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

Tabled lap joints
Rabbet part together
Enlarge Image
 
For perfectly matching half-laps,
rabbet both workpieces side-by
side at the same time.
Test scrap
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A rabbeted corner of one test
piece should just touch the dado
bottom in the other.
Rabbeted section
Enlarge Image
 
Cut both pieces edge to edge
at the same time for matching
dado widths.
2 boards together with gaps between them
Enlarge Image
 
Pieces of a tabled lap joint
lock together to form both a
mechanical connection and
a strong glue bond.

Tabled lap joints

This joint combines the strength of interconnecting parts with the large glue surface of a half-lap joint. To make it, add 1/4" to the workpiece width. (You'll remove it later as you fine-tune the joint.) Then measure that distance from the end of the workpiece. Mark both pieces at the same time as described for a basic half-lap joint. Duplicate these markings on a pair of test pieces the thickness of your final workpieces.

Use the same dado setup as for the basic half-lap, but instead set the blade height to exactly one-third the thickness of your workpieces. Then rabbet both parts and the two test pieces from your edge markings to the ends, as shown at right.

Now reset your dado blade height to exactly two-thirds the thickness of the workpieces. Using your scrap pieces, test and adjust the dado depth until the thicker portion toward the end rests within the thinner section so the faces of both pieces are flush, as shown in second photo.

Measure from the shoulder of the dado to a distance that equals one-half the width of the workpiece, and place a mark there. With both pieces clamped against the miter gauge, make two passes to define the width of this second pair of dadoes, as shown in third photo. Then cut the remaining dadoes.

To ensure a tight joint, gradually trim the ends of each piece separately until both fit the deeper dadoes, as shown in bottom photo. Then glue and clamp the pieces for a joint that shows you can stretch a board with style.

Find more shop-tested woodworking skills at: woodmagazine.com/shopskills


 



Comments (8)
9655151504
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
daoates wrote:

curiously he only mentions finger joints in passing. He provides some detail for 8 other ways to end join wood. I saw an old barn years ago on a family homestead(for real) that was hand cut in a floor beam that was a dazzler. can't describe other than it was keyed so once the key was pushed in the joint was tight and required no other fasteners. The endless variety of techniques is why this makes such a great hobby or vocation. One never runs out of things to try.

4/16/2015 12:41:52 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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