Custom "panel" of red oak. Butt joint, or "shiplap"?

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Forum topic by joea99 posted 09-01-2018 07:29 PM 416 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 509 days

09-01-2018 07:29 PM

Not sure where to put this or if this is even an appropriate forum.

Rebuilding a stair. More like 3 steps, between levels of a garage conversion project where the upper level is framed. Short story is, I need to “infill” the sides of the steps, which are open to the “crawl space” under the raised level.

My plan is to use some of the reclaimed red oak risers as they are of sufficient width to “stack” horizontally. So the question is, should I attempt to make a clean butt joint, with maybe a routed “relief” line along the joining edges, or attempt to create a “ship lap”, perhaps with a similar relief or bevel, to allow for some changes due to humidity, etc?

On the one hand, seems the latter is “more correct”, but I doubt anyone, except me perhaps, would ever know of the butt joint, or even see any small gap that might develop.


2 replies so far

View splintergroup's profile


3194 posts in 1824 days

#1 posted 09-02-2018 02:41 PM

I’d do a ship lap because I’m kinda anal about expansion, etc. but it always seems “cleaner” if your expansion gaps are on the sides so the middle stays gap/bevel free.

If you add some trim to the top of the panels, it could be used to hide any gap left for wood movement.

View fuigb's profile


568 posts in 3560 days

#2 posted 09-02-2018 02:50 PM

I agree with Splinter re: shiplap: my first choice for this sort of joinery. However when speed matters I will use a butt joint but modify the edges with 45-degree bevels to help hide unplanned gaps and a little more edge for glue.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

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