How to Make a Scarf Joint in Woodworking

Written by wade shaddy
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How to Make a Scarf Joint in Woodworking
Use hand clamps for scarf joints. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Scarf joints utilise long, angled glue surfaces to maximise holding power when gluing wood together end-to-end. Scarf joints can be found on beams or any woodworking project where wood is joined lengthwise. The strength of a scarf joint comes from long diagonal cuts that run down the sides of the wood. The cuts are made freehand with a band saw and mated together with glue and clamps. Scarf joints must be done individually and are custom cut each time.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Wood, 3/4-by-3-by-36 inches
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Band saw
  • Glue
  • Hand clamps
  • Glue scraper

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  1. 1

    Lay two pieces of wood flat. Measure down 6 inches from one corner on one piece with a tape measure and make a mark with a pencil. Lay a ruler on the opposite corner on the same end and angle it down to the mark. You should be looking at a sharp point drawn on the wood approximately 6 inches long.

  2. 2

    Cut the angle out on a band saw. Lay the angled board down on top of the other board and trace the angle onto it. Cut the other board at the same angle.

  3. 3

    Spread glue on both angles. Place the angles together.

  4. 4

    Place clamps 2 inches apart the length of the angles and tighten until glue oozes out and the angles are tight together. Let the glue dry for a minimum of one hour.

  5. 5

    Remove the clamps and scrape off the residual dry glue with a glue scraper.

Tips and warnings

  • The measurements here are for examples. You can make any length of scarf joint on any size of wood.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe up wet glue before it dries. Always wear safety glasses when working with wood.

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