Woodworking: Working With Joints

Most woodworking projects require multiple pieces of wood, and thus one or more joints. A fundamental problem of design and construction is the selection of the joints to use. One school of thought says a woodworker should design around the construction design to accommodate the joints. Another says construct around the design choose the joint to suit the design and style. In reality, both approaches converge.

Every joint must balance strength, appearance, time and effort involved in cutting, equipment required for cutting and ease of assembly. Some joints are hidden and appearance is not important. Others are visible and appearance can be paramount. The majority joints must be very strong and prime examples are chairs. People relax on chairs and rock backward. Some joints act merely as positioning and assembly aids. Typically, they require little strength. A good joint must be strong enough to resist everyday use and abuse.

Joint strength is achieved by mechanical and chemical means or a combination of the two. Mechanical aspects cover both the way the joint is shaped and how the parts fit together (interlock) and the use of fasteners, such as nails, screws, staples, bolts, dowels, biscuits, pegs and wedges. The same applies to plastic and metal plates. These mechanical fasteners, especially the metal and plastic ones are often unsightly. For this reason, they must be hidden.

The various glues used by the woodworker fall under the heading chemical. Gluing science is complex, but for most woodworking tasks can be reduced to basics. For high-stress joints, such as those found in chairs and tables, it is recommended to use yellow glue. When gluing in a damp environment, use water-resistant glue.

When working with very oily woods, there is a need for a long open time or the need to glue a non-porous material, such as metal to wood. In some cases, it is vital to resort to an epoxy resin or polyurethane glue. The success of a glued joint is a result of a number of major factors. A glued long-grain joint ledge-to-edge, edge-to-face or face-to-face is normally stronger than the wood being glued.

Gluing end grain is a different story. The many cut-off ends of hollow fibers result in a capillary action that wicks away the liquid adhesive before it has a chance to set and bond.

Drills play a major role in woodworking and many craftsmen turn to Ted’s woodworking review to learn more about technical plans. The corded drill is much more powerful than cordless drills. It is suitable for interior and onsite work: landscaping, decoration, carpentry and more. It is equipped with a number of features to drill robust materials, including brick and concrete. However, it is heavier than the cordless drill and is harder to control if you use it as a screwdriver.