Oh the embarrassment on not knowing basic wood working

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by rwkeating, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. rwkeating


    Oct 1, 2014
    I've built 3 instruments that I am very proud of and I play them everyday. I had not had previous wood working experience when I built those. Today I decided to build a stand for those instruments. I don't even know what this joint is called, but this is about as good as I got it. I am working with hand tools, but that is no excuse. How can this be harder than building an entire instrument??????

    Hope you guys laugh about this ... since I can't ... yet :(

  2. I've felt a similar pain. I'm certified in auto mechanics. I had a lawn mower that I coiuld not get running for the life of me. My thought was "how the neck is this harder than a car?"...

  3. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    That's a peculiar joint which does not seem to add much benefit .vs. a butt joint or a butt with a small shoulder, particularly if you are screwing it together. Some sort of half-lap, but at a corner. It just takes the meat out of the joint to no benefit. It's still all end-grain to side-grain which is weak as sin when glued.

    Honestly, with hand tools I think you are better off heading straight for dovetails. But you're also better off heading straight to the "practice makes (closer to) perfect" and make one from scrap, cut it off, make another, cut it off, repeat as long as you can stand it (a few a night, not all in one go) then move on to making storage boxes/drawers for the shop, by the end of which you can make one that's pretty decent.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  4. jchrisk1


    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    You should be able to clean those up with a very sharp chisel. And try clamping pressure for a tighter fit.
    pie_man_25 and rwkeating like this.
  5. rwkeating


    Oct 1, 2014
    At first I was going to glue them together but when I saw how bad the joints were so I went for the screws. Dovetail joints look like they would be one the hardest things to do. I think I should have gone with a butt joint.
  6. I feel your pain. Making instruments can be very different from carpentry. If you really want to feel bad about your handtool skills watch the Woodwright’s Shop with Roy Underhill. I get that ha makes 3-5 of whatever he’s making for the show but it still amazes me the nearly perfect cuts he does by hand. I can get close sometimes but...
  7. J_Bass

    J_Bass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2008
    Porto, Portugal
    You shouldn't screw a board vertically, i. e., following the direction of the veins of the wood.

    Alternatively, you could do a dove tail, but that is hard. You can screw it in the diagonal direction with a pocket joint or not, or you can do what you did and also use wood glue on the joint and if you want it to be very strong you can add this:

    Captura de ecrã 2017-10-06, às 01.19.54.png

    Captura de ecrã 2017-10-06, às 01.20.23.png

    It's just an opinion, I just do some very basic woodworking around the house.
    Ductapeman likes this.
  8. I too feel your pain. Making guitars is a completely different animal. A lot of this basic stuff I selectively learn as I go.
    Spidey2112 and rwkeating like this.
  9. Picton


    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA
    Dude. You screwed into end grain. That’s a no-no.

    Great opportunity to learn to dovetail. It’s a very satisfying joint, and even a poorly done dovetail would be scads better than the one in your pic.

    I find guitars and ukes about 1000 times more forgiving than furniture. Hang in there!
    johnson79 and rwkeating like this.
  10. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    That is a rabbet joint. When done correctly and clean they are maybe not beautiful but functional for sure. I do them on my table saw and now on the side of my jointer.

    5 Ways to Make Precision Rabbet Cuts

    I just made a nice set of shelves for a friend with the same joinery.
    jchrisk1 likes this.
  11. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    IMHO, dovetails look harder than they actually are. It's educational just how crappy they can be and still functionally work well, and it's actually not very hard to get to the point of less crappy (but it requires some practice. Practice requires not running away from trying them...)

    And don't focus on buying a bunch of router junque to make them with. A marking gauge, a knife, a saw and chisels will get you there, and can make tails that are "impossible" with a router. Also faster if not making 10 joints at a time...

    Perhaps this will take some of the mythos down a notch?
    Roy Underhill's Dovetails - Popular Woodworking Magazine
    DrummerwStrings and pie_man_25 like this.
  12. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    We all gotta start somewhere...
    You're free to copy mine if you like, the String Swing hangers without the back plate are available directly from String Swing and they're cheap.

  13. jchrisk1


    Nov 15, 2009
    Northern MI
    Looks nice. Did you bend those legs or cut them?
  14. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    There is a small gain in mechanical strength in this joint if the joinery is accurate.

    It's not necessarily your fault. Especially if you're under fifty years old. In the late seventies and early eighties public schools began curtailing industrial arts classes (wood shop and drafting) across the country. That event is curiously linked to the change from junior high to middle school. We have three generations of people who don't understand basic tool use. If you haven't been taught you can't expect to be good at anything without a lot of practice.

    Get some scrap. Practice making cuts and joints. A few hours of that will go a long way to getting you to where you need to be.
  15. Stewie


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    ..........or buy a Kreg jig. (very handy tool for cabinet making)
    rojo412 and tekhedd like this.
  16. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama

    What's the scroll bass in the avatar?
  17. Hey, my woodworking is crap too, and it's consistently there too, with how little I get to do it. What I've learned recently is that the woods would be awfully quiet if the only birds that sang were the ones that were the best at it. Do your thing, whatever that thing is, and it's okay to suck at first. But yeah, looking into box joints and dovetails would be great for joinery and they're not much harder from that rabbet and dado that you just threw together.
    rwkeating likes this.
  18. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    The joint is called a rabbet joint. It is common in moderately priced furniture where a full dovetail joint is not indicated due to price or finishing concerns. When properly milled and reinforced, it is stronger than a butt joint, which is simply two boards placed against each other. You have the right idea, it just needs to be refined.
    rwkeating likes this.
  19. Arie X

    Arie X

    Oct 19, 2015
    OP: imo, glue & dowel it. who wants to make dovetails in soft wood?
  20. A well cut rabbet joint is good for aligning the sides at the corners and increases the glue joint surface area, also a good thing. It doesn't change the weakness of an end grain joint and driving screws into end grain is nearly pointless.

    Even though yours is not a textbook joint, this'll help you reinforce it:
    I recommend against using L-brackets for reinforcement. For the same money they cost you can buy wood for cleats instead. A piece of 1x1 (or 2x2 if you want it beefy) the same depth as the cab side is glued on two of its adjacent sides, clamped into the inside corner of the cab then screwed into place from either inside or outside according to your cosmetic 'druthers. 3 or 4 small screws along each side will do fine. Choose screws that are 1/4" shorter than the combined thickness of the side and the cleat for strength. The screw thread needs to bite into the wood of the further piece, not merely contact it. Drill small pilot holes to guide the screws and to reduce driving effort. As soon as the screws are in place you can remove the clamps.
    Low cost, easy and strong.