I am going to be making a box to store full milk bottles outside.

I was going to make a frame using miter joints, as I have a miter saw. However, I didn't think the joint would be strong enough, so I planned to use dowels to strengthen them. But as I will be hiding the joints, is there any reason why I shouldn't use doweled butt joints instead as they are a touch easier to make.

Miter joints are stronger than butt joints apparently due to larger surface area for the glue, though some claim that the end grain causes the glue to be less effective. But if I'm using dowels, is there any benefit (other than aesthetic) to a doweled miter joint over doweled a butt joint?

  • 1
    There was a link posted here in the last month or two refuting the "end-grain = weak joint" conventional wisdom, with test results to prove it. Lemme see if I can find it.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 8, 2021 at 17:27
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    Hi, welcome to Woodworking. "Miter joints are stronger than butt joints apparently due to larger surface area for the glue" The difference in surface area is so small that it really makes little to no difference. FWIW since either joint is strong enough for service I think you should pick based on other criteria, including the ease of making as you've touched on. And unless you were using through-dowels the difference in difficulty is fairly pronounced, so for a utilitarian item like this I'd definitely go with butt joints myself unless I felt like doing mitres for the challenge/practice.
    – Graphus
    Commented Dec 8, 2021 at 20:30
  • @FreeMan, OP might be talking about edge mitres, in which case both options involve long grain | long grain joints. Of course if this will be made from plywood then it's about equal either way.
    – Graphus
    Commented Dec 8, 2021 at 20:37

1 Answer 1


As far as I know, there really isn't much difference in strength in either case. Aesthetics are the big decision. Which, leaves the simplest is to just use screws (or nails) for the butt joints.

You can also go fancier, with the mitered joints you can then do cuts through the corners and glue in 'triangles' of a different wood which can be used as accents and still help strengthen the corners.

like this corner strengthening

or less lining up than dowels is a spline like this enter image description here

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