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Wooden structures such as tables, chairs and cupboards consist of a number of wooden parts that are fixed together in a way that forms a rigid structure.

The traditional way of permanently fixing pieces of wood together is to bond the parts using an adhesive.

Wood adhesives bond to the sides of timber very well but do not bond well with "end grain". This is because end grain is very porous and absorbs the adhesive.

Timber joints that rely on bonding to end grain are generally weak.

Wood joints are solutions to the problems associated with gluing to end grain.

  Illustration showing that end grain is very porous

Wood joints are designed to:

  • enable bonding to the sides of timber members
  • maximise gluing area
  • form a physical joint, so that the timber structure will stay together, even without the use of adhesives, e.g. when using a mortice and tenon joint.

There are a number of standard joints that can be adapted to meet specific needs. The most commonly used joints are:

  • Pinned and glued butt joint
  • Lapped joint
  • Tongue and groove joint
  • Comb joint, also called a finger joint
  • Dovetail joint
  • Lapped dovetail joint
  • Housing joint
  • Corner bridle joint
  • Through mortice and tenon joint
  • Stopped mortice and tenon joint
  • Haunched mortice and tenon joint
  • Mortice and bare faced tenon
  • Dowelled joint
  • T-halving joint or Tee halving joint
  • Dovetail halving joint
  • Cross halving joint
  • T-bridle joint or Tee bridle joint
  • Mitre joints (pinned and glued, dowelled or biscuit reinforced)
  • Mitred corner bridle joint
Copyright Laszlo Lipot.