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3 Plenty-strong plywood joints

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3. Splined butt
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Enlarge Image
Make and use the router-mounted
jig to ensure perfectly centered
grooves on 3/4" plywood ends and
edges. Then fill with a made-to-fit

3. Splined butt

To avoid the problem of inconsistent and nonstandard plywood thicknesses, go with this can't-miss joint. Because you custom-make it to suit your stock, plywood thickness proves irrelevant. For never-fail matching channels, cut both with a router and the same straight or spiral bit. Make a router jig from scrap based on the one shown right, sized to match your plywood's thickness. (The dimensions of the jig components can vary, but the fences must straddle the plywood snugly while allowing smooth movement.)

You could also cut the dado easily on a tablesaw with a dado set, but cutting the groove in the mating piece's edge can be tricky, especially for workpieces longer than 2', because you stand them on edge where they can be wobbly. So a router works best.

For maximum strength, size your dado and groove width one-third the thickness of the plywood and the depth half the thickness. With the channels cut, plane a length of hardwood to fit snugly in each, rip it to width, and crosscut to length. Glue all sides of each channel for a strong joint.

Watch a FREE video showing an easy method for matching a dado blade to plywood thickness at


Comments (4)
shadetre0153 wrote:

I too find those pop up ads to be a PITA. I recheck each time to ensure that I am indeed logged in. This needs to be corrected and soon I hope.

8/6/2015 11:07:23 AM Report Abuse
scot.willis wrote:

I strongly agree with wood-chuck1! The pop ups are annoying as HEDoubleHockySticks. The Progressive ad as a security feature is EVEN WORSE!

6/2/2015 05:58:21 AM Report Abuse
wood-chuck1 wrote:

The pop-ups on this sight are the most annoying. It really makes you want to stop receiving the newsletter. Even when you are logged in you still get the pop-up. For anyone that knows about websites this is an easy fix. Please correct this annoying advertising.

5/25/2015 05:51:29 AM Report Abuse
lyndamike1209599 wrote:

Best is if the grain of the spline is oriented across the spline so it runs across the joint. Of course this means the spline will be of limited length so a number of pieces will be required if the joint is long. I've used a 1/8" x 3/4" metal bar for the spline with epoxy glue when I was concerned about the strength.

5/9/2014 12:33:55 AM Report Abuse

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