This article covers what joining is and showcases a range of joinery with descriptions and a table and video for comparison of various joints.


Joining is the stage where your project starts coming together connecting the various parts of your work piece. There are various ways of joining timber, including using glue and metal fasteners such as nails, screws, bolts, nails, plates, etc. These methods can be quick, cheap, easy and ideal in some circumstances, such as for moulds, temporary structures and models. If the project that you are undertaking requires you to produce a piece that is beautiful and most importantly strong and future-proof, using joinery is the most appropriate method of joining timber. This section introduces various joints that can be used in wood working.

Different joints are stronger in different circumstances, so it is important to use joints that are appropriate for the purpose of your piece. For example, a drawer that needs to carry weight and needs to resist pulling forces would use different joints to a jewellery box that has a light content and is occasionally picked up and placed down. Where joints are wisely selected, and created with care, accuracy and precision, the piece will be strong and future-proof.

There is a wide variety of joints that you can create using the machines, tools and jigs available in the MSD Machine Workshop. Some of these joints include:

Which joints should I use?

To help you select the right joint, the table below summarises and compares various joints, including their use, time required and the skill level required to make them.




Skill Level

Framing in furniture

e.g. legs to rail

2 hrs


Dado: Floating piece e.g. shelf in cabinet

Groove: Floating piece e.g. base of a box

Rabbet: For objects to sit in a groove e.g. glass in frame, back of cabinet

30 min


Edges with high tensile strength (resisting being pulled apart) e.g. front face of drawers

2 hr


Edges e.g. edge of a box, and to reinforce other joints

30 min

Low - Med

Decorative edges e.g edge of a box

1 hr


Aligning long edges of flat boards using biscuits or dominos e.g. table top, and to reinforce other joints

30 min


Framing in furniture

e.g. bed slats on bed frame

1.5 hrs


Enclosed object with no end grain exposed

e.g. picture frame, box

2 hrs


3 days)


Framing/ bracing furniture e.g. rails to legs

2.5 hrs

Med - High

Aligning long edges of flat boards e.g. table top, flooring, panelling

1 hr


Time - The estimated time for each joint includes the setup time, the marking time, and the cutting time for only 1 single joint, and is just an estimate. This excludes the time required to prepare your timber, to assemble, glue and clean up the final joint.

Below is a video providing more information about which woodworking joint to use.

How do I make these joints?

There are numerous ways in creating a joint using machines, jigs, power tools and hand tools. If you would like to tackle one of the listed joints, or a different joint, please read the relevant article and visit the MSD Machine Workshop.

Level 3 Machine Inductions are required for access to all machines, tools and jigs.

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