3 Types of Woodworking Joints for Your CNC Projects

 As creatives, we’re always looking for new techniques to incorporate into our work, giving us more tools to turn our vision into reality. Today, we’ll be using a project by one of our makers as a case study to share a bit about one of the most fundamental woodworking techniques: joinery. 

The DIRESTA Wood Stool is a great piece that uses three different types of joints to hold it all together. No screws or nails or anything but a slab of plywood, a bit of glue, and precision carving.

Mortise and Tenon Joint

Jimmy DiResta’s DIRESTA stool makes great use of a number of different joint types. The first of which we’ll be talking about is the mortise and tenon joint which is used to join the seat of the stool with the legs.

The mortise and tenon is one of the oldest and most dependable joints in woodworking. You’ll see it all the time, especially in furniture making. The tenon is a tapered part of one piece and the mortise is a cavity cut into the adjoining member into which the tenon fits. 

It’s great for joining perpendicular parts such as furniture legs. Just remember to keep the cavity slightly larger than the tenon so that there will be enough space for glue.


Dado Joint

Another common joint is the dado, also known as a housing or trench. In our example, it’s used to attach the footring to the legs.

Just like the mortise and tenon, this is one of the most common joints that you’ll find. The good news is that it’s also one of the easiest to create as well as one of the strongest. A dado joint is simple a groove carved into the face of one of the members. The other piece fits right in.

This type of joint is most frequently used in cabinet making where the direction of the load is perpendicular to the length of the groove.

Cross Lap

The last joint incorporated into the stool is the cross lap. This joint is unique in that it is created by subtracting material in order to form the joint. DiResta uses this type to join the legs of the stool.

Like our other joints, the cross lap forms an incredibly strong bind. It’s especially helpful for creating a smooth joint for two flush, perpendicular members. The cross lap is commonly seen in cabinetry and framing.

The X-Carve is fantastic at giving makers the precision to create nuanced and intricate designs at a wide range of scales. Experimenting with and Incorporating a variety of joints can broaden your creative horizons, take your CNC machining to a whole new level, and allow you to bring your ideas to life.


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