Reinforced joints w
V ▼ hat if there just isn't enough gluing surface in a joint to make a strong glue bond, or there isn't enough stock to provide a suitable anchor for a fastener? You can cut a more intricate joint or try to beef up the adjoining parts, but complex lines or overly thick members might detract from the appearance of the project. Fortunately, there is a simpler solution: Add a third piece of wood to reinforce the joint.
A reinforcing member ties the two adjoining members together, straddling the joint. Usually, a reinforcement increases the gluing surface in a joint, but it may also provide an anchor for nails or screws. To keep from interfering with the project design, a reinforcing member is usually hidden from sight, either on the inside of an assembly or buried within the joint itself.
Common types of reinforcements include glue blocks, cleats, dowels, splines, and wooden plates or biscuits. All of these can be installed with a few simple cuts. A glue block butts up against the adjoining parts; so does a cleat. Dowels rest in stopped holes; splines and biscuits are placed in grooves or dadoes. A few require special tools or accessories, but most can be installed with the same equipment you use to make joinery cuts.
There is little difference between a glue block and a cleat, other than the way in which each is attached. Glue blocks are glued to the adjoining members, while cleats are normally screwed in place.
Glue blocks usually are small pieces of wood, less than 3 inches long. Because they are short, you can glue them perpendicular to the wood grain of the adjoining members without worrying that the glue joint may restrict wood movement.
Cleats, because they must provide a suitable anchor for screws, are usually larger and longer than glue blocks. When the wood grain of the adjoining parts is perpendicular to that of the cleat, you can cut slots in the cleat for the screw shanks. As the wood expands and contracts, the screws will slide back and forth in the slots.
If the wood grain of one adjoining member is perpendicular to that of the other, you can make a combination glue block and cleat. Arrange this piece so that its wood grain is parallel to the grain of one
4-1 Because scarf joints are glued end grain to end grain, they are inherently weak. This one has been reinforced with a rectangular glue block that straddles the joint. Note that the grain of the glue block is parallel to that of the adjoining members, and runs across the joint.
adjoining member but perpendicular to the other. Glue the piece to the parallel part and fasten it to the other with screws.
Glue blocks and cleats may be used like gussets, spanning or straddling a joint. (See Figure 4-J.) More often, they reinforce a corner joint, helping to secure two boards at an angle to one another. The block or the cleat is hidden from view on the inside of the angle. (See Figures 4-2 through 4-4.)
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