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8 ways to make end-to-end joints that hold

Finger joints
Enlarge Image
Finger joints provide face- or
edge-grain gluing surfaces to
end-to-end joints for a stronger
glue bond.

Any joint that butts end grain to end grain will be weak because you're gluing wood fibers at their porous ends instead of along their sides. (Picture trying to glue two drinking straws together at their ends instead of along their sides.) Fortunately, you can strengthen end-to-end joints for those rare occasions when they're necessary, such as connecting two pieces of crown molding on a long wall, or making the most of pieces that are too short for your project but too long to scrap.

Boiled down to basics, you must either add reinforcements, such as plates, dowels, or screws, or cut the joint in a way that creates mechanical strength and exposes more face or edge grain for a stronger bond, such as the finger joint, shown at right. Check out these eight solutions, from basic to beautiful.

Continued on page 2:  Plain, practical straps


Comments (8)
Basil_Wood wrote:

This exact article appeared Jully 19, 2014. Recycling? No. Excellent for those who might have missed it earlier. We'll probably see it again in 2016 :)

4/16/2015 07:25:34 PM Report Abuse
urband9 wrote:

I have used finger joints to extend the length of a board. The problem is that the screws go into end grain and don't hold very well. Even with glue it was not a tight joint.

4/16/2015 01:34:53 PM Report Abuse
PePaw wrote:

The only way I'm aware to make them is with a router bit. Same for dowels. Dowell jigs are abundant. I have the first I used that was made by a Master Tool & Die maker for my Dad at least 65 years ago. I have several more "fool proof" ones but still avoid dowels when ever I can as I still can't seem to get satisfactory alignment. Commercial finger joints I see are usually in molding stock and finished door and frame units.

4/16/2015 12:29:19 PM Report Abuse
rtjurgens wrote:

Thank you rbtpartman. I agree with your comment. Part of what makes a good woodworker (also true of any other trade) is to be creative and resourceful. To insist that someone provide EVERYTHING every time someone writes something is rather ludicrous.

4/16/2015 10:11:18 AM Report Abuse
rbtpartsman wrote:

And you really can't just search Wood Magazine's excellent online site to find articles on Finger joints ? We are woodworkers after all. We don't have to have every little skill in a "link". Very easy to find out simple finger joint instructions online, in past magazines, from a friend.... Simply not fair to call the suggestion basically worthless because they don't put a link in the article.

4/16/2015 10:02:17 AM Report Abuse
rruchti4390 wrote:

Your information on finger joints is not worth a pinch of salt if you don't explain how to make them, or at least a link to that information

11/20/2014 10:15:58 AM Report Abuse

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