There are many reasons to why you might be interested in carpentry. Perhaps you need to do some work in your home, maybe you are interested in trying out a different hobby. However, one fact remains the same: you won’t go far without learning about the different types of joints.

Wood joints vary in strength and application, which leads to a conclusion that having a knowledge of an array of different jointing methods is important.

What are Wood Joints

Take a look at any piece of furniture around you and notice where the two separate pieces of wood connected – that’s a joint.
Joints can be as simple as having one piece of wood placed on another. Some of the joints can be very complex. They are mostly held fastened with glue, nails, screws, or staples.

Wood working joints

When it comes to woodworking, joints are crucial. You should also know that you won’t go very far with your woodworking endeavors if you don’t learn about different types of timber joints.

Different Types of Timber Joints

Jointing two pieces of wood can be done in many distinctive ways. Depending on the type of woodworking some wood joints are more suitable than others. Plenty of joints aren’t very stable on their own – that’s why they are supposed to be mixed with other construction methods, while others are stable.

Whether you want to make a new coffee table or do some work on your home, you will have to learn a few types of basic joints.

Tongue and Groove Joint

If you have ever laid a laminate floor, you are already familiar with this type of jointing. Tongue and groove joint holds two boards together along their edges. The edge of one board is notched out into a groove, while the edge of the joining board is extended into a thin tongue that fits the groove.

tongue and groove joint

Most of the time both the tongue and groove are curved a bit so that the tongue enters the groove at an angle. This method makes sure that two boards can’t be separated unless one of them is lifted up at an angle.

Dovetail Joint

This joint is very rigid and is very sought after because no nails or metal fasteners are required. Dovetail joints are created by precisely cutting notches into the ends of two boards. Precision is the key since the notches are supposed to fit together like puzzle pieces. Notches are fitted tightly which makes this a joint rarely come loose.

dovetail joint

Dovetail joints are mostly used in cabinet and furniture making, Not only is this method of jointing very strong, but it also looks beautiful. If you want to create a box, our suggestion is to go with a dovetail joint.

Lap Joints

Lap joints come in different styles and applications, but the basics are the same: you cut two parts so that they overlap. They can be used in timber framing, construction, and cabinetry for framing, and they can be reinforced with dowels or mechanical fasteners.

Since there are a few types of lap joints, we will mention a few of them.


If you were to build a cabinet or a sideboard with a face frame that intersected at the corners, you would probably be using a half-lap joint. The point is to remove the full width of each intersecting member, but only half of the thickness.

half lap

When assembled, the pieces should equal to the full thickness of the material. This joint can’t remain intact without you applying some fastener or glue. The half-lap can be cut by using a table saw, a router table, or a dado head (on the table saw).

Center Lap

Center lap is a variation of the half-lap, and you can cut it the same way, but because each of the halves is fully housed, the joint is a lot stronger. Woodworkers usually employ the center lap on large face frames for furniture and cabinets.

The center lap can be cut by using a table saw or a router.

center lap

Lap Miter

This type of a lap joint is useful when reducing the long grain surface. The portion removed from each half is in a shape of a triangle. Keep in mind that this type of a lap joint produces a visible mitered corner.

lap mitter

Lap miter joints provide sturdiness and an attractive appearance, but they also provide a way to align and secure the miter.This joint can be cut using a compound cut, but each of the two cuts requires a dedicated jig or a special setup. You can also produce lap miter joints by using a router.

Mortise and Tenon Joint

Mortis and tenon joints have been used for a long time, it is an old form of wood jointing. The purpose of this type of jointing is to fit one board inside of a second board. The mortise is a small hole cut into the side of a board, while the tenon is a piece which sticks out on the end of a second board.

The point is that the tenon is supposed to fit tightly inside the mortise. It should extend through to the other side of the mortised board.
Mortise and tenon joints when the nails would lessen the beauty of the craft.

mortise and tenon joint

Having the essential knowledge of different types of wood joints is essential to woodwork. By knowing more about jointing you can quickly start building furniture, toys, and all sorts of additions to your home. Now that you know the basics you can be sure that you will always do your job properly.

Don’t be shy to share your work online. There are many enthusiasts out there who are more than happy to provide you with a helping hand.

Good luck with your future projects, and don’t be afraid to fail. Keep practicing, and soon enough you will become a real woodworking professional.