Joining Wood Together With Half Lap Joints
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How To Make Simple and Strong Half-Lap Joints
Half-turn joints are among the most basic joints for woodworking, but there are times when they are the perfect choice for connecting two pieces of material.
An overlapping half joint is when two pieces of material, which are normally the same thickness, have half of the material removed so that the two plates fit together so that the joint does not add thickness to the joint.
These unions work well for right-angle connections, especially since the two plates have had material removed to make them fit together perfectly.
When to Use Half Lap Joints
Half-layer gaskets work well when using materials 1 to 2 inches thick, such as in the shells of furniture pieces such as dressers and desks, especially where drawers will be installed. The half-lap adds strength to the internal structure without adding additional height.
The half-turn joint can be quite strong when used correctly. However, be aware that thin pieces of material can be weakened by removing the half-lap joint to accommodate the gasket, therefore use this connection only when the material is thick enough to maintain the structural integrity of the plate after removal of the half-lap joint.
How to Cut Half Lap Joints
Some tools can be used to cut half turns, but a favorite is to use a set of stacked dice on a radial arm saw. You will need to use some scrap pieces of wood (the same thickness as the material you are going to cut) to set the correct depth, but once you have the proper height adjustment on the radial arm you will be able to cut many joints in half they quickly return.
If you don't have a radial arm saw, you can do the same with a stacked die on a table saw, but it's a bit more difficult to see the cut lines with the cut side down. Be sure to use your miter gauge to guide inventory through the blade. You should never use the table saw guide for cross-cutting, as the guide can cause the material to jam.
Another option, although somewhat primitive, is to use a circular saw to cut the half turns. After setting the depth, make the shoulder cuts on the cut lines to indicate the edges of the joint and then make one cut every quarter inch.
After making a cut every quarter inch between the edges of the joint, use a hammer to remove the remaining fine chunks of broth. After cleaning the joints with a chisel, you should have a perfectly formed half-lap joint.
Assembling the Joint
When you're ready to assemble the joint, put some carpenter's glue on one of the two mating surfaces. Put the other piece in place and adjust the two pieces in their final positions.
Next, secure the joint with a few wood screws, making sure to keep the screws from sticking out of the back of the joint. The glue will be the strength of the joint, but screws are needed to hold it until the glue dries.
Enjoy The Video
Source: WOOD magazine
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