Drawbore – A Woodworking Joint to Learn

Back in the days when metal cost a lot more than wood people tried to make joints that did not require nails or screws. One such joint that is very strong is called the drawbore. This type of joint involves some kind of mortise and tenon with a wooden peg through it. However when the hole was drilled for the peg it wasn’t drilled straight through when the joint was together, the holes were offset a bit so when the peg was driven in the joint it would “draw” the joint tighter. This joint was used for hundreds of years and produced some very strong joints. Looking at the crude drawing below you will see two different boards, one green and one blue. The black line represents the peg and how it is deflected a bit as it goes through the holes that do not quite line up. One thing to note is this type of joint is not conclusive to something that needs to be taken apart and re-assembled. Once a peg is driven in it is hard to get out and since it is deformed it will not have the holding strength if you try to use it again. You could use new pegs, but the joint will not be as strong. According to my cousin the barn on my grandparents farm was framed without any nails. While he was not born yet when it was built he dig spend time repairing/refurbishing it so I’m going to take his work at it. If you get good timber-framers to build you something today you will see this joint used, sometimes with pegs with diameters measured in inches. If you have a project why not give it a try, particularly if you are working with green wood in the round. You might be surprised how tight the joint becomes as the wood shrinks. Popular Woodworking has an article on Drawboring if you want more information.

Drawbore Joint
Drawbore Joint

Author: Jerry Ward

Working on creating a 10 acre urban homestead in S.E. Michigan. To pay the bills I work as a product manager/business analyst in the IT field. Now the admin of Save Our Skills