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Kevin O’Connor meets general contractor Tom Silva in the shop for a lesson on wood joints. With several power tools and jigs on the table, Tom explains how joinery works and some of the most popular methods. He teaches Kevin everything from mitered and lapped joints to dowels, biscuits, floating tenons, and pocket hole joinery, with examples of each type to show how they work.
Different Types of Wood Joints
Dado and Rabbet Joints
Pocket Hole Joinery
Where to find it?
Tom explained how to identify different types of wood joinery and why they’re used in woodworking.
Half-lap joint—Formed by creating two rabbet cuts, which requires cutting half of the end of the board. DOMINO DF Q-Plus by Festool [https://www.festoolusa.com/]
Half-lap butt joint—Formed by creating one rabbet cut, as explained above, and then placing the other board into the opening created by the rabbet cut. Hoffman—PDS 32 [https://hoffmann-usa.com/]
Miter Joint—Formed by creating two, opposing, 45-degree angle cuts on the ends of the board and then bringing them together, creating a 90-degree angle. Cut created using a Zeta P2 made by Lamello [https://www.lamello.com/]
Floating tenon joint (aka biscuit joint)—Formed using a biscuit joiner, a specialty tool that drills mortises wide enough to accept biscuits or tenons that are pre-cut and connect two boards with mortises together. Cut created using biscuit joiner, Top 10 by Lamello [https://www.lamello.com/]
Box joint—Formed by creating a series of cuts on each end of the board that create a castle or finger-shaped look. Cut created using Kreg Jig® K5 [https://www.kregtool.com/home]
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From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. Ask This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.
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Understanding Wood Joints | Ask This Old House