How to Join Two Pieces of Wood With or Without Fasteners

Wood joinery — as you may have guessed is when two pieces of wood are joined together to create other structures. Creating wood joints is in essence an art that has its roots in 1570-1069 B.C., when Egyptians used animal glue to join timber.

Wood joinery has come a long way since then, and today there are several ways to join two pieces of wood together seamlessly. So, whether you’re a novice or seasoned woodworker, we bring you the lowdown on how to join two pieces of wood with or without screws.

Types of Wood Joints

There are myriad different woodworking joints in practice, but here are the most popular ones.

Miter Joint

A miter (angle) joint is created by cutting two pieces of wood on angles (generally 45° angles), and then joining them together. Some examples of miter joints include corners of picture frames, and certain styles of trim.

Even though most miter joints are cut at 45° angles, other angles can be used as well such as cutting eight pieces of wood at 22.5° angles to create an octagonal mirror frame. You can use several tools to cut miter joints, but your best bet is to use a specialized power tool such as a miter saw.

How to Join Two Mitered Corners with Screws?

The easiest way to do this is with a Kreg jig. To do this, put the mitered end of the piece into the base of the jig, and clamp it down. Next, drill a couple of pocket holes for your mitered joint, and lastly insert the screws through the holes to connect with the other mitered piece of wood.

How to Join Two Mitered Corners without Screws?

To join two mitered pieces without screws, grab some premium wood glue, brush some on generously on the edges, let it dry a bit for roughly two minutes in order to dilute the glue to prevent being too think when joined. Once the glue is moderately dry, apply another coat of glue on the miters, and use band clamps while you let the glue dry.

Butt Joint

If you’re working with trim, you’re going to be encounter butt joints. Just like the name would suggest, butt joints are when two pieces of wood are butted together. It is one of the most basic and simple wood joints to construct, but on the downside is not very strong, and aesthetically pleasing.

This is why is it is mostly used in basic woodwork projects. On a brighter note, butt joints can be secured with the screws, nails, dowels or glue, and there are various other ways to enhance their strength and aesthetics.

How to make butt joints with screws?

Get started by gluing the two pieces of wood using wood glue. Next, hold the joint in place so that it is stable, and drill a couple pilot holes through the joint, while making sure it doesn’t split. Drive the screws into the drilled pilot holes, and clean up any excess glue.

How to make butt joints without screws?

If your butt joint assembly has interior surfaces that aren’t going to be visible, then the easiest way to bind them together is by applying glue blocks. Glue blocks are basically small blocks of wood that are glued into place.

They are mostly used inside MDF assemblies, like cabinets, dressers, armoires, and also in some solid woodworking applications. Simply add glue to the blocks, press them in place, and you can also drill and drive screws through them for more strength.

Lap Joint

Lap joint — aptly named and also dubbed as overlap joint is simply joining two pieces of wood by overlapping them. These joints can be full laps or partial laps, and are used to join a wide range of materials including plastic, wood or metal. Lap joints are best used for structural framing, and used extensively in transition, and cabinetry for framing.

How to create lap joints with screws?

Once you’ve created the two pieces to lap join, glue them for extra strength if needed. Drill holes for the screws through the top of the wood, while ensuring that the wood does not split.

How to make lap joints without screws?

Just like butt joints, you will need to use a strong glue to give the joints their strength especially since you aren’t using any other jointing methods. Once the glue has cured, you will have lap joints that are strong and durable.

Joinery Techniques to Join Two Pieces of Wood without Screws

Dovetail Joint

Dovetail joints require the use of wedge-shaped interlocking pieces that resemble a dove’s tail, and are extremely strong, and beautiful way of joining two wood pieces together. This type of wood joints is usually used in drawer construction, wood boxes and lids

It entails cutting the wedge sockets into a single piece of wood, and gluing and clamping them with corresponding tails. You can cut through the dovetails with a hand operated saw, or make the process a whole lot easier with a dovetail jig and router.

Mortise and Tenon Joint

Mortise and tenon joints are perhaps one of the oldest joinery techniques, and can be found in woodworking applications that are centuries old. It is also one of the most durable, where the mortise serves as the cavity, and tenon is the pieces that’s fits snuggly into the mortise.

Creating a mortise and tenon joint requires a fair bit of expertise, but certain tools can make the process easier such as a band saw to create the tenon peg, and a mortiser to cut the mortise.

Joining Two Pieces of Wood with Screws

There are several applications that require the use of screws to joining two pieces of wood together. There are two common ways to go about this — simply screw them together or use brackets.

To screw them together, mark a cross where you’d like to fix the two pieces of wood together, start drilling through the upper piece with a drill bit that’s of a similar size as the screw, drill a pilot hole in the lower piece, and then drive the screw using a screwdriver or an impact driver.

Final Thoughts:

Apart from the aforementioned ways, there are several other joinery techniques can be done with or without screws including with dowel rods. But it is important to note that regardless of whether you’re using screws or not, you should follow the right process to ensure the joint will last.

If you’re going to use screws, it is a good idea to drill pilot holes before putting in the screws to protect the wood. And of course, ensure you’re using the right type of screw and screwdriver for the respective application.

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