Finger Joints

For some reason, I have never experimented with finger joints. But recently, while playing with the dovetail saws at one of the woodworking shows, I found myself addicted to cutting them. Here’s one of the better joints I cut:

While quite time consuming to cut by hand, they are relatively quick to do by machine (table saw, usually) and very accurate with a jig. Anyhow, I cut the joint in about 20 minutes and knocked it together. It took a bit of prior experimenting to get the fingers the right thickness for the joint to go together well. All the layout was done by eye, and sawing by hand, trusting my semi-practiced hand to saw in a straight line perpendicular to the face and end of the board.

The saw didn’t leave a perfectly smooth surface, and I think that the slight coarseness acts somewhat like a feather board, or maybe as a better comparison, knurling. The slight “tooth” provides loads of friction, and once assembled, is impossible to take apart by hand (I can wiggle it a bit, if I really try!). And that’s without glue or finish!

So, inspired by this (and attracted to the fineness of the joint, I have a new interest. I bought some 5/64″-kerf sawblades and will make a jig to cut finger joints on the table saw. One of my friends, Jessica, has asked me to make a box for her, and I think that this joint would be well suited for what I have in mind.

Oh, and here’s the hand-cut finger joint again, this time with something to provide scale:

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