Making Joints

There are many, many wood joints. They range in complexity from the plainest butt joint to lapped goose-necked mortise and tenon joints with stub tenons. The projects in this book are constructed with only the simplest joints, secured with either nails or screws.

Edge-to-edge joint: This joint is used when laminating boards together edge to edge to obtain a wider piece of wood. To ensure a perfect joint between boards, a minuscule amount should be ripped from each board. Next, wipe glue on the adjoining edges and clamp the boards together as shown in Figure 3.

Apply even pressure along the length of the piece. The boards should be firmly clamped, but not so tightly that all of the glue is forced out, or that the lamination starts to bow across its width. On a long lamination, extra boards may be placed above and below the lamination, across the width, and those boards clamped with "C" clamps or wood clamps. Wipe off any excess glue that is squeezed out in the

Figure 5 Using Hand Tools to Make a Dado


1 .Mark the dimensions of the dado.

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  1. Cut to proper depth with saw.
  2. Chisel out excess (toward center).

Butt joint: This is the simplest of joints, where one board abuts another at a right angle. This method offers the least holding power of any joint. It must be reinforced with some kind of fastener, usually screws.

Miter: A miter is an angle cut across the width of a board. It is used to join two pieces of wood without exposing the end grain of either piece. A mitered joint must also be reinforced with nails or screws. The angle most often cut is 45 degrees, which is used to construct a right angle when two mitered boards are joined together.

Bevel: A bevel is also an angular cut, but it refers to an angle cut along the length of a board, rather than across the width as in a miter. Figure 4 illustrates the difference between miters and bevels.

Dado: A dado is a groove cut in the face of one board to accommodate the thickness of another board. It can be cut with multiple saw passes, with a router, or with a dado set on a table saw. The procedure for making a dado using hand tools is shown in Figure 5.

No matter what kind of joint you're making, it is advisable to use both glue and fasteners (nails or screws) whenever possible. The only exception, when you may want to omit the glue, is on joints that you wish to disassemble at a later time.

For interior projects, ordinary, straw-colored carpenter's glue is the optimum choice. For exterior use, a two-part glue (resin plus a catalyst) works best.

Don't overdo the amount of glue. If you apply too much, the glue will be squeezed out and drip all over your project when the joint is clamped or fastened. I normally apply a small ribbon of glue down the center of one surface and then rub the adjoining surface against the ribbon to distribute the glue evenly. Your objective is to coat both surfaces with a uniform, thin coating.

When you mix a two-part adhesive, follow the manufacturer's directions explicitly These glues set up very quickly, so only mix enough to perform the task at hand.

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