What is a finger joint in woodwork?

Whether you work in woodwork, as a tradesperson, in construction, or even if you’re a keen DIYer, you will often come across different types of joints in woodwork and may wonder what the differences are. Today we are going to take a look at exactly what a finger joint is and how it is used in wood panels to make them extremely strong and durable.

Finger joints look like interlocked fingers!

What is a finger joint?

A finger joint, also known as a comb joint, is a common type of structural joint that connects two pieces of wood together. They are used in a variety of projects, from furniture to home decor, but are most often used to create large wood panels that are stable and robust.

Finger joints are created by cutting a series of interlocking ‘finger’ slots in each piece of wood and inserting them together. Imagine interlocking your fingers together and you’ll see why they are called finger joints, as they look quite similar!

They create extra surface area for bonding to give more strength to wood panels

What are the benefits of finger jointed wood panels?

As mentioned, this style of joint is often used to create long wood panels which can be used for a variety of purposes in home construction and interiors.  A finger jointed panel is often used for interior and exterior walls, ceilings, and floors. They are also used in furniture and other woodworking projects.  You will often notice real wood worktops, such as oak worktops, with this type of join. If you look closely at the pieces of wood within a solid kitchen wood worktop you will likely see they are made with finger jointed panels.

Finger joints are one of the most common types of joints used in woodworking. They are a strong and simple joint, with the ‘fingers’ providing support for the boards when they are assembled and glued together.  By creating a series of ‘fingers’ to interlock and glue together, there are more sides, therefore the surface area available to glue is larger, making the bond stronger.  

They are strong, reliable, easy to make and offer a wide variety of angles for the fingers to be cut at. This means that you can create a custom fit for any panel you need to make. Other benefits to using finger joints for your project include durability and cost-effectiveness.

Finger jointed wood panels are an excellent option for people who want to install wood panelling in their homes. They are easy to install and can be done by any homeowner with some basic knowledge of how to work with tools.

This type of join can also be used decoratively, such as with contrasting colours of wood to create a striking pattern:

Dirk Bartens, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final word

Hopefully, with this article and imagery, you now know what a finger joint consists of. Finger jointing is a woodworking technique used to join boards end to end with interlocking ‘fingers’. It is a quick and easy way to make long, strong pieces of wood.

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