible unless the mating surfaces are well prepared, and I don’t think I would consider end-grain-to-end-grain if I could scarf-joint or at least add a dowel. (Does that make me a science denier?)

Personally, I have always glued end grain on dovetails, for two reasons:

  1. Every glue surface helps
  2. I always hand cut, and swelling the end-grain helps any gappy baseline.

Question 2:

From Jonathan:

I’m currently working on a set of built-in shelves and fireplace surround made from walnut. The full piece will span an entire 18-foot long wall. The top of the shelves will meet the ceiling via shop-made moldings, including a 4-inch wide cove molding. My problem is that I need an 18 ft long molding. I don’t have stock that long, and it would be really unwieldy to work it even if I did.  So I’m faced with making it from shorter lengths. My question is, can you recommend an end-to-end joint that is both secure and relatively invisible for this application?  I’ve mainly seen people use a 45 degree overlap, which I find very difficult to make invisible. 

I am a devoted listener to STL.  You guys have led me to become an Unlimited subscriber, which I find myself using frequently — it’s kind of like having a book always available titled “Absolutely EVERYTHING Woodworking“.

Segments: Who knows what all that was!

Question 3:

From Zach:

First I want to say I enjoy the podcast and think everyone does an excellent job, and I look forward to new episodes. 

I am planning to design and build a table for our dining room. I am fairly new to woodworking and this would be my first project with mortise and tenon joints. Then I came across the Rockler beadlock system. I was wondering if floating tenon’s provide the same strength as a traditional tenon? I have read a lot about the Festool domino and I was wondering if this was the same principal? I look forward to hearing your thoughts and keep up the great work.


Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answers questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking‘s biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to [email protected] for consideration in the regular broadcast! Our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page.

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