Woodworking joinery is the craft of connecting and securing the separate members of the wooden construction  to one another by means of specific cuts on the ends and/or sides of the members.

Woodworking joint is the spot where usually two pieces of wooden construction are joined together to form a rigid self supporting and permanent construction. Woodworking joints can be formed between the edges or between the end and the face, in the direction of the length, at right angles or it may be at an angle, other than a right angle. Various glues or fasteners (nails, screws, bolts…) are being used to increase the strength, effectiveness and rigidity of woodworking joints. Since the main purpose of woodworking joints is to join wooden parts together, their construction should be done carefully, so it would not weaken the parts that are joining.

Each of these joints has a name and is usually some variation of a hole or slot on one timber, and a corresponding, matching projection on the other.

The purpose of our woodworking joints database is to introduce the basic types and methods of making woodworking joints to the amateur woodworker and carpenter, and for the experienced craftsman to serve as a reminder, or to expand certain knowledge in this field, if needed.

There are many types of woodworking joints; some can be made easily and the others are quite difficult to make, but the practice will show you that the more complex the woodworking joint is, the stronger it is.

The quality woodworking joints can be manufactured with the hand tools, but if you need high productivity, you will have to rely on machines and power tools.

Our goal regarding this joint database is to provide as much information as possible about each joint. We own a large number of old carpentry books and magazines, and all the given information on joints have been found in them. If you know of any additional information about any of the joints described, its other name, or if you have noticed any mistake that we have made, do let us know - we are aiming to make this a great quality database of woodworking joints available to everyone!

Woodworking joints can be divided into four main categories, depending on the functions they perform:

  • Lengtening
  • Widening
  • Framing 
  • Housing

Woodworking joints are usually divided into the following categories:

 

A finger joint or box joint is used to join two pieces of wood at a corner. It is similar to a dovetail joint except that the pins are square and not angled.

 

A bridle joint is similar to a mortise and tenon woodworking joint, thought in most circumstances it would not be as strong. It is open ended mortise and tenon joint.

A butt joint is made by placing the end of one piece of wood against the side of another and fastening them firmly to each other.

A dado joint is made by cutting a rectangular groove entirely across one member into which the end of another member fits.

Dovetail joints are so named from the shape of the piece which make the joint. This is propably the strongest method for joining two pieces of wood.

A half lap joint usually consist of two members notched to half thickness and lapped on each other with the face flush.

 

A miter joint is one formed by the meeting of two pieces at a corner, on a line bisecting the right angle. The same class of joint can be used on angles greater or less than 90 degrees.

 

A mortise and tenon joint is the method of joining by forming a solid rectangular projection in the one piece and cutting a corresponding cavity to receive it in the adjoining piece.

A rabbet is a recess cut out of the end or edge of a board. When a piece is butted into a rabbet, it is called a rabbet joint.

 

A scarf joint is formed where two pieces lap each other in the direction of the grain, with flush surfaces.

A tongue and groove joint provide a mechanical means of joining the edges of narrow boards when forming a wider panel.

 

 

- Dimensioning woodworking joints

- 17 ways to fasten a tabletop

- 29 ways to hang a shelf

 

To be able to successfully design your wooden construction is necessary to bear in mind two things: to know the right woodworking joint to use, and to know how to make that woodworking joint in the right way.

In order to finish some woodworking project you will have to take a large number of actions like project design, wood selection and preparation, finishing, but durability and sturdiness of your wooden construction will mostly depend on the choice and the manufacture of woodworking joints.

Every woodworking joint must fulfil important requirements:

  • It must support the load transmitted from other parts of wooden construction, or the load that has direct influence on the members of the woodworking joint. This load includes the weight of the construction itself, the external weight or the forces that influence your construction, various internal and residual stresses.
  • It must let the wood move as it expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity
  • It must provide suitable gluing surface or anchor for fasteners.

On some constructions the visual appearance is also important, so an additional requirement for woodworking joints is to be either decorative or unnoticeable. In both cases the woodworking joints must be properly and accurately crafted.

All the images in this category were created based on 3D models modeled in FreeCAD 3D CAD software. Drawing 3D models for each joint took us a long time, so please do not use our joint pictures without our knowledge. Previously, there were old pictures of all the joints on our site, but in the meantime we decided to draw each one again. The first reason was that we wanted to draw them a little better, and the reason second was that, unfortunately, our old pictures had been stolen and published on a large number of websites without our permission.

We don’t want anything to do with websites that create content in such a way. In the image below, you can see what the old images looked like to help you more easily identify the websites that are stealing content.

Stolen images of woodworking joints