How & Why of Spring Joints

spring_open_img_2953Save on clamps with this traditional technique for panel glue-ups.

by Christopher Schwarz
pgs. 47-49

A “spring joint” is a traditional method where you join the edges of two boards to make a wider panel and leave a tiny gap in the middle of the joint. The gap reduces the number of clamps you need to make the panel and can help keep the completed panel intact through dramatic seasonal changes in humidity.

The 21st-century wisdom on spring joints is that they are not necessary. Modern glues, the wide availability of clamps and humidity control have rendered the method obsolete.

I completely agree that you can make an edge-to-edge joint without any “spring” and with any glue and have it last indefinitely. Yet the spring joint remains an effective way to work faster and with fewer clamps. And so I use it regularly in my shop to make my work more efficient.

If you are interested in how to make a proper spring joint based on my 20 years of making them, read on.

Blog: Read Christopher Schwarz’s blog at popularwoodworking.com.
Blog: Read Christopher Schwarz’s blog at lostartpress.com.
Video: Use a powered jointer to make a spring joint.
Article: “Three Ways to Make Edge Joints.”
In Our Store: “Mastering Hand Tools: Basic Skills for Balanced Woodworking,” by Christopher Schwarz, available on DVD or as a download.

From the February 2017 issue, #230

pwm0217_150