DIY TIP: How to make a Half-Lap Joint with Basic Tools

I have made several projects that use half-lap joints, and a half-lap joint is a joint that you should know how to do - even if you only have the basic power tools.


A lap joint or half-lap joint lets you join thick sections of timber together for a strong joint. I was glad to come across this video that explains quite simply the easy way to cut a lap joint, either with a circular saw or a mitre saw. I have used my mitre saw by setting the cutting depth to make plenty of lap joints.


What is a Half-Lap Joint?

One of the most common methods of jointing used in woodworking and DIY, half-lap joints are easy to cut - even using basic power tools - and offer a very strong jointing method. With the use of a quality wood glue, half-lap joints are an effective way to join thin or thick sections of timber together for a neat finish for woodworking and DIY projects.

The video just below explains in more detail how a half-lap joint looks and where it can be used. While this half-lap joint is cut on a table saw, you can also use a circular saw or sliding mitre saw to cut half-lap joints.







When would you use a Half-Lap Joint?

I, myself, have used half-lap joints to assemble picture frames, make sturdy tables and create frames with invisible joints (no screws are used). The half-lap joint has two sections, both cut to half the depth of the wood, that are glued together to overlap. The ideal situations for using a half-lap joint are where you want a decorative - no screws visible - way to join wood together, or where you have thick sections of timber that need to be joined.

If you want to view some of the projects I have made using the half-lap joint method, click to view the Modern Coffee Table or the Farmhouse Dining Table,

Tip for making Half-Lap Joint

When cutting and assembling half-lap joints, the use of a quality wood glue gives the joint its strength, especially when no screws are other jointing methods are incorporated. The glued joint, once the glue has cured, will be strong and durable.

You can use a variety of basic power tools for cutting the joints required to make a half-lap joint, but any tool you use must have the ability to set and hold the cutting depth. That means that you can use a circular saw, mitre saw, or table saw as long as these can be adjusted to a specific cutting depth.

For more information on using basic tools to cut half-lap joints, watch the video below.




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