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Woodwork Joints
for beginners, students and experts

Genre/Category: Hobby and Craft - Pastimes
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woodworking and carpentry joints
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This free book, the first in the Obooko Retro series, provides a wealth of information for the construction and use of woodworking and carpentry joints. The text of the book is supported by 400 original illustrations. The guide is perfect for beginners, students, hobbyists, carpenters, joiners, cabinetmakers and all expert woodworkers as a reference work. The joints included are:


The glued joint in its various forms is in use in every country in the world, and is frequently met with in mummy cases and other examples of ancient woodwork. Alternative names under which it is known are the butt joint, the rubbed joint, the slipped joint, whilst in certain localities it is known as the slaped (pronounced slayped) joint.


The halved joint is frequently known as half-lapping, and sometimes as checking and half-checking. In the majority of cases it is made by halving the two pieces, i.e., by cutting half the depth of the wood away. There are, however, exceptions to this rule, as in the case of "three-piece halving" (or, as it is sometimes called, "third lapping") and in the halving of timber with rebated or moulded edges. Halving is one of the simplest methods of connecting two pieces of timber, especially where it is desired to make frames and bracket supports for either inside or outside use.


A bridle joint is often defined as the reverse of a mortise and tenon, and is chiefly used in the carpentry and joinery trades. The name probably originated from the fact that it bears some resemblance to the manner in which a bit slips into the horse's mouth and is fastened to the bridle. There are fewer varieties of the bridle joint than of the halved or the mortise and tenon; and this being the case we may take the opportunity of giving a few detailed directions, with explanatory illustrations, on the setting out and the making.


T he tongued and grooved joint is used in one form or another throughout the whole of the woodworking trades, covering, as it does, a great variety of work from the laying of flooring boards to the construction of dressers, bookcases and other cabinet work. Flooring and match boarding generally have the tongues worked on the solid board, and examples of a few of the various types are shown as follows:


A mortise and tenon joint is the method of joining timber by working a solid rectangular projection in the one piece and cutting a corresponding cavity to receive it in the adjoining piece. The projection is called the tenon, and the cavity the mortise. Joints of this type are secured in various ways. Small wedges, wooden dowels, metal dowel pins, glue and paint are frequently used, and prior to the introduction of glue we have examples of Egyptian furniture in which the mortise and tenon joints were united by a composition of cheese.


Dowelling is the term generally given to the method of jointing timber and other materials by wooden or metal pegs, which are called dowels. For cabinet-making and similar work straight-grained beechwood dowels are mostly used; these may be bought by the gross, in lengths of about 36 ins., and of any desired diameter.


The method known as "scarfing" is used for the joining of timber in the direction of its length, enabling the workman to produce a joint with a smooth or flush appearance on all its faces. One of the simplest forms of scarfed joint is known as the half lap, in which a portion is cut out at the end of each beam or joist, equal in depth to half the full depth of the beam, and of equal length to the required scarf.


One of the most common forms of hinged joint in use to-day is that formed by using the "butt" hinge, and many troubles experienced by the amateur, such as "hinge-bound," "stop-bound," and "screw-bound" doors, etc., are due to a lack of knowledge of the principles of hingeing. Hinges call for careful gauging and accurate fitting, otherwise trouble is certain to occur.


This chapter deals with the joint made by the upright rail of a door frame which carries the lock, or handle, generally called the "slamming stile." Many and varied are the methods used to make a draught and air-tight joint at the meeting of the slamming stile and the carcase end, and our sketches illustrate some of the simplest and also some of the best and most expensive methods.


Nothing definite is known as to the origin of dovetailing, but a quaint and pleasing little story which is well worth repeating runs as follows: A farmer had called in the local "joyner" to do sundry repairs at the homestead. One day, whilst enjoying a humble meal, he sat watching some doves as they hopped about the yard. Struck by the movement of their wedge-shaped tails, it occurred to him to joint his timber by the interlocking method; hence we have dovetails.


The dovetail housing joint should first be carefully marked out with a marking knife, so as to cut across the fibres of the wood. For obtaining the bevel on the edge of the wood a joiner's bevel may be used, and the angle should not be too acute.


Mitreing.—The term mitreing is generally used to denote the type of joint used at the corner of a picture frame; or where two pieces of wood are bevelled away so as to fit each other, as the skirting or plinth mould at Fig. 321. In these cases the timber is cut so that the joint is at 45 degrees to the face, and the two pieces, when placed together, form an angle of 90 degrees (a right angle). The term mitreing, however, is not confined to the fitting of timber around a right angle; it may be justly applied to the fitting of a moulding around an angle irrespective of the number of its degrees.


Fig. 335 in the book shows a circular frame made up in two thicknesses, the segments being screwed to each other and the joints crossed in two layers. This is a very strong method, and it is used for making circular frames and curbs up to 15 ft. in diameter. The segments can be either long or short, the only important condition being that they must be marked out and sawn to the correct radius. The longer the boards the better will they cut up, as it gives more opportunities of cutting one piece out of the other.


Weather boards: for outdoor buildings, such as garages, garden sheds, toolhouses, etc., "weatherboarding" is often preferred to ordinary match-boarding, chiefly because of the facility with which it throws off the rain. The boarding can be bought ready prepared. Three methods of jointing are shown in the the book.


Puzzle Joints are not only interesting in themselves, but are often excellent studies in craftsmanship. The majority of them, if to be satisfactory as puzzles, call for very careful setting out and cutting, entailing the same degree of skill that is demanded for high-class cabinet work. For this reason several examples may well find a place in a volume dealing with woodwork joints. As a rule, these puzzles should be made in hardwood, such as dark walnut or beech, as in whitewood the joints are soon liable to wear.