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