There is an appropriate joint for each and every project in woodworking, and there’s a different opinion of which joint is appropriate in every woodworker. That said, a recent thread in the SawMill Creek woodworking forum caught my attention in which a woodworker asked whether the Creekers thought pocket holes or dados would build him a better router table.
Here’s the part of his question that got my interest: “Do any of you use PHJ and would you use it in an application like this? Why or why not? What about the advantages of dados over the PHJ? Or is just a matter of preference?”
Keep in mind that he’s building a router table for his shop and not an heirloom monument bomb shelter ;)
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Here are the results as near as I could figure:
Pocket Hole Joints: 7
Dado Joints: 5
And here are some quotes I found telling from the Creekers:
“For your router table i’d opt for dadoes. A router table doesn’t need to support much weight but it does have the racking/twisting forces associated with routing operations and the dadoes will be stronger in that regard.”
“I have just about stopped cutting dados for simple cabinet construction. Pocket hole screws are easy to do and they are plenty strong enough. Why do more work for no additional benefit?”
“For this project (the shelves, top, and bottom at least). I would dado the shelves, and bottom, rabbett the top, and screw and glue. I would screw from the face side into the dado joint.”
If you’re new to woodworking and curious about the philosophies behind the various joints then I highly advise you read Pocket Hole Joinery vs Dados in Sawmill Creek.
You may also enjoy:
ToolCrib.com’s Ultimate Guide to Free Router Table Plans
The 38 Most Popular Free Woodworking Plans of 2008
Top 16 Trim Routers: Bosch Colt vs. Makita vs. PC310 vs. Ridgid R2400 and MORE!
I’ll keep it simple here. As long as a person is using glue the dado and/or the pocket hole are the same as far as durability. It’s just what you’re accustomed to.
I’m in the final assembly stages of 2 indoor projects and planning 3 more for the winter months. I hadn’t come to a final decision on how to joint my breakfast bar (secretary style desk that will be used in many ways as it will extend from the kitchen windowsill, but it is only made of 1/2 inch plywood and I have friction lid hinges to allow for the work surface to open. This sounds like an easy decision for PSJ but this will support plants at all times as well as undergo twisting and possible spills as a breakfast/snack bar, so might I suggest finding scrapwood or precut plant stakes to reinforce corners as well as joint them.
Project 2 made from the same plywood that I saved from a neighbors trashpile after she tore apart a train table left in her basement by her ex-husband. I had long searched for 2x16s to make a pot and pan rack with dadoes, but quicly decided to cut 4 identical end supports and simply slice up 2 of them to make spacer cleats to support the shelves.
Another project I plan to start and finish before any cumulative snowfall hopefully, is simple raised bed frames for my garden which will probably use plant stakes inside PHJ.
My winter projects both come from our club magazine, but I’m already adapting the bench swing mentally to simply sit atop an old wooden crate for indoor/outdoor use and allow a concealed space underneath for tools/boots/… I found a number of 24″ 2x6s precut at te home center, and plan to cut 4″ x4″ x1″ pieces out of ends of some of these to interlock the armrests between the L shaped remnants.
The 2 arbor designs can also be combined to supprt an awning or panels in front of the garage or simply provide a sheltered walkway from the drive to the house in blizzard conditions.