Anyone who spends much time putting together pieces of wood eventually comes across a situation where a simple screw-held butt joint would be both efficient and attractive. Unfortunately, screwing into the end grain of any wood has little holding power, and glue increases the bond only marginally. Doweling the joint is effective, but tedious. Also, dowels have no ability to pull the joint together, which screws do quite well. The problem boils down to finding a way to keep the screws from stripping out of end grain.
A simple way of overcoming this difficulty is to insert a dowel in the piece of wood receiving the screws. The dowel should be perpendicular to the butt end of the piece of wood, as shown in the drawing, where it will provide a good cross grain anchor for the screw’s threads. As a rule of thumb, I use a diameter of dowel that is about half the thickness of the stock. Pilot holes should be drilled through the dowel after it’s inserted in the hole to avoid splitting it. Screws should be long enough to extend a bit past the dowel to ensure maximum grip.
John Grunwald, Hornby Island, None