Methods For Advanced Fine Woodworkers

The joinery methods listed below, are some of the most challenging types in fine woodworking, and are not suited for the beginner. These advanced joinery methods include:

Mortise And Tenon Joints

Used extensively by experienced woodworkers, for joining furniture parts. Also used in timber framing. The mortise is a square hole, made by drilling holes in the wood – the hole is finished (made square or rectangular) by use of wood chisels. The tenon part of the joint is the square “peg”, also fashioned by use of wood chisels. An example of this joinery method; a coffee table with mortises set into the table top, would have one (or both) ends of the legs and cross braces fashioned into tenons, allowing the legs and braces to slide into the square hole sockets.

Dovetail Joinery

Also used by advanced woodworkers. Dovetail joints are used for making corners in expensive items, like decorative boxes and chests, and drawers in fine furniture, to name a few. Also, dovetails and “HALF DOVETAIL” joints can be found in some log dwelling construction. Dovetail joints are some of the most beautiful types of joints known to the craft of fine woodworking they’re also one of the strongest.

Dowel Joinery

Calls for the use of wooden ‘pegs’, used as a ‘male and female’ type of joinery. The pegs or ‘dowels’ are usually a few inches long – a hole is drilled in the end of one of the boards to be joined, the dowel is inserted into the hole to fit snugly, and usually glued into place. A hole is then marked and drilled into the other piece of wood, glued, and the two pieces of wood are fit together. Furniture built with dowel joinery has good, initial strength and integrity, but doweled sections tend to come loosened over time.

“Biscuit” Joinery

Works sort of like dowel joinery, but uses “biscuits” instead of dowels. These biscuits are actually small, oval pieces of wood, and the method requires the use of a special power tool, called a “biscuit joiner”. This is a relatively new joinery technique, and is becoming a favorite among fine woodworkers who do a lot of joinery. Biscuit joinery has the advantage of being a quick and relatively inexpensive form of joinery. It’s faster than constructing most of the “traditional” joints, like those listed above. The only substantial expense is the initial investment of buying the biscuit joiner tool – the rest of the system only requires the purchase of the “biscuits”, usually sold in boxes of 500 pieces or so, and the yellow wood glue. The glue and the biscuits cost less than $20 – the biscuit joiner runs in the $200 to $250 range.