In situations where two pieces of wood need to be tightly connected at right angles (for example constructing a wooden gate) a half-lap joint is ideal. Here are a few tips to make an easy half-lap joint:

  • Measure the width and thickness of the wood
  • Mark a square line the same distance from the end of the board as the board is wide
  • Use a circular saw, with the blade depth set at half the thickness of the board, to cut on that line
  • Then make additional cuts every 1/8 inch or so out to the end of the board (this is the waste wood)
  • Use a hammer to break out the bulk of the waste wood and a wood chisel to scrape out the rest and smooth out the cut
  • When you have done this with both pieces of wood they can be overlapped to create a tight interlocking joint. Glue and screws will help hold the boards in place while the edges or shoulders of the joint support the weight
Editorial Contributors
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Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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