topic: wood joints

what are wood joints?

Joinery is a part of woodworking that involves joining together pieces of wood or lumber, to produce more complex items. Some wood joints employ fasteners, bindings, or adhesives, while others use only wood elements

types of wood joints-

Basic butt joint, mitered butt joint, half lap joint, tongue and groove joint, mortise and tenon joint, biscuit joint, pocket joint, dado, rabbet, through dove tail joint, half blind dovetail joint, sliding dovetail and box joint are the thirteen different wood joints.

There is no more basic wood joinery than the butt joint. A butt joint is nothing more than when one piece of wood butts into another (most often at a right angle, or square to the other board) and is fastened using mechanical fasteners. This type of joint is often used in wall framing on construction sites. Learn tips for using a butt joint, as well as when to choose another wood joinery type.

Butt Joint

A mitered butt joint is nearly the same as a basic butt joint, except that the two boards are joined at an angle (instead of square to one another). The advantage is that the mitered butt joint will not show any end grain, and as such is a bit more aesthetically pleasing. However, the mitered butt joint isn’t all that strong. 

Butt Joint

The half-lap joint is where half of each of the two boards being joined is removed so that the two boards join together flush with one another. This type of wood joinery can obviously weaken the strength of the two adjoining boards, but also is a stronger joint than butt joints. There are a number of projects where this type of wood joint is quite desirable, in spite of its drawbacks.

Half-Lap Joint

When joining two boards square to one another along a long edge, one can simply butt the joint together and hold it with fasteners. However, the tongue and groove joint is much stronger and provides more adjoining surface areas, which is particularly useful if you’re going to glue the joint.

Tongue and Groove Joint

The mortise and tenon is a classic wood joinery method. These joints have been used since the early times of woodworking, and are still among the strongest and most elegant methods for joining wood. Learn methods for creating tight, beautiful mortise and tenon joints.

Mortise and Tenon Joint

Another method for joining boards along the edges (like the tongue and groove joint) is to cut slots and use beechwood wafers (known as a biscuit) to hold the boards in place. This is a very useful modern woodworking joint, particularly for creating table tops, relying on glue and the swelling of the beechwood biscuit to hold the boards in place. Learn how to cut consistent slots

Biscuit Joint

The pocket joint is a type of wood joinery that involves cutting a slot and pre-drilling a pilot hole at an angle between two boards before connecting the two with a screw. This pre-drilling needs to be very accurate, so it is typically accomplished by use of a commercial jig. Pocket joints work great for cabinet face frames and other similar applications where a lot of strength is not needed. Learn the steps to creating pocket joints in your woodworking projects.

Pocket Joint

A dado is nothing more than a square-grooved slot on one board where another board will fit. Similar to tongue and groove joinery, this is a commonly-used wood joint for connecting plywood, such as building cabinetry. Learn how to properly cut a dado, and when to use one.

Dado Joint

Another common wood joint used in cabinetry is the rabbet. A rabbet is essentially a dado cut along the edge of a board. Rabbets are often used at the back of cabinets and other similar assemblies for attaching the back to the sides of the box, adding a considerable amount of strength to the assembly. Learn how to cut clean rabbets and when to use them.


Of all wood joinery methods, the through dovetail may be the most revered. A classic through dovetail is beautiful and very strong and adds a touch of class to any piece. There are a few methods for creating through dovetails, from hand cutting to machining with a jig. Learn the keys to a quality through dovetail joint and how to create them.

Dovetail Joint

There are situations where a dovetail joint is the connection of choice, but both edges of the dovetails should not be visible. A perfect example is a drawer front, where you don’t want to see the end of the through dovetail on the face of the drawer. For this type of joint, the best choice is a half-blind dovetail. Learn how to build a clean, strong and beautiful half-blind dovetail joint and when to use this type of wood joinery.

Half-Blind Dovetail

A sliding dovetail is a versatile joint with a lot of possible uses. A good way to think of it is as a locking dado. Learn the keys to building a clean sliding dovetail joint, and when to use one

Sliding Dovetail Joint

Dovetail joints are beautiful and strong, but not always practical. A box joint is a simpler alternative to the dovetail joint. Learn how to build consistent and strong box joints in your woodworking projects.

Box Joint