Lap Joint is an interlocking joint used in woodworking to join two pieces of timber together. The joint is made by cutting rabbet into both workpieces so the place where they overlap forms a seam or “lap” and they are joined together by overlapping one piece on the other.
It’s a really simple way to make a connection, and it can be very strong if done correctly. Although this type of joint provides a lot of strength, it has a few drawbacks as well.
In this blog post, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of lap joints so you can decide if they are right for your project!
Lap Joint Advantages
Lap joints provide a number of benefits for the user. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of lap joints.
Easy to Make
Lap joints are easy and fast to make. Unlike other types of joints that require special tools or equipment, Lap Joints only need common hand tools like chisels, saws, and hammers.
That’s why lap joint is also known as a beginner-friendly joinery method.
Lap joint can be used in many different applications. You can use them to make flat frames, boxes and even furniture pieces like tables, cabinets, etc. The possibilities are endless!
They provide several kinds of versions to suit your needs; for example- full lap joint, half-lap joint, cross lap joint, mitered half-lap joint, dovetail lap joint, and so on. The types of lap joints you require are determined by the type of project you’re working on.
Lap joints are very strong and sturdy, especially if the wood is dried correctly. This type of joint has been used in everything from furniture to log cabin construction for hundreds of years because it can hold up under a lot of stress and pressure.
Even though you only have two pieces that overlap to make this connection, they form a really strong bond. They are also good at resisting tension forces because the material of one half can bear on another, thus preventing splitting or twisting apart under stress.
In addition to the actual joining itself, when the glue is applied it fills in any small gaps or spaces between each piece that makes them even more secure.
Lap joints are not as complicated or ornate as some other types of woodworking joints, so they provide a clean and simple look to any project you use them on. They also look great when you have a nice finish on the surfaces of your project so they don’t require any special treatments or finishes for them to look good.
Lap joints are also very easy to conceal which is especially important if you’re working on a project where the joint will need to be hidden.
Lap Joint Disadvantages
Although the lap joint provides many advantages, it’s not perfect for every situation or project you might have in mind. Let’s take a look at some of the key disadvantages to using this type of joinery method so you can decide if it is right for your next woodworking project!
Gap in Joints
A big disadvantage of lap joints is that there is a gap present between each board which can allow some movement. This means your project might not come out straight since the boards will move when you apply force on them, making it difficult to keep everything in line with one another.
Which can sometimes leave your project looking cheap and unfinished. This characteristic makes it unsuitable for fences, decks, and outdoor structures where gaps can be easily seen by onlookers who will judge your workmanship skills as amateurish.
For indoor applications like furniture making, this drawback does not matter since it would be covered up with paint or varnish anyway!
So, when using Lap Joints, try to make the joint as close to perfect by striking a line exactly in between both boards and working outwards from there. This will help minimize any gaps found in the finished product which can be quite unsightly when they are visible!
Don’t Hold Glue Very Well
Another disadvantage is that lap joints don’t hold glue very well, so you will need to use clamps or other fasteners to keep everything in place while the adhesive dries.
This can be problematic if your project needs a lot of small pieces since it would take a long time for each piece to dry on its own before being able to move onto another stage in construction!
Difficult to Remove & Reinstall
Due to their stability and durability, making changes can be difficult which can pose problems if you need to remove/replace just one board from your project rather than many boards at once. It also limits design possibilities since changing anything will likely require disassembling and reassembling the entire structure.
Not Good for Large Projects
When two pieces of lumber are glued together to create a seam with such thin points of contact it can sometimes cause separation in your workpiece and lead to cracking or splitting along that line.
If this happens during the construction process, there is usually no way to fix it.
Lap joints are more suitable for smaller, less complicated projects because there is a greater risk of failure or splitting along the seam when you attach two larger pieces together with this type of joinery method.
Although they’re strong enough to hold up under most circumstances, lap joints can still be broken if they’re not attached correctly.
Not Aesthetically Pleasing
Because the lap joint is not as complicated or ornate as some other types of connections, it’s really only suitable for projects where you don’t need to show off the woodworking joints.
There are ways around this limitation by using different techniques or making your own jigs for special tools but if you want a clean and simple look on your project, lap joints are the way to go.
So, it’s important to take these into consideration when deciding what type of joint to use for your project since it might not always look as good if you choose Lap Joints instead of another type of joint.
More about Woodworking Joinery:
The lap joint is one of the most common joints used in woodworking to join two pieces of timber together and provides a lot of strength with their ability to resist tension forces
But they do have some disadvantages like the gap that forms between each piece which leaves your project looking unfinished and can cause it to break if it isn’t strong enough to withstand a lot of force. Plus, it can be difficult to get accurate dimensions since there are two points that need to be measured.
However, Lap Joints are easy and fast to make so they might be the right choice for your next piece of woodworking!
Since there are so many different types of woodworking joints out there, it’s important to know the pros and cons of each type before you start your next project. If you’ve ever used lap joints in one of your own projects or have any questions about them feel free to leave us a comment below!