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Woodworking Guide To Joining The Pieces

With all the pieces cut and shaped according to the project’s instruction, you can now assemble everything into the final product. While not s tedious as the previous stage, assembly requires careful thought, as joined section has to be strong for the whole build to hold together firmly.

Types of Joints

In woodworking and carpentry, there are 8 different joints commonly used for assembling pieces together into the final product. Each of these joints serves a different purpose, and you will often have a piece that uses two or more different types. The joint types are as follows:

1. Butt Joint

The butt joint is the simplest type of joint, essentially just one piece placed against another. The joint is held together by nails, screws, or clips. While it might not look that complicated, the butt joint is quite strong and can hold a fair amount of heavy load.

2. Mitre Joint

Mitre joints are similar to butt joints in that they are essentially just the two pieces touching each other. However, the main difference is that mitered joints have the ends to be joined of both pieces cut into an angle, instead of being left square, as is with the butt joint. The angle is commonly around 45 degrees. The main advantage of this joint of the butt is that it affords a cleaner look, as well as adding more possibilities as to how the pieces can be angled.

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3. Lap Joint

The lap joint is a joint in which material is removed from the thickness of the piece to be joined, and the other piece, with or without a notch carved onto it, placed onto the notch of the first one. As the process requires removing some material, this joint might not be as strong as other joint types. However, it can still have considerable strength, depending on how tightly the notches where made to fit. The joint also looks a lot cleaner and is good for use in creating certain kinds of wooden frames.

4. Mortise and Tenon Joint

The mortise and tenon joint is one of the oldest joints used in woodworking. The mortise is a square hole cut into the side of one piece while the tenon is a corresponding protrusion carved into the end of the other piece. The tenon fits into the mortise and can sometimes extend to the other side of the mortised part. Mortise and tenon joints are very useful when making exposed joints, where nails and other visible fasteners can detract from the overall look.

5. Tongue and Groove Joint

Most joints have the pieces joined at their edge. The tongue and groove joint has the pieces joined at their edges. The tongue is a protrusion cut all the way from end to end onto the edge of a piece while the groove is a corresponding slot carved out of the edge of another piece. The tongue is simply slotted into the groove to create the joint. Tongue and groove joints are often machined as part of prefabricated wood planks, as making them by hand is laborious. The joint is commonly employed in floor and wall boards.

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6. Dado Joint

Dado joints are similar to tongue and groove joints in that one of the pieces to be joined has a groove cut along one piece. However, the groove is cut along the center of the piece, rather than the edge, with the other piece’s edge or end fitted onto it. The dado is commonly employed in joining the top of a cabinet or dresser with the sides and back.

7. Rabbet Joint

The rabbet joint is similar to the dado, except that the groove is cut on the edge or end of the piece rather than the center. Rabbets are commonly used for attaching the sides of a cabinet to the back panel, as it adds strength to the frame. It is also commonly used in creating simple boxes.

8. Dovetail Joint

The dovetail joint is popularly employed by cabinet makers and woodworkers not only for its strength but also for its beauty. The dovetail is a set of groove and teeth cut on the ends of the pieces, which interlock in the same manner as a zipper. As the teeth mesh together tightly, the joint can hold its own even with a little glue and rarely come undone. Similar to a tongue and groove joint, the teeth in the dovetail are machined for an accurate fit.

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