One of the most critical aspects of quality woodworking is joinery. “Joinery” is the term that refers to joining or connecting two pieces of wood together.
You will need to understand joinery to make any sort of complex project, and of course, it is also needed for simple projects as well. Whether you want to make a simple wooden box or a complex cabinet, you will need to master joinery to connect the wood pieces together.
Wood joints can be made from a variety of materials, including metal or glue, but for solid wood furniture, many woodmakers prefer to use just wood.
Learning how to create a strong wood connection is not that difficult. The mastery comes from creating woodworking joints that are seamless and even.
17 Different Types of Woodworking Joints
Woodworking has a variety of standard joints to choose from, and which you use will depend on the project as well as your skills. Some of the woodworking joints available include:
1. Butt Joint
Like the name says, you just butt up one end of a piece of wood against the other. Weak, but simple, the joint has variations that include the T-butt, T-lap, miter butt, end-to-end butt, and edge-to-edge butt.
2. Lap Joint
In a lap joint, one end of a piece of wood overlaps another piece of wood. Often, an indentation is cut out to fit the overlapping piece of wood.
3. Bridle Joint
One piece of wood has a slit carved into it that the other piece of wood fits into. This type of joint is common in rafters.
4. Dowel Joint
If you’ve ever put together a piece of furniture from Ikea, then you know exactly what a dowel joint is. Small wooden pegs fit into little holes that are drilled into the wood.
5. Mitre Joint
This is a butt joint where the two pieces have been cut to a 45-degree angle (or similar).
6. Finger Joint
Imagine clasping your fingers together. This is what a finger joint looks like. Teeth have been cut into both ends of the wood pieces and fit together.
7. Dovetail Joint
This is a finger joint with diagonal cuts – something you might see in a children’s toy or those big foam mats that can connect to create cushioned flooring.
8. Dado Joint (Housing Joint / Trench Joint)
This is where a slot is cut into one piece of wood and the other piece slides into it. This can be used for shelving, for example.
9. Groove Joint
This is a dado joint where the slot is cut in line with the wood grain.
10. Tongue and Groove Joint
One piece will have a tongue carved out that fits into a groove cut into the other piece of wood.
11. Mortise and Tenon Joint
The tenon is like a tab that has been cut into a piece of wood. The mortise is the slot that the tab fits into. This very strong joint is typically used in Mission Style furniture.
12. Birdsmouth Joint (Bird’s Beak Cut)
Like a bird’s beak, a v-shaped chunk is taken out of the piece of wood, so it can fit over another piece of wood, on a slant. This is used for roofs.
13. Cross Lap Joint
Notches are cut into both pieces of wood, so they can fit together at the intersection.
14. Splice Joint
Used to attach two pieces of wood from end to end, the spice joint involves cutting notches into the wood to enable a seamless overlap.
15. Pocket-Hole Joint
A less traditional wood joint, A hole is created at an angle to allow for a hidden screw to be installed.
16. Biscuit Joint
Another one of the non-traditional wood joints, the biscuit joint involves the creation of a wooden “biscuit” or oval that is inserted into two holes (on each piece of wood that needs to be connected). It may also utilize glue.
17. Stitch and Glue Joint
This is a modern joint that uses wire (typically copper), glue, and epoxy resin to create strong joints at odd angles.
Mastering Joinery is a Fun Part of Woodworking
As you can see, with so many different types of joints to choose from, you can approach joinery from the perspective of solving a puzzle. Certain types of joints work better with certain applications, all of which you will learn more about the more you practice. Who knows, perhaps you will end up creating an entirely new type of joint!