The Butt Join is the simplest of joins, with both parts cut square and one
overlapping the other. The strength of the join relies on the glue and
fasteners, so Kevin has a few tips to gain maximum strength:
Rub glue into the end-grain and let it dry for a few minutes to seal the grain.
This way, when you re-apply the glue to join the parts, the glue will stay in
the join without being absorbed into the wood.
Start your nails at opposing angles to each other. This will help them to resist
Use strong but flexible glue with solid timber. This way the glue can flex with
the timber through the changing seasons without letting go. Kevin recommends
The Rebate Join is the choice of most cabinetmakers because it’s easy, accurate,
and strong, but most importantly, it allows you to hide fasteners where they
won’t be seen (usually at the top and bottom of a cabinet).
Step 1: Mark the joint. Mark the thickness of one piece across the other, using
a knife and a try-square if you want a really sharp and clean finish to your
cut. Then mark the rest of the join so that 2/3rds of the thickness of the
timber is removed. This proportion gives a good-sized shoulder to the joint. Use
a marking gauge if you have one, and if you have trouble keeping it straight,
use a rolling-motion as you push it forward.
Step 2: Cut the join. Kevin used a “bench hook” to hold the timber and help
guide the saw. This is a simple device made from scraps of plywood and timber.
Cut across the face and the end as accurately as you can. Take your time and let
the saw cut at it’s own pace. Kevin used a panel saw to do this (because he
can!), but a tenon saw will do the job better as it makes a finer cut and gives
you more control. Start each cut at the ends of the line, then line the saw up
between them to finish off. This will give you a straight cut every time.
Tidy-up any daggy bits with a sharp chisel. Of course, you could always use a
router, but often by the time you’ve got it set up you could have it cut by
Step 3: Join the parts. Seal the end grain with glue, as before, then drill
clearance holes for the screws. These holes should let the screws slip through,
so when the screw is tightened it will pull the joint tightly together. The
screws should lean slightly into the join. Apply more glue, screw together, and
the job’s done.
When the glue has set this join is incredibly strong.