Edge Joints

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Edge Joints



Tenon-and-MortisThe mortise and tenon joint has been used for thousands of years by woodworkers around the world. Mainly used to connect adjoining pieces at 90° angle, its basic form is both simple and strong. The tenon, formed at the end of a rail, is inserted into a square mortis hole cut into the corresponding piece. The tenon is made to fit the mortise hole exactly and may be glued, pinned, or wedged to lock it in place.



Dovetail-JointThe dovetail joint was developed before reliable glues and cheap fasteners were available. It has some major advantages. The dovetail allows expansion and contraction of the wood without losing any of its structural integrity.


A traditional fastener used for edge-to-edge joints in Japan is the butterfly key. It is often used in contemporary furniture as a decorative element, as well as a functional one. The key can be used to join boards without glue, especially where they might later need to be disassembled.

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