Joinery is the aesthetic mark of fine craftsmanship. Without strong, beautiful joints connecting two pieces of wood together, furniture, toys, and other crafts would be produced from single pieces of wood. Once the woodworking joint types below have been fully understood and mastered, they can be applied to a multiple variety of projects, to make strong, attractively crafted material.
Basic Butt Joints
The most basic wood joint, this is used when framing walls in stick-frame homes with mechanical fasteners holding the two pieces of stock in place. Click here to learn more about how and when to build a basic butt joint.
Mitered Butt Joints
These are similar to basic butt joints, except that the two pieces of stock are joined at an angle (instead of perpendicular to each other). As a result, they are more aesthetically pleasing due to the fact that they don’t show any end grain. Click here to learn more about how and when to build a mitered butt joint.
These joints are applied where halves of each stock piece are removed in order for the two boards to mesh together, and while these can weaken the strength of the boards, the half-lap joint is a much stronger one than either the mitered butt or basic butt joints. Click here for more information on how and when to build a half-lap joint.
Tongue and Groove (T&G) Joints
T&G joints are used to join similar boards together, along a long edge and while this can be done through butting the joints together with glue, the T&G joint is stronger and allows for a flat surface. Click here to learn more about how to create tongue and groove joints.
Mortise and Tenon Joints
The mortise and tenon joint is one of the oldest joints in the history of the craft and has been used by woodworkers for thousands of years. Despite their age, they remain one of the simplest and effective ways of joinery. Click here to learn more about how to effectively create and use strong, elegant mortise and tenon joints.
Aside from T&G joints, another method of joining boards along their edges is through the biscuit joint. Cutting slots and using beechwood biscuits to hold the joints in place, this joinery method effectively uses glue and the expanding of the beechwood biscuits to keep the boards secure. Click here to learn more on cutting consistent biscuits and getting consistent results from biscuit joinery.
Pocket joints are perfect for cabinet frames and other applications with a light reliance on strength, and involve drilling a pre-drilling a hole at an angle and cutting a slot between two boards. These are then connected with a screw. Pre-drilling is usually done using a regular commercial jig. Click here for more information on how to get the best out of pocket joints.
This joint is commonly used to connect plywood and is simply a slot in a board where another (board) fits in. Click here to learn more about how to cut and use a dado in a project.
Rabbet joints are simply dados cut along the edges of boards and as such, share their uses as cabinetry joints. These are often used to provide support to the sides of a box (through the back face), adding strength to the complete assembly. Click here for more information on cutting clean rabbets and using them appropriately.
Through Dovetail Joints
These joints are the hallmark of craftsmanship and are simultaneously strong, beautiful and elegant at the same time. Dovetail joints can be created in a multitude of ways; click here to learn more about the how’s and when’s.
Half-Blind Dovetail Joints
There are times when both edges of a dovetail should not be visible (as in the through dovetail joint), for instance in drawer fronts. For projects like these, the half-blind dovetail joint is a more applicable choice. Click here to learn more about how to build a strong and aesthetically pleasing joint.