Hinging & shutting joints – Woodworking joints

There is a large variety of hinging and shutting joints, the majority are complex, so we will just look at some of the more basic joints that can be found in doors, windows, tables etc. The details of the joints depend on the class of work and requirements, for instance, in airtight show-cases, the joints are often intricate, but in ordinary work a simple rebate is usually sufficient.

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Jointing timber in width – Woodworking joints

This type of joint enables narrow boards to be built up to cover large areas (floor boards, cladding, etc.), or built up to form wider boards for shelving, cabinet work, table tops, etc.

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Joining timber in length – Woodworking joints

Scarf joints

These are the most important joints for the lengthening of timbers, and the most difficult to construct. They are used where it is required to keep the section of the timbers uniform in size. The two pieces in a scarfed joint are cut and fitted to each other, so that the same breadth and thickness are retained. For jointing wide boards (Fig.A) shows the type of Scarf joint that would normally be used. Where additional strength is required (purlins or beams) then scarf joints can be bolted and plated – this is also known as a fished joint (Fig.B).

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Woodworking joints – Angle joints (Part 3)

The Tusk Tenon

Another type of mortice and tenon joint used is the Tusk tenon. Arranged to weaken the timbers as little as possible, the tusk tenon is used in floor and roof construction. The tenon – which usually has a thickness of one-sixth the width of the material – is strengthened by projections left on the shoulder. The tenon projects through the timber that it is being jointed to and is secured with a wedge or key. A vertical section and plan are shown below (Fig A), and an isometric view (Fig. B). The tusk tenon, although not used as commonly as it once was (due to the likes of joist hangers), can still be found in floor joists.

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Woodworking angle joints (Part 2)

The Mortice and tenon joint

In its varied forms, this joint is used perhaps more extensively than any other. The picture of the mortice and tenon joint (Fig A) shows the names of the different parts of the joint.

  1. The Shoulder
  2. The Tenon
  3. The Mortice


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Woodworking joints – Angle joints (Part 1)

The Mitre Joint

This is the most simple of the angled joints and probably the most commonly found joint around your home. The main use of the Mitre joint (Fig. A) is for skirting boards, picture rails and dado rails (external corners), architraves, mouldings and picture framing. Usually, this joint is used to form a 90 degree corner, with the two pieces of timber to be jointed being cut at 45 degrees.

Mitre joint -  a simple joint


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Basic woodworking joints

The main aim when jointing any pieces of timber together should be to cut the joints and arrange them so as to weaken the pieces of timber as little as possible. When the connection is effected entirely by means of timbers fitted together, it is called a joint. Most commonly, however, the joint is strengthened and secured by fastenings, such as: wedges, glue, draw pins, pins, screws, nails, etc. In nearly all cases simple joints are more effective than complicated joints.

Woodworking joints can be divided into four main classifications that correspond to their functions:
joints in length for increasing the lengths of timber, joints in width for increasing the width of timber and angle joints.

Mortice and tenon joint

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