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

Scarf Joint
A method of end joining members. From ply the solid timber.

a scarf joint

Above is a plain scarf or lap splice. Any joint of this type where part of one member overlaps another is called a Lapped Joint.

When I was a young journeyman carpenter I worked for a firm that specialised in timber engineering. Among other things we built large span bowstring roof trusses. In effect we end joined lengths of 2" x 1 1/2" softwood timber with scarfed joints like above until the were 60Ft to 80ft long. We then laminated a few of those together to make the curved top and bottom chords.

  1. These joints would have been unheard of in an earlier generation, but modern glues have made strong but simple joints possible.
  2. The surface are of the glue does the work, so the longer the lap the stronger. From a ratio of 6:1, length to thickness seems to be a good average but up to 10:1 has been used.
  3. The joints in any one laminated member were always staggered.

Modern day boatbuilders use the scarf to join sheets of ply.

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