Simple Solutions

Create a Half-Lap Joint

By: Joe Truini

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


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  • Scott Perry Says:
    August 2nd, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Used technique on very wide deck gate. Surprisingly easy! Found rasp planer to be easier than wood chisel to smooth out joint after knocking out the material between cuts.

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Create a Half-Lap Joint