Search
  • MLCS Woodworking

Wood Joints: Get To Know Them

Updated: Jul 16

written by Chelsea Rodgers

In our last post “5 Tips That Will Have You Woodworking Like A Pro”, one tip was to start out by practicing making different joints. There are a few different kinds of joints that are used in woodworking. Some joints are stronger the others, and some may take more practice than others to master. The fist key step it to understand the different joints and what they are used for. We explained 11 of the more popular types of joints:

1. Butt Joint

The butt joint is a fairly easy woodworking joint to master. It basically joins two pieces of wood by merely butting them together. The butt joint may be the easiest but it is also the weakest of the joints unless you add reinforcement of some kind. This kind of joint depends on glue to keep the joined pieces together. This kind of joint is just inherently weak, glue just doesn’t provide much lateral strength. Even though the butt joint isn’t the strongest type of joint, it’s still a popular woodworking joint.


2. Biscuit Joint

If you take your butt joint and add reinforcement then you now have a biscuit joint. The biscuit is an oval-shaped piece typically made of dried compressed wood such as beech. To make a biscuit joint you install the biscuit pieces in the matching mortises in both pieces of the wood joint. You don’t have to focus so much on accuracy with the this joint, however you want to be sure that the mortise has the right amount of distance from the face of the joint on both pieces.


3. Bridle Joint

A bridle joint is similar to a mortise and tenon joint. With this type of joint you cut a tenon on the end of one piece and mortise into the end of another piece, so that they slide together. The difference in the bridle joint is in the length of the tenon and the depth of the mortise. The tenon on this joint is the same length as the depth of the timber it is being inserted into and the mortise is cut the whole depth of the timber. This allows the two pieces to lock tightly. You can also see the end grain of the tenon in a bridle joint, unlike on the mortise and tenon.


.4. Dado (Joinery)

A dado is a slot cut into the surface of a piece of wood. When you’re cutting a dado joint you want to be sure you are cutting perpendicular to the wood grain. There are two types of a Dado Joints. A through dado joint passes all the way through the surface and then ends are open. A Stopped dado has one or both ends stop before it meets the edge of the surface.

5. Dovetail Joint

A dado is a slot cut into the surface of a piece of wood. When you’re cutting a dado joint you want to be sure you are cutting perpendicular to the wood grain. There are two types of a Dado Joints. A through dado joint passes all the way through the surface and then ends are open. A Stopped dado has one or both ends stop before it meets the edge of the surface.


6. Finger Joint

A finger joint, also known as a box joint is a more popular woodworking joint. Finger joints are used when joining two pieces of wood at right angles. This joint is similar to the dovetail joint except the pins are squared, not angles like in the dovetail joint. The Keep in mind finger joint relies on the glue to hold it together, and does not have the strength that the dovetail joint does. If you know how to use a table saw or a wood router with a jig, the finger joints are relatively easy to make.

7 Lap Wood Joint

A half lap joint is one the most used woodworking joints. A half-lap joint consists of two workpieces reduced to half of their thickness where they lap over each other. When you join the pieces together with a lap wood joint, the thickness should be even with the other pieces.


8. Mortise and Tenon Joints


The mortise and tenon joints are one of the strongest woodworking joints. These joints are created by joining two piece of wood at a 90-degree angle. The Mortise is what you call the hole in your first piece of wood. The mortise is a cavity cut into the end of one piece that will be receiving the tenon. The tenon is a projection on the end of the second piece that will be inserted into the mortise. You secure the joint in place with glue. Sometimes a pin or wedge is added to help lock the joint in place.


9. Pocket Hole Joint

The pocket hole joint is another popular woodworking joint. Basically, the pocket hole joint is a butt joint secured together with pocket screws, Two drilling operations are used when creating the pocket holes for this joint. You first want to counterbore the pocket hole. Then you drill a pilot hole with the same centerline as the pocket hole. The pilot hole is what allows the screw to pass through one piece, into the adjoining piece. Two different drill bits are used for this process.

You can make this process a whole lot easier by using a Pocket hole jig like the PocketJig200 Pocket Hole Jig by Milescraft (Eagle America – http://www.eagleamerica.com item# 400-2101) to make these joints. This tool helps you drill pocket holes at the correct angle and depth all in one step.


PocketJig200 Pocket Hole Jig by Milescraft


10. Rabbet Joint

A rabbet is a recess cut into the edge of a piece of wood. When viewed in cross-section, a rabbet is two-sided and open to the end of the surface. An example of the use of a rabbet is in the back edge of a cabinet. The rabbet allows the back to fit flush with the sides. Another example is the insertion of a glass pane by using a rabbet around the edge of the frame.


11. Tongue and Groove Joint

One of the more popular woodworking joints is the edge-to-edge joint, called tongue and groove. One piece has a slot (groove) cut all along one edge. The other piece has a tongue cut on the mating edge. As a result, two or more pieces fit together closely. You can use it to make wide tabletops out of solid wood.


#mlcs #woodworking

7 views

Blog

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Tumblr
  • Instagram

Follow Us!

MLCS Woodworking

TOLL FREE

Technical Support

1-800-533-9298

P.O. Box 165
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006-0165