In the first part of this article, I discussed the steps in making three of the seven common types of wood joints: butt, cross-lap, and dado joints. In this second and concluding part, the steps in making the four other types of wood joints (miter, mortise, rabbet, and tenon) are provided.
Miter joint – The miter joint is used when you do not want the end grain of the wood to show. Miter joints are used for picture frames:
1) When assembling a picture frame, make or buy the wooden moulding suitable for the purpose.
2) Mark with a pencil the length and the width of the picture frame. Mark two pieces of the length and also two pieces of the width.
3) Set the sliding T-bevel at 45 degrees angle, and mark both ends of the length and both ends of the width.
4) Place the moulding on the working bench face down.
5) Hold the moulding firmly against the working bench. Provide a small wooden stopper if necessary so that the moulding will not move while being cut.
6) Using a saw, cut the miter on the waste side of the moulding.
7) Assemble the frame and check if the joints fit.
8) Using a T-square, check if the sides are on the right angle.
9) Apply wood glue and assemble the miter joint, using board and small finishing nails.
10) Install a temporary small wooden support at the back of the frame and store for drying for 24 hours. One end of the support should be nailed to the length and the other end, to the width of the frame.
11) Remove the temporary wooden support after the glue has dried.
Mortise and Tenon joints – Mortise and tenon joints are used in making furniture, door, window sashes, and chairs. One piece of wood in these kinds of joints has a hole or mortise. The other piece has a projection or tenon:
1) Plane and square to the given dimension the pieces that are to be joined.
2) Lay out the mortise on the wooden leg. If possible, place the joint 3/4 of an inch (19 millimeters) down from the top. A marking gauge may be used to make a layout.
3) When making the legs of a table, cabinet, or stool, lay out the mortise on four legs at one time.
4) Fasten the piece to be mortised to a bench or hold in a vise.
5) Choose the proper size of auger bit and fasten this to a brace. Bore a series of holes in the waste stock to the desired depth.
6) Make the mortise as deep as possible.
7) With the use of a sharp chisel, trim the sides of the mortise.
8) Lay out the tenon according to the working drawing.
9) Cut the tenon with a saw on the waste side of the marked line in order to remove the extra stock. Keep cutting until the tenon is finished.
10) Try fitting the two pieces (mortise and tenon) together. They must fit snugly; otherwise trim the sides of the mortise or the tenon until you get the right fit.
11) Apply glue in the mortise and tenon, and assemble the joint. Use a clamp when necessary. Make sure that the boards are at right angles with each other.
Rabbet joint – The rabbet joint is ideal for corner constructions such as in making drawers and bookcases:
1) Plane and square the pieces to be joined.
2) Put the two pieces in the right position and mark the location of the rabbet joint.
3) With the use of a try square and a pencil, mark a line across the surface of the piece to be rabbeted. Extend the lines across both edges.
4) Determine and mark the depth of the rabbet on the end and on the edges using a try square and a pencil.
5) Fasten the piece to be cut in a vise. Start cutting on the waste side of the lines to the marked depth.
6) Cut away the remaining waste stock.
7) Test if the two pieces fit together well. If necessary, trim the edge of the rabbet with the use of a sharp wood chisel to make a well-fit joint.
8) Assemble the rabbet joint with nails or screws.
This completes the steps of all the seven types of wood joints. Remember, again, that your knowledge of the uses of these wood joints and their construction will greatly help you in doing repair works or in constructing your own wooden furniture and fixtures without the need of hiring the services of a carpenter or a woodworking expert.