Illustrated Guide to Joinery
Step By Step
Joinery Guide to Making Every Practical Type of Joint in Woodworking
By Gary Rogowski
Comprehensive, Step-by-Step Pictorial Reference on Joinery
There’s no more thorough and readable guide to
joinery than this new book from expert joinery woodworker Gary Rogowski.
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery uses
full-color, step-by-step photo essays to show you how joinery can
help you make every
practical woodworking joint.
Over 1,400 color joinery photos and drawings
illustrate joinery methods, from simple butt joinery to angled tenons and
complex scarf joint joinery. A project as simple as a box, for example, has
a dozen ways to solve the joinery question. And, since many joints
can be used interchangeably, Joinery leads you through making
the right choice for your project based on the function of the
piece, the time you have to work on it, your skill level, and your
Perhaps best of all, Joinery features
an appealing, modern visual approach and is completely up-to-date
regarding tools and methods. This book will not gather dust on your
bookshelf; it will be a permanent fixture in your shop.
In Joinery, you will learn multiple ways to master
- Dovetails and finger joinery
- Mortise and tenon joinery
- Rabbet, dado, and groove joinery
- Scarf joinery
- Lap and bridle joinery
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery is part of a series of
books in the tradition of Tage Frid. All the techniques and
processes you need to craft beautiful things from wood are compiled
into three comprehensive volumes: The Complete Illustrated
Guides. Highly visual and written by woodworking's finest
craftsmen, these three titles -- Furniture and Cabinet Construction, Shaping Wood and
Joinery establish a new standard for
shop reference books.
introduction to the various types of edge joint, and what you
need to know to make them
There's no more thorough and readable
guide to joinery than this new book from expert woodworker Gary
Rogowski. The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery uses
full-color, step-by-step photo essays to show you how to make
every practical woodworking joint. In this excerpt from Section
14, Rogowski provides an overview of edge-joint construction.
If mortises and
tenon joinery represents most of the joinery available to a woodworker,
edge joinery makes up the rest. Edge joinery relies mostly on
adhesive strength, although there are exceptions. Unglued
tongue-and-grooves or shiplapped boards can make up the back of
a cabinet, and unglued coopered staves for a barrel can be held
in place by an iron hoop. Some edge joints do have reinforcing,
like biscuits, dowels, or even a tongue and groove. But these
types of reinforcement are used as much for alignment as for
strength. What edge joinery depends on is two good mating edges
cut straight and true and bonded together with a good adhesive.
Edge joinery laminations
put together with a good adhesive are so strong they are often
stronger than the surrounding wood. But this strength depends
heavily on the mating surfaces being true, clean, and without
twist, so as the wood moves it does not put the edge joint under
any additional strain. You can pull together any joint with
enough clamping pressure, but the joints that will last are the
ones require only moderate pressure to close.
Edge joinery uses
You can use edge joints to make
simple laminations, construct coopered door shapes, or create
wide panels from narrow widths. You can also construct
tabletops, carcase sides, and the panels that fit into frames.
Edge lamination is used to band the edges of plywood or other
sheet-good materials with solid wood.
Edge joinery attempts to do a
very basic and yet sometimes difficult task: mating two edges
together completely along their entire length. Most boards flex
enough even in their width to allow you to clamp out any gaps at
the ends of a board. But consider that twice as much moisture
loss and gain occurs out at the end of a board through the end
If an edge lamination is going to fail, it will usually fail at
the end of a board first. This is where a spring joint really
shines. By planing in a small hollow along the length of the
boards, you will need to apply pressure to close up the joint.
This creates more pressure and a little bit of springback at the
ends where the boards start to lose moisture first. Cut this
hollow into both mating edges and then check for a sliver of
light shining through the joint.
Before doing any edge lamination,
get in the habit of checking some details for the best results.
Arrange the boards for grain direction before joining the edges.
Some woodworkers alternate heart sides up or down to minimize
cupping. Others run the boards consistently heart side up or
down to yield a consistent cup. Still others just choose the
best-looking combination of boards.
If you're going to handplane the faces after gluing, line up the
grain for a consistent planing direction. Remember that there
are eight possible ways to arrange two boards together for a
simple edge lamination, so there are plenty of options.
Mark out the face sides and which edges will be glued together.
Use flat pipe or bar clamps that you can register the boards on
accurately. Have them resting on a good true surface. If the
clamps and work surface are flat and you keep the boards flat on
the clamps, your laminations have a much better chance of coming
out flat as well.
Plane the edges
and then dry-clamp the boards together. This will make you get
out all the clamps and tools you'll need for the glue-up before
the glue starts drying. Check to see that the joint closes up on
both faces. Make sure the pressure is consistent across the
width and length of the joint. Bang the boards flat onto the
clamps at their ends where they tend to lift up.
Use enough glue
that you get some squeeze-out when you apply clamping pressure.
Use a C-clamp to keep the ends lined up flat or a dead-blow
hammer to coax the boards into place.
