Mortise and Tenon vs. Dowel

CT_NewbieJune 26, 2013

Please help. I'm trying to decide which cabinets to buy (and yes, I've also read how important the kitchen designer is) Regarding the joints, is mortise and tenon significantly better than dowel? Do cabinets with the dowel joints ever break with normal use? I've googled on test results which showed that he dowel joint test samples failed at 120, 140, and 145 pounds and mortise and tenon failed at 170, 175, 140, 180, 185, and 190 pounds. I'm not sure how much weight cabinets hold. Is this 25% difference substantial? Or is this a detail I shouldn't consider

Plain and Fancy mentioned mortise and tenon joints. I couldn't find anything on the Woodmode/Brookhaven site about the joints and other sites mentioned both dowel and mortise and tenon. Does anyone knkow for sure what Woodmode and Brookhaven use? I don't think the KD I talked to knew. Rutt Regency uses dowel and I believe so does Rutt Classic. Not sure what the local cabinet makers do.

Also, Rutt mentioned that it uses dowel on two corners of the drawer and dovetail on the other two. They said it is stronger. Do people agree or do you think it is better to have dovetailing on all 4 corners of the drawer


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I'm having custom cabinets built. I don't know the joint construction, but the load limit for my drawers is 100 pounds.

Hubby and I just removed the cheap, builder grade cabinets from our 25-yr-old kitchen. None of the joints had failed. We did have issues years ago with drawer glide supports breaking - they were cheap plastic brackets at the back of the cabinet. We replaced them with something more solid, and didn't have a problem.

The drawers themselves were assembled in the most inexpensive manner (I'm not home now, so I can't look at it to describe it accurately). We have 19-yr-old twin boys, and the drawers survived hard use. These were flatware and utensil drawers that got used many times a day.

I wouldn't necessarily choose one cabinet maker over another based on joints.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:51PM
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Reply ended up on wrong post, had both open on phone so adding
Both joints are superior to pocket hole which is typical of semi custom and most local custom makers.
True M and T is beTter, many use a loose tenon which is a glorified dowel. None a deal breaker.
Drawers are a non issue, all equal.

As to thee other post...
Most won't visit site to start, more will since the economy tanked. I like to but am quirky.
You do not need a visit. Just an estimate. More important to assess the person you deal with and find out how they work and fit with you. Don't pay.

Relax. List what you need and want from a KD, see who meets your budget, and who is a good fit for you. Shop people and service not boxes. Spend the time finding how they work instead of having them run around.

This post was edited by jakuvall on Thu, Jun 27, 13 at 7:03

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 6:52AM
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Thank you both!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 11:05PM
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