The Many Ways to Marry Wood

We’re hitting on the subject of joining a couple of pieces of wood together. Of course you could make a functional object without fitting a couple of planks in concert. But you know what you’d have. A statue. Pretty hard to build a house out of one big piece of timber. You could do it, but you’d get busted for destroying one of the giant redwoods out west.

Joint Tweets

The Dovetail Joint

We’re going to pretend that the explanation of types of joinery is being Tweeted between a couple of newbie woodworkers. We may go over the letter limit of the real thing, but you get the idea. Our intention is to be simple.


The Dovetail Joint.

Looking for class? This is your connection. Usually done with a jigsaw, they can be hand chiseled, too. Very strong method of joinery.


The Half-Blind Dovetail Joint.

Think of a box. You don’t want to see the edges of the connection. Sort of like a key in a lock, only you don’t see the handle. Done right, here’s another super-strong method.


The Sliding Dovetail.

This type of joinery could best be considered as a dado that locks into place.


A Dado.

Since we’re talking dado, here’s what it is: It’s a slot that’s square. The other board fits into the grooves.


The Rabbet.

Look at this joinery as a dado that you’d cut along the edge of the wood. Generally you find this in the backside of a box.


The Box Joint.

At the top we mentioned the elegance of a dovetail joint. Sometimes, though, they’re just not a good fit. The box joint is a practical alternative.


The Pocket Joint.

Not the best choice if you’re looking for ruggedness. You jig-out a slot, drill a pilot hole at a 45-degree angle and screw the boards together. You will need to be very exact with the pre-drilling.


The Biscuit Joint.

Only beech wood can apply for this job. They are quarter-sized biscuits. Actually look like wafers. You make slots on both planks, then glue the biscuit into the holes.


The Tongue and Groove Joint.

Very similar to the biscuit joint. Just like the example above, you’d use this when you’re bringing a couple of boards – squarely – to each other.


The Basic Butt Joint.

There’s no complicated way to say this. A basic butt joint is when you take a piece of wood, frame it to the other and fasten them together with nails, bolts of screws. Commonly a strong method.


The Mitered Butt Joint.

Unlike the above, this type of joinery is not too strong. The advantage is that you won’t see any end grain.


The Mortise and Tenon Joint.

This is perhaps the oldest technique of bringing wood together. Very durable and a joy to behold.


The Half-Lap Joint.

While it’s more heavy-duty than a butt joint, you’ll have to slice the two boards in half. Then reconnect them so they are flush. While it sounds funky, there are some practical reasons for going this route.

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