They are many ways to connect your material when woodworking. Any method or place where wood is joined is aptly called ‘Joinery’ or ‘Wood Joinery’. Traditional joints such as box joints, elegant dovetails, and strong mortise and tenon joints are used with natural timbers and do not need any other materials other than glue and the timber itself.
Butt Joint – A weak joint where 2 pieces of wood are glued at a right angle. This joint is weak as it connects end grain to face grain without any mechanical forces physically holding the pieces.
Bridal Joint – Also known as open tenon, open mortise and tenon, or tongue and fork joints, this joint is where the through mortise is open on one side and forms a fork shape. The mate has a through tenon or necked joint. Bridle joints are commonly used to join rafter tops, also used in scarf joints and sometimes sill corner joints in timber framing.
Dowel Joint – The end of a piece of wood is butted against another piece of wood. This is reinforced with dowel pins. This joint is quick to make with production line machinery and so is a very common joint in factory-made furniture. A small rod is used internal to a joint both to help align and to strengthen the joint. Dowel joints are also useful for pegging together weaker, cheaper composite materials such as laminate-faced chipboard, and where limited woodworking tools are available (since only simple drilled holes are needed to align the dowels).
Miter Joint – Similar to a butt joint, but both pieces have been beveled (usually at a 45 degree angle). The most common example of these is in frames for pictures and paintings.
Finger joint – A corner joint with interlocking fingers. Receives pressure from two directions and is also referred to as a box joint (particularly when wider fingers are used).
Dovetail joint – A dovetail joint is one of the revered woodworking joints. It can be thought of almost like a box/finger joint with triangular locking pins. The learning curve on dovetails joints is higher but the results are spectacular and simple when mastered.
Dado joint – Also called a housing joint or trench joint, a slot is cut across the grain in one piece for another piece to set into; shelves on a bookshelf having slots cut into the sides of the shelf, for example.
Groove Joint – Like the dado joint, except that the slot is cut with the grain.
Tongue and groove – Each piece has a groove cut all along one edge, and a thin, deep ridge (the tongue) on the opposite edge. If the tongue is unattached, it is considered a spline joint.
Mortise and tenon – A stub (the tenon) will fit tightly into a hole cut for it (the mortise). This is a hallmark of Mission Style furniture, and also the traditional method of jointing frame and panel members in doors, windows, and cabinets. This joint is a good strong joint to use.
Birdsmouth joint – Also called a bird’s beak cut, this joint used in roof construction. A V-shaped cut in the rafter connects the rafter to the wall-plate.
Halved Joint – A joint in which the two members are joined by removing material from each at the point of intersection so that they overlap.
Splice joint – A joint used to attach two members end to end.
Pocket hole joinery – A hidden screw is driven into the joint at an angle.
Metal connectors – Joints using metal connectors that attach to the frame with nails or screws.
Floating tenon joint – Similar to a Mortise and Tenon joint – essentially two mortises are lined up and a free floating tenon joins the two.
Stitch and Glue – Primary used to create seams such as on boats