Graphical Construction Glossary >> Woodwork. >> Joints >> Butt Joint

Butt Joint
The simplest of all woodworking joints. The jointing surfaces of each member has a right angle or square ends and edges.

butt joints on boards edges.

The plain buttjoint is a very simple joint which on the face of it is easy to do. However the fact that it is very simple to make means that extra attention has to be given to getting it right. In the sketch above four boards are being edge jointed together using glue only.

  • The edges of the boards have to be straight and perfectly square.
  • The edges are each coated with glue, they are pressed together by hand and the rubbed back and forth lengthwise to expel excess glue and air. This is most important, and if it is done well then the boards will be hard to pull apart.
  • I have shown a quick representation of the clamping method to hold the boards until the glue is set.
  • Two sash clamps are fixed to the bench. They must not be twisted. When viewed from one end they must be parallel.
  • When pressure is applied to board with sash clamps like this the boards have a tendency to arch upwards. To stop that happening a further clamp is used on the top as shown.
butt joints

At the right are three odd joints.

  1. This is a simple joint often used in formwork. There is a need to join a couple of pieces of timber together. Just nailing them is not sufficient, so a couple of timber cleats are nailed alongside to stiffen the connection. This is more correctly known as a Butt Splice.
  2. Not restricted to timber of course, here is a quick sketch of a Butt Weld.
  3. In timber again a nailed "tee" joint like the one shown is just about as weak as a joint can get. Almost always they are made stronger by other elements. For instance if this was a stud to plate connection in a wall frame then metal nail plate connectors may be added to stiffen the joint.

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