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When nailing or srewing but joints use corner or mitre clamps to hold the two pieces in place. Halved joints or lap joints are mostly used to assemble light frames which are going to be covered with hardboard or plywood.
Mitre joints are always cut to 45° in a mitre box so that they will form a 90° corner when joined.
When nailing a mitre joint always start the nail with one part of the mitre above the other. Loose tongued joints are used to join planks edge to edge to form a larger board like a table top in which case they are always glued only. Bare faced tongue and groove or Loose tongue and groove joints can be used to join chair rails to chair legs.
Tenon and mortise joints are very strong joints mostly used in furniture making and for heavy doors and gates.
Set the pins of the mortise gauge to the width of the tenon and set the block to the width of one shoulder.
Using the same settings of the mortise gauge mark the mortise on one side of the other piece of wood.
When making a blind tenon drill holes (with a diameter slightly smaller than the width of the tenon) closely together along the centre line at a depth slightly more than the length of the tenon to create an escape route for excess air and glue. Remove excess wood with a sharp chisel, always working from the centre to the edges of the mortise. Place the wood from which the tenon has to be cut at a 45° angle in a vice and with a tenon saw start cutting the tenon cheeks at the highest point on the waste side of the marking.


A through mortise can be strengthened by inserting small wedges in the opposite end of the wood to hold the tenon in place. Bridle joints or open mortise and tenon joints are used in furniture making especially to join the legs to the cross pieces.
Set the sliding bevel to a suitable pitch of between 1 in 6 for heavy work and 1 in 8 for smaller and more detailed work.
Lay the two pieces over each other and transfer the markings through the cuts with a tenon saw. Lapped dovetails are mostly used for drawer fronts as they give a very neat, strong joint with only one side showing end wood.
A very nice joint to use for fixing drawer sides to fronts but don't attempt it without a router.
Dowels are mostly used to strengthen butt, mitre and rebated joints but are also used to join wood when making or repairing small tables, chairs and doors.
When using dowels to join cross pieces to small legs, stagger the dowels for maximum length and strength. Small pieces of quadrant or a length of quadrant run the entire length of the joint make excellent glue blocks and give a neat finish especially on the inside of drawers and boxes.
These joints are not recommended for hardwood unless pilot holes and screws or dowels are used to hold them together. Half the thickness of each piece of wood to be joined is cut away with a tenon saw and the joint is glued and screwed or nailed.
A 1 mm (or smaller) hole can be drilled from the side into the base of the mortise for the same purpose.


When the depth line of the tenon is reached, turn the wood around and finish cutting from the other side.
Marked in the same way as mortise and tenon joints the only difference is that the mortise is cut into the wood from the end.
Marking is the same as for open dovetails but the cutting out between the pins needs a fair amount of chiseling. The diameter of a dowel should not be more than a third of the width of the narrowest wood to be joined. When used for other purposes they must be strengthened with glue blocks, angle braces or loose tongues.
Reviews of this information can help people build simple shelves for their home without the aid of a Home Advisor or experienced builder. When making a through tenon it is best to mark the tenon on both sides of the wood and to drill from both sides or to watch and “back drill” to avoid splintering the wood. Good dowel sticks have a “V” groove along the length to allow excess glue and air to escape. If your dowels do not have this groove you can run one in by using a marking or mortise gauge. Alternatively you can allow a little space at the end of the hole in which the dowel is inserted to allow for the extra glue and air but this will weaken the joint.



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