Types of Woodworking Joints
You wouldn’t get very far with a woodworking project without some type of joint. Pieces of wood need to be attached in order to create a single finished piece. But if you’re new to woodworking, the number of different joints and knowing when to use them can quickly get confusing and overwhelming. Is a butt joint actually a real thing? Woodworking joints begin sounding more like body parts than something you use to make a bookshelf. So before you feel ready to give up the entire hobby, here’s a list of joints and what they are.
With the Castle pocket hole machine, you can practice pocket-hole joinery with ease — but we’ll talk more about that in a minute.
One of the most simple joints, this is simply putting the ends of two pieces together. It joins the end grain of one piece to the long grain of another and the two pieces are glued together. These joints typically only use glue to hold the pieces together, so they are fairly weak and can be broken just using your hands.
A reinforced version of the butt joint, this joint uses a “biscuit” to connect the two pieces. A biscuit is an oval-shaped piece usually made with compressed wood and is placed in corresponding mortises (the hole cut out in the wood) in each piece of wood. Glue is then used to secure the pieces.
This joint is similar to a mortise and tenon, but with more open holes in the wood. The end of one piece of wood is cut into a tenon shape and the other piece of wood is cut into a mortise, so that the two pieces that can be fitted together to form a corner. This joint can be used to create legs or to help create frame pieces when it’s being shaped. This is a strong joint with good durability. The T-bridle is a variation in which one piece is connected to the middle of the second instead of the end.
Use this joint when you need to put up shelves. A slot is cut into the surface of the wood — a dado is cut perpendicular to the grain and a groove is put parallel to the grain. The slot can either go through the entire surface of the piece of wood or stop just before it goes through.
This joint is commonly used when putting together drawers and entails each piece to have a series of pins and tails that interlock together. The pins and tails have a trapezoid shape to increase durability and strength. Glue the pieces together and there’s no need for fasteners.
Similar to the dovetail joint, the finger joint also has a series of pins along an edge that are interlocked together using glue. The difference is that the finger joint pins are straight instead of angled. This joint isn’t as strong as the dovetail, but it is fairly easy to make with a table saw, wood router, or a jig.
Lap Wood Joint
One of the more popular joints used in woodworking, the lap wood joint combines two pieces of wood by cutting away half the thickness of the pieces. This joint is typically used when the two pieces have the same thickness. The portion of wood cut away will fit into the corresponding cutout on the other piece.
Mortise and Tenon
One of the strongest and another popular joint, the mortise and tenon is used to attach two pieces of wood at a 90-degree angle. The mortise part of the joint is a hole or cavity cut into one piece of wood. A tenon is the negative of the mortise hole, protruding from the second piece of wood. The tenon is typically around ⅓ the thickness of the piece of wood. Reinforce this joint using glue and it will be strong and long-lasting.
Rather than butting two pieces of wood together with glue, the pocket-hole joint goes one step further. This is another popular and strong joint that uses a pocket hole that is cut into one piece of wood with another pilot hole that allows a screw to be driven into the adjoining piece of wood. Our Castle pocket hole machine makes it easy to make a pocket joint. Our low-angle pocket and pilot hole make the joint stronger and there’s less chance of the pieces shifting.
The rabbet joint is simple and straightforward. A cut is made into the end of a piece of wood to create a “step.” This joint is in a variety of woodworking projects, including cabinets or glass panes.
Tongue and Groove
Commonly used in flooring, the tongue and groove joint is similar to the bridle joint; instead, the grooves are cut into the length of the board instead of the end. A protruding groove on one piece fits into a crevice of another, allowing the two pieces to fit together closely.
These 11 joints are all used for various woodworking projects to make the final piece strong and to achieve a cohesive, smooth look. When working on any project, our mission at Castle USA is to make the process as easy and as simple as possible. Our Castle pocket hole machine is just the piece of equipment to help you build beautiful pieces made with craftsmanship.
Learn more about our Castle pocket hole machine by watching this video and shop all of our accessories, including drill and router bits, screws, wood plugs, and more.