Saturday, December 29, 2012

Joint of the day - the half dovetail

There is nothing as awesome or as strong as a half dovetail cut with an 8 inch circular saw and a chisel. (Well, maybe our scarf joint, but I'll save that for later.)

The half dovetails were used to connect the cross beams from the mortises in the Lathem house to the top of the new porch plate.

The dovetails pulled the plate tight and straightened any twisting caused by drying.

Congratulations, half dovetail, for being our joint du jour.


  1. The last time I used joints like these was about 7 years ago in a barn conversion we were doing. The "mortice side of it was already cut into the old chamber beam so I only had to cut the end on the joists. Like you said though a good strong joint. and It's good to know the same kind of joints on old house construction are used in the states as well as here in the UK

  2. Most of the joints I've studied have been from England. The oldest structures to be found here are between 200-300 years, in England you have timber frames that are 1000 years older than that still. I've practice a couple complicated scarf joints found in England and the results were laughable. I would love to spend a few years with some English preservationalists and timber framers.


Let me know what you think! Comments and suggestions are always welcome!