Check both faces for
consistent clamping pressure. Add more clamps if needed to get a
good consistent pressure. Alternate the clamp heads to even out
Reinforcing edge joinery
An edge joint mates long grain to
long grain, which allows ideal gluing surface. For that reason,
a glued edge joint has great strength, even without the addition
of reinforcements. Tests have shown that an edge joint properly
jointed and glued with modern adhesives has greater strength
than the original solid wood.
So why reinforce an edge joint? Reinforcements in the form of
biscuits, dowels, splines, or tongues and grooves make alignment
much easier. Beyond this, reinforcements provide a mechanical
connection, which strengthen the joint. Without them, you must
depend on the adhesive alone to hold the joint together.
Splines help align edge joints and can be used
decoratively. Use plywood splines or use solid-wood splines with
their grain running across the groove for the best strength.
It's easier to cut a spline to match the grain direction of the
mating boards, but it's also easier to break it along the long
Tongue-and-groove joinery is another effective way to
join edges. The key to making a strong joint is designing and
cutting it to the right proportions.
Sheet goods are invaluable in
cabinet construction, but plywood edges are ugly. Although
commercially available edgebanding may be a quick solution,
custom edgebanding is more durable and certainly more elegant
(see Edgebanding options). Making your own edgebanding
allows you to match stock color, especially for unusual species.
Custom edgebanding also means more design options, including
We categorize our furniture making like we do so many of our
other human endeavors. There are only so many ways to make a box
after all. But we have in our imaginative way, made the most of all
The fact is, there are only two basic joinery systems. Either we
use box construction joinery, joining wide panels of solid-wood or plywood
materials together, to make our carcases, cabinets, or jewelry
boxes. Or we use frame construction joinery to build our chairs, tables,
beds, and cabinets. These frames use smaller members fastened
together with or without a panel captured within them.
From these two joinery categories spring a wealth of joinery options. A
project as simple as a box has a dozen ways to solve the joinery
question, and many joints can be used interchangeably. So how do you
choose which joint to use?
The function of the piece is the starting point for your joinery
choices. Are you building a cabinet to hold the crown jewels or a
recipe box destined to be stained with the labors of the kitchen?
Dovetail joinery is the best way to join large panels, but a
window box doesn't need dovetails to be serviceable.
Next, consider economy -- the need for efficiency and speed in
your building. What's your time frame? If it's a weekend project,
your choice of a joint will make a big difference. Hand chopping
dozens of mortises is certainly not time-efficient, but it may be
the perfect way to enjoy working at a leisurely pace in a harried
The joinery skills you bring to a project also determines which joint you
choose, but learning a new method of joinery is a wonderful
challenge. We tend to find our joinery methods and stick to them; but
remember that each time you cut a joint, you get a little better at
Joinery affects the design in ways both obvious and quite subtle.
That simple box can be built in a dozen ways, but a mitered corner
doesn't look anything like one that's finger jointed together.
Joinery will also help in the building of some pieces, offering
shoulders and edges that help hold a piece together for gluing or
Make your joinery choices based on all these factors. One joinery method
may work better one day and another joinery method the next. Please also
remember that this book is only a guide. No one process, jig,
machine, or book can confer mastery. The way to mastering joinery is
to make joints. It's the time you spend learning, making mistakes,
backing up, and starting all over again. The time you spend in the
shop is the real pay-off; the furniture you build a wonderful bonus.
Joinery Table of Contents:
How to Use This Book
Part One: Tools for Joinery
SECTION 1: Hand Tools
Measuring and Marking Tools
Cutting Tools for Joinery
Drills and Drivers
SECTION 2: Portable Power Tools
Routers and Bits
SECTION 3: Machines
Boring and Mortising
Part Two: Carcase Joinery
SECTION 4: Butt Joinery
Joinery with Fasteners
SECTION 5: Rabbet, Groove, and Dado Joinery
Dado Rabbets Joinery
Drawer Lock Joints
Tongue and Groove
Loose Tongue Joint
SECTION 6: Miter Joinery
SECTION 7: Finger Joinery
SECTION 8: Mortise-and-Tenon Joinery
SECTION 9: Dovetail Joinery
Part Three: Frame Joinery
SECTION 10: Butt Joinery
SECTION 11: Miter Joinery
Butt Miter Joinery
Biscuited Miter Joinery
Splined Miter Joinery
Mitered Slip Joinery
Keyed Miter Joinery
SECTION 12: Lap and Bridle Joinery
Corner Half-Lap Joinery
T or Cross Half Laps
Dovetail Lap Joinery
Mitered Half-Lap Joinery
Corner Bridle Joinery
T Bridle Joinery
One-Third Lap Joinery
SECTION 13: Scarf and Splice Joinery
Simple Scarf Joinery
Half-Lap Splice Joinery
Bevel-Lap Splice Joinery
Lapped Dovetail Splice
Tapered Finger Joinery
Cogged Scarf Joinery
SECTION 14: Edge Joinery
Coopered Edge Joinery
Reinforced Edge Joinery
Tongue-and-Groove Edge Joinery
SECTION 15: Mortise and Tenon Joinery
Frames and Panels
List of Contributors
Further Reading on Joinery
Hardcover, 9-1/4 X 10-7/8 in., 400 pages,
with color photos and drawings.