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5 Joinery Systems Any Woodworker (or Aspiring Woodworker) Will Love

If you're going to build wooden furniture or cabinets, you need a solid, accurate way to join the parts. Traditional hand-cut joinery takes years to master, but with relatively inexpensive modern joinery systems, you can make strong joints with almost no practice or skill!

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Plate Joiner

A plate joiner cuts a semicircular slot in adjoining parts. The slot accepts a flat, football-shaped plate or “biscuit,” of which there are different sizes for different material dimensions. Plate joiners can be used for all sorts of projects and are super simple to use. Check out this tutorial: How to Make a Biscuit Joint.

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A BeadLock jig lets you make super-strong mortise-and-tenon joints. There are many “loose tenon” joinery systems, but at $30, this one is a really attractive option. The only other tool required is a drill, and you’ll need to purchase a supply of loose tenon stock, which comes in various sizes. It’s a bit slow, so it’s not the best choice for large production, but the BeadLock system is a perfect option for a hobbyist. To find out which joinery system best suits you, check out these 4 go-to joinery options.

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Doweling Jig

Using dowels to join parts is a strong, time-tested method. A doweling jig like the one shown is a foolproof way to create these joints. All you need are a drill and a supply of joinery dowels. Here’s everything you need to know about dowel jigs.

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Pocket Screws

Pocket screws are driven into steeply angled holes, or “pockets,” on the back, nonvisible side of a workpiece. To drill the holes, you’ll use a pocket hole jig, which comes with a special drill bit and stop collar. These jigs are versatile and simple to use, requiring only a drill and a supply of self-drilling washer-head screws. Want to see how pocket screws work? We’ll walk you through what you need to know here.

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Dovetail Jig

Ready to knock it out of the park? Dovetail construction is the hallmark of craftsmanship when it comes to woodworking. But with a dovetail jig, a router and a little practice, you’ll be making dovetails like a boss! To use a dovetail jig, you’ll need a router. Learn all about router basics here.

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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Family Handyman editors, who aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Contact us, here.

Brad Holden
Brad Holden, an associate editor at The Family Handyman, has been building cabinets and furniture for 30 years. In that time, he has absorbed so many slivers and ingested so much sawdust that he's practically made of wood.