Friday, March 22, 2013

How to make wood window screens 6: Securing the Miter Joints with Dowel Rods

This is a continuation of my series on making wood window screens. The original post was here, and the just previous post in the series was here.

We've resumed our own screen making for the summer that will someday, hopefully, be here. And in this series, we are up to Step 5. So here goes ...

5. Fasten the corners with Dowel Rods

The next step, after the frames have been glued and dried at least overnight, is to secure the glued miter joints with a dowel rod at each corner. We used one dowel rod per corner. One of the old models we're not following that doesn't have miter joints uses two dowel rod fasteners, side by side about an inch apart:

This is a classic way to make joints, so don't hesitate to consult other books or online sources aside from this post, if you have questions. The best post I've found on this is on YouTube here. As you can see from this video, a strong miter joint secured with dowel rods usually uses more than one pin, but in fact, I feel like a strong frame is not a terribly important issue with window screens. They go in the window six months a year (in the northeast, anyway) and are completely secured by the window frame around them. If you are in a different situation, you may want to investigate other sources on making strong miter joints, to get the right screens for your own home.

Before you start, drill a test hole in a piece of scrap wood and check to see the the fit with the dowel rod is not too tight or too loose. Ideally, the fit is tight but with a tiny bit of give, to allow room for glue. Here is a photo of a test hole:

Place the glued up frame into a vise:

Line up the drill, and drill a hole deep enough to go through both pieces of wood:

Put some glue into the hole and some onto the end of the dowel rod. Insert the dowel and saw it off even with the frame. In some cases, the dowel rod does not go all the way into the hole, and in that case, you can saw it off a little above the frame and hammer it the rest of the way in. 

Here is a photo of the dowel rod, after it has been sawed even with the frame. When all four are done, the frame should dry overnight again, before proceeding to the next step. I will sand this after it dries, when I prep for painting.

Since we have a couple frames left to make, after putting in the dowel rods, I glued up another frame with the freed-up corner clamps, and we'll dowel rod that one tomorrow evening.

Here is our growing rack of screens in the basement. As you can see we have several that have been glued, but not yet painted. Time to break out the paint brush.

 But for tonight, that is all. Time to rest.

For the entire series on making wooden window screens, click on the category "How to Make Wood Window Screens Series", in the Topics list along the right-hand side of the home page. There is also now an index tab at the top of the home page, listing all the posts in sequential order, with a link to each one.