Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Butt Joint

One aspect of woodworking is joining various size wood pieces together to create something of use. This is called joinery. A good woodworker knows many different joints since each ones has it's strength at different application. A profitable woodworker accomplishes this task with the quickest way possible without sacrificing strength or look of the piece. The most basic of all the joints is the butt joint. This is a joint that anyone can accomplish if they are given two planks of wood, nails and a hammer. Because of it's simplicity and relative weakness, it is a disrespected joint among the fine woodworker. With minor modification, I find it the most used way of joining wood in my work. We live in modern time and we should take advantage of modern convenience like gorilla glue and the microwave oven. I'm pretty sure craftsman way back then would've used the lowly butt joint if they had the highly prized nails back then. Nowadays, change the nails for confirmat screws or dowel, biscuit or the new domino, add the proper glue and you have a very strong joint if used in the right application, made in short time with high accuracy. I built this cabinet centerpiece for our display at Panda Kitchen. These butt joints are held together with brads and woodscrews only. There is a chance we would have to move the display, so no glue is used. The miters on the stacked crown molding are modified butt joints cut at exactly 45 degrees angle. Put enough of these together and you will have very nice looking piece of work. Butt joints well works on the carcass of the kitchen cabinetry that are assembled on site because they are permanently screwed to the walls shortly after assembly. The boxes are stationary and each joint is reinforced with an adjacent joint, so there are very little stress to a single joint. Glue a counter top on the entire assembly and it is a solid piece made of many small pieces. Butt joint allows us to install a kitchen quickly with minimum tools on site.