Lie Nielsen’s Open House and the making of a table top part 4: Edge joining strategies

The most common and easy way to glue two boards together (in order to make a wider board) is to joint the edges, apply adhesive and clamp them under pressure until the adhesive cures. Occasionally we will add biscuits or a splines in between the edges; in other cases, when we need to make a superior joint with greater contact surfaces between the two edges, we will use a special router or shaper bit to make a series of grooves and complimentary ridges that will fit into the grooves.





In the case of the table top I built, I choose a third technic. Few years ago I read a book on country furniture making, written and illustrated by George Buchanan: The Kitchen – Timeless Traditional Woodworking Projects. While reading this book I’v learned how to join boards without the assistance of clamps. A key is inserted into the edge of the two boards, than pegs are inserted into the boards to secure the keys. But the pegs have a much more important mission. As the holes in the keys and the boards are intentionally not in complete alignment, diving the peg into place will create a force to pull the two edges together (see illustration attached).



The hole in the key is off seted by a tiny amount – enough to make the peg spring and pull the key inside the mortise and consequently the edges tighter.

I made the keys from ash. At Lie Nielsen’s open house event I used mortising chisels to crated the mortises. Later on in my studio, I finished the remaining mortises by combining together the force of a cordless drill, a mortise chisel (for the mortise narrow edge) and a bench chisel on the long edges.







American Woodworker Blog
Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.