3 Proven Methods for Creating Wood Joints

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Make strong, long-lasting joints without needing years of woodworking expertise or a big budget

Stronger joints are better

Traditional hand-cut carpentry takes skill and a lot of practice to master. But are these sophisticated joints necessary? Truly. It is totally acceptable to use mortise-and-tenon or dovetails when a project calls for it when a project requires it. But for most projects, you just need solid, simple joinery. The four best methods for joining wood are pocket screws, dowels, biscuits, and the Beadlock system. Just because there are four methods doesn't mean you have to master them all to be a good carpenter. Give each of them a try, pick one or two methods that you like best, then practice those methods until you've nailed them.

1. Pros and Cons of pocket screws


  • Fast
  • No need to fix it


  • Visible holes
  • Does not provide positive alignment

You can get a basic pocket hole kit online for about $ 30. You will need a supply of different lengths of special self-tapping washer head screws. The only tool required outside of the kit is a basic drill wrench. Once you get used to the pocket screw method, you can grab more staples, accessories, and templates to really step up your production. The only disadvantage of pocket screws is that without special clamps, they do not provide positive alignment of parts for mounting.

How to join wood with pocket screws

To use a pocket hole jig, simply clamp your workpiece to the jig and drill the holes at acute angles. The thickness of the material you are drilling into determines the location of the template, as well as the setting of the drill stop collar. The included drill drills a flat bottom hole with a short pilot hole in the center to guide the screw in the adjacent part.

Add glue and screw

Apply glue, secure the pieces, and tighten the screws. Some pocket hole templates are portable, so you can clamp them in a single piece that is too large to fit on your countertop.

2. Pros and Cons of Dowels


  • Positive alignment in both directions
  • Snap holes can be placed anywhere using pressure centers.


  • Requires fixation
  • Slow

A sturdy, easy-to-use dowel jig will cost around $ 70. You will need a supply of dowels and, like the pocket hole method, the only tool you will need is a drill. Woodworking dowels are different from the standard rods found at the hardware store. Woodworking dowels are slotted to prevent glue from sticking to the bottom of the hole, preventing pieces from sticking. The larger joint surface provides a somewhat mechanical grip.

Unlike pocket screws, dowels provide positive part alignment. The pocket screws will also make both sides of the gasket look the same, without the screws exposed.

How to join with dowels

The fixation jig we use is a self-centering jig with a built-in fixation mechanism. Mark the hole locations on both pieces, put the template in place, and drill the hole.

Add glue and insert the Dowels

Apply glue to the pegs and inserts. Press the gasket and secure it. You can use shims with this template to drill holes for offset parts. When necessary, use dowel centers to mark the starting points for drilling in the adjacent part.

3. Pros and Cons of Biscuits


  • Fast
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to move parts
  • Efficient dust collection
  • Positive alignment in one direction


  • Requires fixation
  • Parts can slip during clamping

A good plate or cookie carpenter costs between $ 100 and $ 700. The $ 700 variety is great, but not necessary for a hobbyist carpenter. A modestly priced model works very well. A plate gasket cuts a semi-circular slit in adjacent parts to accept a plate/biscuit, which is then glued in place. Cookies come in different sizes to fit various piece sizes.

How to join wood with biscuits

Mark the center lines of the joints on the adjacent pieces. Position the board at the desired cutting height and depth of cut to match the size of the cookie you are using. Align the guide mark on the carpenter's guide with your mark and submerge the cut.

Glue Up and Insert the Biscuits

Apply glue to the mating surfaces and in the slots. Insert the biscuit, press the joint together and clamp.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about Basic Wood Joints

Source: Eric Brennan

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