Obtain a copy of the following CARP series books below.


You local library may have a copy but you can visit our resources and textbooks page to find publisher information
Heres the link: Resources and textbooks
Download and try and fill in the missing words from this widening joints document. Your trainer can help:

Trainers can obtain a teachers copy by emailing me at:

Another great resource for Basic Joints is at the following wiki pages:

The basic joints we use in Shopfitting and Detail Joinery can be classified as either

1. Widening joints

1. Butt Joint - Boards joined using this joint must have edges planed (shot) straight and square then glued and cramped. Follow this link for a greater deatil of the Butt joint.
2. Tongue and Groove Joint - (matched joint) A groove is run on one piece and a
matched groove is run on the other. This joint must be glued and cramped.
3. Machine Joint – an angled profile is run on each edge of the boards. Being angle the, under pressure the joints closes upon itself.
4. Loose Tongue and Groove - Prepared as for a butt joint then a groove is run in both edges to be joined. A loose tongue is inserted (plywood) into the joint which is glued and cramped.1I
5. Dowel Joint - Prepared as for butt joint. Dowels are inserted at regular intervals along the joint. The boards are glued and cramped. Careful selection of dowel length and diameter is important.

Once regarded as the only way of obtaining wide panels made from solid timber. These wide panels were required for carcase construction, counter and bench tops also door and wall panelling.
Modern "flat panel products" have reduced the need for widening joints. However some areas in the industry are having a revival of "colonial" designed fitments requiring solid timber panel components. E.g. kitchen cupboards and counter units etc.
Definition. Widening joints are used to join two or more boards together to gain greater widths of material.

Panel Joints:

Most solid timber panels require the edge clamping of boards together to achieve a wide panel.
Always wear the appropriate PPE when selecting and machining timber
When selecting timber for panels, be sure to:
a. Select timber that is straight and free of defects
b. For the best results use timber that is quarter sawn

Machining the material:

Machines available for use:

Dressing face sides and edges
Machining timber to width and thickness
Square dresser(header)
Machines all four sides in one operation
Spindle moulder
For machining edge joints
Wide belt sander
for flushing and finishing panels after assembly
Clamping Systems:
For small runs you may choose to use sash, bar or pipe clamps to bring the joints together. Remember to use clamping blocks and have a wet rag handy to remove excess adhesive.
Applying adhesives:
Once components are measured, prepared and located for assembly, you will need to secure them. Adhesives are applied to the joints of some components before they are held in place. The drawings or specifications will show if adhesives are to be applied before the components are braced together.
Before assembling your joint, prepare all the necessary equipment such as:
  • sash clamp
  • clamping block
  • damp sponge
  • paper
  • adhesive.
By doing this first, you will have everything you need and can concentrate on the assembly process. You will also avoid adhesives drying too quickly.

Checking the joints and assembly

Before the components are permanently fixed in position you will need to check that the:
  • joints are closed within the specified tolerance
  • assembly is square
  • assembly is in wind.

Check the assembly for the following.

Squareness:This is achieved by measuring diagonally with a rule, tape or pinch rod from an inside corner to the opposite inside corner. If this diagonal measurement is the same as the opposite diagonal then the assembly is square.
The assembly is the same distance apart at opposing ends or sides. This is generally applied to leg and rail assemblies.
This condition can be checked by sighting common and/or opposite components to determine if these parts are on the same plane of reference. You should endeavour to start working off a level and an uncluttered surface.
This condition fails to occur when inappropriate cramping blocks are used or by distortion of components through over tightening of sash clamps. Sometimes problems can also occur when a damaged sash cramp is used. Use a rule or straight edge to check the assembly for straight.

2. Carcase joints:


b. Dovetail joints

Watch this video demonstration on hand cutting a dovetail: Note the development of the pitch and setting out is not demonstrated in this video.

Dovetail Jigs can make the processof cutting dovetail significantly fatser and easier.
watch this video below to see a demonstration of a type of dovetail jig suitable for a table router:

C. Rebate and housing joints

Rebate and Housing joints are common machine joints used to construct carcases.
Download and read the information in the document below:

See Wikipedia for more information on rebate and housing joints: Click on link below
Housing joints: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dado_(joinery)
Rebate Joints: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbet
watch a video on making basic joints at the following URL

D. Barefaced tongue and groove joint


3. Framing joints

- such as
a. mortise and tenon joints - see how they are set out and made athe following link:

Many other common wood working joints can be viewd at Wikipedia Woodworking Joints:
Click on the link below:
Mortise and tenon Joint:

Another suitable Mortise and Tenon video featuring twin and double M&T joints can be found at the following website:
Note: Woodtreks have many other useful videos for timber joinery

Lap (or halving) Joints

Visit the following website for more specific details on hand cutting a lap joint:
"Tee" halving joint where half the thickness form one piece is removed while a matching amount of material is removed from the adjoining pieces.

Dovetail halving joint:

watch this video on making a half lap joint:

Bridle Joints

Angle bridle joint - 1/3 thickness of material is the proportion used.

Machine bridle or matched joint: a matched profile is machined in th end grain of timber. Very common in door manufacture today.


Dowel Joints

Dowel Proportion is no more than 1/2 the thickness of materials

So which joint is strongest?

You can check out some videos of destructive testing on timber joints on Youtube at the follwoing link:
In the meantime watch this video of destruction on a mulit dowel joint.