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

Basic half-lap joints
Pencil marking with a square
Enlarge Image
Use the width of your workpieces
to mark the length of the overlap.
Cut board stack on one another
Enlarge Image
Fine-tune the dado blade height
using test cuts on scrap as thick
as the workpieces.
Marking Half-lap on board
Enlarge Image
Dado the start and end of the
half-lap on both workpieces together.
Then remove the material in between.
Boards marked with A & B
Enlarge Image
This half-lap joint creates a
durable face-grain connection between
the pieces. You can increase or
decrease the overlap as needed.

Basic half-lap joints

Attractive, strong, and easy to make on a tablesaw or router table, half-lap joints create face-to-face gluing surfaces. The more the overlap, the better the bond.

To make a simple half-lap joint, begin by marking your cuts. For identical laps, place both workpieces side by side with the ends flush and the appearance side up on one piece and down on the other. Mark an "X" where you'll cut your lap on each piece; then mark a line across both pieces and extend the lines from the faces to the edges on both pieces, as shown at right.

Next, install a dado set at least 5/8" wide in your tablesaw and set the blade height to cut half the thickness of your workpieces. Test the fit of the joint using scrap, as shown in second photo. Faces of the test scraps should be flush, with solid wood-to-wood contact at the laps.

Now, cut a dado from the marked joint lines to the ends, as shown in third photo. A miter-gauge extension helps position each pass and reduces tear-out. (One piece will be dadoed with the appearance side down.) Then test-fit the joint, as shown in bottom photo, and check for gaps between the laps or between the bench or saw top and one of the faces. Glue and clamp the laps for a permanent connection.

Continued on page 9:  Tabled lap joints


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
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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