Sunday, May 18, 2008

Handcut Lap Joint

Cutting lap joints by hand takes a little while if you are as slow as I am. To cut just one half of a lap joint took me....well, let's just say that if I were to charge $30/hour for my time, this joint alone would cost $5 million.

There are a number of ways to cut this joint, and other ways to speed up the process, but here is one way to do it:

Layout the cut with a bevel-edged pencil, marking knife or exacto blade. Use a chisel to define the shoulder. Handsaw kerfs within the waste area. The more kerfs you saw, the easier it is to chip out the waste. My kerf marks are rather far apart because I get tired pretty quickly with handsawing. Use a beefy chisel to chip out the majority of waste then clean up the bed with a router plane or paring chisel. Because this is a wide lap joint, remove the waste from only half of the joint at a time and leave a section of wood in the middle to support your router plane as you clean up the bed. Remove the center waste section with a chisel and/or plane.

Now it's onto the next one!