Putting 3/8" dowels actually did nothing for the strength of the seat and probably weakened it further. The more wood you take away the less strength you have. When you drill a hole you have end grain on 2 sides and glue on end grain is weak. You also have the grain of the dowel running 90 degrees to the grain of the seat- also a weak glue joint. Plus the dowel doesn't mechanically tie the 2 sides of the seat together- when the weak glue joint creeps or fails the 2 sides will simply slide apart on that dowel. A way to tie both sides together with minimal wood removal is to use a modern drywall screw. It is superior to the old screws which made a big hole and tiny, easily stripped threads. the drywall screw (I prefer coarse thread) makes a tiny hole and parts the wood fibers more than it cuts them. the thread and the bugle shaped head locks the sides together and the black head can't be seen through the weave at all.
I have a friend who is a wood worker that glued a pressed cane spline into the groove then re-drilled the hand cane holes. He also added several 3/8" dowels horizontally (from the inside) into the... more
Re: Converting Pressed Back to Hand Cane Mindy King - the chair weaver,Wed Jun 20 12:03am
What an excellent idea. I've never thought of using drywall screws; I mostly use dowels - either cocktail sticks or kebab sticks. Usually glueing and clamping the rail first then adding the dowels.... more