Tips for better woodworking joinery

Joinery requires great skill, but there are tips that Sheffield Joiners can follow to ensure that their work is as error-free as possible. Here are some of the most useful from a reputable Edinburgh Joiner.

  • Identify where a joint doesn’t fit properly – However skilled a joiner is, there will be times where two pieces of wood just won’t want to fit together. This is usually the result of joints that haven’t been cut properly. An easy way to find out where the joinery is going wrong is to look for where the wood is ‘rubbing’ on the other piece. Usually, there will be a shiny spot on the wood which can then easily be sanded, chiselled or planed down to create a perfect fit.
  • How to fit shelves tightly into dados – For a perfect fit, a joiner should always cut the dado or groove that a shelf is going to fit into before they plane the wood. This means that the shelf’s thickness can easily be adjusted to form a snug fit into the dado or groove.
  • Dealing with oversized dowels – If a dowel is too large for the hole it’s meant to fit, a joiner can easily shrink it by ‘cooking’ the dowel in the microwave! This is particularly useful if you have a lot of dowels that won’t fit. Wood always holds a little bit of residual moisture, which will be drawn out by the heat of the microwave meaning that the dowels should just slot into place.
  • Small parts – Joinery can often mean dealing with parts that are simply too small to joint safely when using machinery. A joiner can use the jaws of a bench vise to grasp the handle of things such as a smoothing place or jointer. When these tools are grasped in an inverted position, the small part can be grasped and run over the blade.
  • Keep things clean – Much of joinery relies on sharp carpentry tools, and one of the quickest ways to blunt things is to allow dirt, grit and leftover shavings of wood to gather on the surfaces of boards. Surfaces can be kept clean by wiping dirt off regularly, and making sure that said surfaces have dried before work commences on them. If there are more embedded grits, a wire brush is often used to ensure cleanliness.
  • Creating really thin stock – Joinery often requires the use of super-thin stock and wood. But many planers are only able to handle a minimum thickness. A simple way to get round this is for a joiner to attach a piece of three-quarter inch thick wood to their existing wood using commercial-grade double-sided tape. This will fool the planer into thinking that the wood is thicker than it is, and will allow for the cutting of super-thin stock.
  • Prevent ‘tear-out’ – Joiners often have to use wood that isn’t very amenable to being cut. This can lead to ‘tear-out’, or jagged edges. A simple way for a joiner to prevent this is to wipe the board with a damp cloth prior to planing. This softens the wood fibres, and prevents jagged tears.

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