How to create a wood finger joint

Written by brandon salo
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How to create a wood finger joint
Finger joints often are used for cigar humidors and jewellery boxes. (antique lockable cigar box image by Scott Williams from

Wood finger joints are commonly used in making cigar boxes, drawers and other decorative furniture applications. A finger joint is one of the strongest wood joints that does not require any nails or screws. Jigs and stencils are available at hardware stores to make cutting finger joints easy; however, with some concentration they can be made with very basic woodworking tools. Knowing how to create finger joints is a must for the woodworker who desires to make beautiful projects.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • 2 oak boards, 1-inch-by-4-inch-by-6-inch
  • Vice
  • Hand saw
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Sand paper, course grade
  • Tack cloth
  • Wood glue
  • Corner clamp

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  1. 1

    Secure one of the oak boards in the vice so the grain is vertical and the top of the board is two inches away from the clamps on the vice. Measure one inch from the left side of the board, one inch down, one inch to the right, and one inch back to the top end of the board. Mark this area with your pencil. You should have a 1-inch-by-1-inch square measured out at the end of this board. Repeat this process starting an inch away from the first square, and repeat this step with your second piece of wood.

  2. 2

    Cut along the 1-inch squares by making vertical cuts down the board, 1-inch deep along your pencil markings. Use your saw for the vertical lines only. Remove the square pieces with your hammer and chisel by pounding it through the horizontal lines. Repeat this step with your second piece of wood.

  3. 3

    Dry fit your boards together to make sure they fit evenly. Use your sand paper to smooth down any edges and to ensure a better fit. Wipe the boards down with a tack cloth, apply the wood glue and secure the pieces together at a 90-degree angle with your corner clamp. Let the glue dry according to instructions.

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