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

Housing joint

The square housing joint (Fig. B) is used for two main purposes: for stud partitions, where the joint would be secured with nails, and for shelving in cabinet work, where the joint would be glued and sometimes screwed from the rear of the housing. The depth of the housing should not exceed one third the thickness of the timber.

Stopped housing joint

An improvement on the square housing joint (Fig. C), the stopped housing joint is used for better quality cabinet work. By stopping the housing, there is no evidence of the actual joint showing from the face (front). Again, the depth of the housing should not exceed one third of the thickness of the timber.

Housing joint -  a simple joint Stopped housing joint -  a simple joint

Halving joints

Also known as lapped joints, the simplest form of the halving joint is the corner halving joint (Fig. D). When the joint is not at the end of both pieces of timber, the joint is called a tee halving (Fig. E). Another form is the cross halving (Fig. F).

Lapped halving jointsTee halving jointA crossed halving joint

Dovetailed halvings

To prevent the joint from pulling apart, it is usual to dovetail the joint (Fig. G). Sometimes, only one side is dovetailed and a wedge can be used to keep the dovetail tight (Fig. H) – this can be a good joint to use on unseasoned timber, as when the timber dries out the wedge can be driven up again.

Dovetailed halving jointWedged dovetailed halving joint

Dovetail joints

The dovetail joint is used mainly in box and drawer construction. The three main types of dovetail are: the through dovetail (also known as the common dovetail. Fig. I), the lapped dovetail (Fig. J) and the secret dovetail (Fig. K). The dovetail consists of two parts: the pin (the male part) and the eye or socket (the female part). In a through (or common) dovetail, when assembled, the end grain of both pieces of timber are visible. When it is required that the end grain shall not be seen, a lapped dovetail is used. This joint gives the appearance that the front has been rebated to receive the side member – this joint is commonly found in drawer fronts. The secret (or mitred) dovetail joint is used when it is desired that no endgrain is to be seen.

A through or common dovetail jointA lapped dovetail jointA secret or mitre dovetail joint

More woodworking angle joints in part two where we shall continue looking at angle joints and more specifically, the various types of mortice and tenon joints.

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