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Know Your Wood Joinery

Great furniture sits at the crossroads of beauty, utility and durability, and good wood joinery plays a big role in each of these areas.</br></br>Wood joinery, if you’re not familiar, describes the method in which wood pieces are joined together to make something, whether it's a piece of <a title="Furniture" href="http://www.atgstores.com/furniture/" target="_blank">furniture</a>, a house or a picture frame. There are all kinds of joints and all kinds of ways they can be used.</br></br>Today, we’re going to look at some popular joint types; what they look like, why they’re used and how they work.</br></br><em>1. Dovetail Joint</em></br></br>There are a few different types of dovetail joint, but they all feature trapezoidal interlocking “pins” and “tails” (like those seen above) that individually resemble – you guessed it – a dove’s tail.</br></br>This is classic joinery that historians believe predates written history, which means it’s been around for a long, long time. The reason: It worked really well to keep wood joined together, even before they had things like screws and glue, and it works even better now.</br></br><em>2. Mortise &amp; Tenon Joint</em></br></br>Again, like with dovetails, there are various kinds of mortise and tenon joints, but these joints features pins (the tenons) on one end of a board that insert into grooves or holes (mortises) in the adjoining board.</br></br>This is very strong joinery that has also been used for a long time, although it’s hard to notice it in furniture, particularly when a “stub” mortise and tenon are employed, because there is no visible evidence of the joint.</br></br><em>3. Butt Joint</em></br></br>By far the most basic of joints, a butt joint is made when the end of one board is set at a 90-degree angle with another and joined by a fastener of some kind (usually nails, screws or brackets).</br></br>Butt joints and their cousins, mitered butt joints, are common in furniture, and while perhaps not as elegant as other joints, they offer stability at a greater value due to their less complicated manufacture and application.</br></br><em>4. Tongue &amp; Groove Joint</em></br></br>A tongue and groove is another common joint that consists of a long, raised “tongue” along the edge of a board that fits into the recessed groove of another.</br></br>Tongue and groove joints hold their own classification, but shares similarities with dado and rabbet joints that improve upon butt joints by providing more connecting surface areas, particularly when glued.</br></br>So, what kind of wood joint do you want for your furniture? Inevitably, the answer is: The one that will work best with the design at the best possible price.
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