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Build & Remodel

Joining Two Pieces Of Wood

This would normally fall under the Woodworking section, but many of you may miss it there and it should be helpful to you when building some of these projects.


Joining two pieces of wood together is called 'joinery' and there are various types of joints that can be used. Most of these joints can be used to joint two pieces end to end or end to side. Some are only end to side.


Butt Joint

Butt Joint.jpg

Screwed or nailed and usually some glue applied to the end of the vertical piece, in this case.


Pocket Hole

Pocket Hole.jpg

Pocket holes have become very popular the last few years. The Kreg Jig and others have made this a very easy, fast and strong type of joint that anyone can master. Utilitizing a special jig and drill bit, a hole is drilled into one board at a particular angle. A special screw is then used through the hole to join the two boards together. This can be used for end to end or end to side joints. You typically see it used in cabinetry or furniture quite a bit. They also make a Kreg Jig for putting down deck boards. Doweling works in a similar fashion. A hole is made in each piece. A piece of dowel is inserted into one board and mated with the hole in the second board. Biscuits and Dominos are similar to dowels.



Rabbet 1.jpg

Rabbet 2.jpg

A rabbet joint is similar to a butt joint and is typically glued. The advantage more surface area to glue and a way of 'locking' the two boards together. Used a lot when making drawers.


Lap Joint

Lap Joint.jpg

Corresponding portions of each board are removed so they fit together as one piece. Usually glued and sometimes a mechanical fastener of some sort is used.


Mitered Joint

Miter Joint 1.jpg

Miter Joint 2.jpg

Seen most often in picture frames. The advantage is that no end grain of the two pieces is visible. This is a form of a butt joint.


Mitered Lap Joint

Miter Joint 3 Lap.jpg

You can combine different joints together, such as the mitered lap joint. This has the advantage of a clean look on the face that the mitered joint offers, but the increased gluing area of the lap joint.



Dado 1.jpg

Dado 2.jpg

Similar to a rabbet is the dado. Commonly seen in bookcases or cabinetry. When you have to join the end piece of one board into the middle of another board, a dado makes a great choice. They can be cut with a table saw (with or without a dado blade), a router or by hand using a specialized hand plane or saw and chisel.


Mortise and Tenon

MT 1.jpg

MT 2.jpg

The mortise (the hole part) is cut out and the corresponding piece has the tenon that fits into the mortise. Quite common for building tables of any type. In the past, they'd be cut by hand with saw and chisel. Today, you'd probably do the tenons on a table saw and the mortise with a drill press and specialized bit, or a mortising machine.



Dovetail 1.jpg

Dovetail 2.jpg

Box joints and finger joints are similar to a dovetail, except their cuts are straight. A dovetail features angled cuts, better locking the pieces together like a puzzle. There was a discussion earlier about dovetails in the Woodworking section of the Tools & Hardware board. It's about cutting them using a hand saw. There are also jigs available to use a router. There are different kinds of dovetails as well, through (shown above), half-blinds, secret mitered and sliding, to mention a few.


Hope this helps you better understand projects you see here or on other sites. 

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Posted 2012-07-01T19:49:48+0000  by Paul Paul

Hey Paul,


Thanks for putting this up here! I remember you explaining methods for creating the dovetail joints in another topic and I thought it was really interesting, plus that video you posted was really amazing! This should serve as a great tutorial on the basics of woodworking, and hopefully help answer some questions too!


I added in some tags to the topic so that it helps make it more searchable, so that more people can check out the work you've done on this. Thanks as always!~

Posted 2012-07-05T18:45:53+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI
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