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Types of Housing Joints

The log cabin is a perfect example of housing joints in action.
First Berry Lincoln Store image by chas53 from Fotolia.com

If you do a lot of woodworking, you’re going to occasionally join pieces at a 90-degree angle. Woodworkers create this 90-degree meeting, called a joint, in a variety of ways. One of the simplest and most effective is called the housing joint. Simple to make yet strong, the housing joint is perfectly suited for cabinets, shelves and framing.

Through Housing Joint

This type of housing joint is the most basic joint possible. By cutting a trench into one piece of wood, you create a stronger joint than if you were to simply apply glue to the surface. The trench needs to be the width of the adjoining piece and ideally no deeper than one-third of the thickness of the wood.

Stopped Housing Joint

Terminating the trench short of the front edge of a piece of wood creates a stopped housing joint; the inserted piece of wood will have a small notch at the front corner so that the front edges remain flush. This type of joint is invisible when viewed from the front and is ideal when you are working on a piece that requires a high-quality finish.

Tapered Housing Joint

You create a tapered housing joint by cutting one edge of the trench and the corresponding edge on the other piece of wood at complementary angles. The diagonal slope simulates a wedge, which creates a stronger bond within the housing joint. This type of joint is ideal for cabinets with deep drawers, due to the joint’s resistance to force.

Tapered Stopped Housing Joint

The tapered stopped housing joint combines the advantages of the tapered and stopped housing joints. The diagonal wedge cut of the joint increases the joint’s strength while the joint is completely invisible since the trench does not go all the way through the wood. This joint is perfect for fixing and restoring a large antique cabinet that requires a high-quality finish.

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