L-Joints: Rebated, Grooved, Bridled and Box Joints

Rebated and grooved joints

Simplify drawer construction and other projects normally needing dovetailed corners by substituting rebated or grooved joints. They are quick to make and quite strong enough for most jobs.

Allow a little extra length on the front so that you can make the rebate slightly wider than the thickness of the wood it joins. This allows for final cleaning up. The depth of the rebate should be not more than three-quarters the thickness of the wood.

Cut the rebate with a tenon saw or on a bench-mounted power-tool attachment. Square up the end of the joining piece on the shooting board.

Glue and pin the joint, tapping the pins home in a dovetail formation for extra strength.

Use this joint on the front corners of drawers with the rebate overlapping the sides. The overlap will cover the grooves ploughed in the sides of the drawer to take the plywood drawer bottom.

For drawer fronts which extend beyond the sides, use a groove and rebate joint.

Cut the groove — a through-housing — in the inner face of the drawer front and the rebate on the inner face of the side. Both groove and rebate can be dovetail shape to give extra strength if required.

A shoulder plane is ideal for trimming both these joints.

rebated and grooved joints


Bridle joints and box joints

The bridle or finger joint is strong but needs to be well made to give a pleasing effect. It is ideal for jobs such as joining legs to chair arms.

Use the bridle joint at a corner — where it is virtually a tenon running into an open-ended mortise — or at a T-joining where it is stronger and more decorative than a plain halving.

For both types, set the points of a mortise gauge to divide the edge of the work into three. Square off the shoulder lines on both pieces and gauge in the finger and cut-out lines from the face sides. An ordinary marking gauge will do if you use two settings.

Mark the waste wood clearly with chalk so that there will be no sawing mistakes. Saw down the cut-out section, skimming the gauge lines in the waste.

Remove most of the waste by cutting across near the bottom with a coping saw.

Square off at the shoulder line with a narrow chisel.

Cut the finger of a corner joint as you would a tenon. On the through-joint, produce the finger by using the halving cutout method on both sides — sawing down to the gauge marks and chiselling out the waste from both sides.

Both joints can be further strengthened by dowelling through from the face side.

To get extra tightness, offset the dowel holes slightly so that the dowel, when driven home, forces the finger against the bottom of the cut-out.

The box or comb joint is usually machine-made, but it can be made by hand as an alternative to dovetailing on light furniture and in box construction.

bridle and box joints

The setting out needs care: one of the meeting pieces must contain both end fingers; its total number of fingers will therefore be uneven.

Mark out with a mortise gauge, working from the same edge. Score each shoulder line with a marking knife. Rub chalk in to make the lines clearer and mark off the waste.

Check one piece against the other before you cut the joint.

28. June 2011 by admin
Categories: Joints, Woodworking | Tags: , | Comments Off on L-Joints: Rebated, Grooved, Bridled and Box Joints


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