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Forum topic by SouthernRustic posted 05-03-2016 04:33 PM 1216 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View SouthernRustic's profile


25 posts in 2015 days

05-03-2016 04:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: joining beginner

Hey everyone!

I have always been kind of afraid of the different types of joinery. So where do I start? What would be a good style/type to start learning first? I am comfortable with pocket hole, but there is a time and place for it. I have seen various router bits for different glue joints but that will not help me learn dove tailing, mortise and tenon, using biscuits, etc

Any information would be greatly appreciated.



-- Jeff

10 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 2479 days

#1 posted 05-03-2016 04:39 PM

I would take biscuits off the list. It is nothing to learn and adds very little value.

Are you trying to learn hand cut joints or use power tools to do them? Regardless I would suggest M&T.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View JayT's profile


6434 posts in 3460 days

#2 posted 05-03-2016 04:52 PM

M & T and dovetailing will both be extremely useful if you plan to build quality furniture. Neither is as hard to learn as they may seem, just takes some understanding of the joint, when it is appropriate to be used and some practice.

I would start with M&T, as well. Look up some videos of woodworking shows where they talk about how to make them and start practicing.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View Waldo88's profile


207 posts in 2545 days

#3 posted 05-03-2016 07:17 PM

You could start with uber simple round floating tenon M&T joints…..aka dowels.

Then move on to more difficult mortise and tenon shapes once you’ve got the precision measuring and marking down. Dowel joints have lots of uses.

View Aj2's profile


4078 posts in 3047 days

#4 posted 05-03-2016 07:50 PM

I say shoot for a thru mortise and tenon joint.You will learn several important joinery skill at once.
Squareing the wood accurate laying out the jointery and then cutting the pieces to fit.
I would also like to suggest soft maple of popler.
Stay away from soft wood like pine or fir.
It’s cheap but difficult to cut clean.
Good luck.

-- Aj

View MrRon's profile


6188 posts in 4492 days

#5 posted 05-04-2016 04:19 PM

Just do it. You learn by making mistakes. That is the normal path to success. There is no other.

View BurlyBob's profile


9346 posts in 3514 days

#6 posted 05-04-2016 04:44 PM

I totally concur with MR. Ron. The longest journey begins with the first step. Go forth and conquer!

View OSU55's profile


2837 posts in 3238 days

#7 posted 05-04-2016 04:55 PM

For edge joining, i.e. panel glue ups, no joinery is needed, just clamps and clamping cauls. As for m&t, floating m&t, dowels, or dovetails, just get some wood and practice joints. There’s lot’s of info on the web for each, and many methods – all hand cut, machine cut, hybrid. Inventory your tools and determine an appropriate method. Don’t wait until you’re into a project to figure it out. Then design your project with a specific plan of joint type to be used for each joint as required. Not a biscuit fan for much of anything.

View bondogaposis's profile


6048 posts in 3600 days

#8 posted 05-04-2016 07:47 PM

I recommend that you build a small table using M&T joints. It is a good place to start and a simple project. Next make one with a drawer and dovetail the drawer. The best way to learn is through repetition. It is not really that hard nor is any of it rocket science. Get a good book on joinery to walk you through it, or buy a set of plans that have detailed instructions.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View jgt1942's profile


336 posts in 3137 days

#9 posted 05-04-2016 08:04 PM

I would take biscuits off the list. It is nothing to learn and adds very little value.

Are you trying to learn hand cut joints or use power tools to do them? Regardless I would suggest M&T.

- SirIrb

I agree, I use biscuits mainly for alignment.

-- JohnT

View jgt1942's profile


336 posts in 3137 days

#10 posted 05-04-2016 08:21 PM

I’m a big fan of finger joints, super strong and easy to do. You can start with a very simple jig and if you want to go 1st class build the Screw advance box joint jig, see Also here you will find several other jigs that will help you with other types of joints. Because finger joints are very strong, simple to do and look good I’ve stayed with them.

Several years ago I purchased numerous tools from a guy that was not going to do anymore woodworking and part of the purchase included a router table with the Incra LS Positioner. It is a great tool but I have not spent enough time with it. Since getting it I have updated my router lift to a Jessem router lift (I’m very pleased with it). If you are going to be doing a LOT of dove tails this might be a great option for you.

Search the web for publications about joints, I have several which I have used for reference but never had the time to read them completely.

-- JohnT

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