How to Cut Cross Lap Joints in Wood

What You'll Need
Measuring Tape

Knowing how to cut cross lap joints in wood is important for anyone home hobbyist or professional carpenter. These types of joints are great for furniture construction or framing. You can choose to have a professional cut these joints for you, but learning to do it yourself is cheaper and more rewarding. 

Step 1 – Square Lines

Using your knife, you will need to face mark the pieces as well as square them. In order to do this, you will need to get the middle point of the joints that are not central. You will use your knife to go through each of the points so that you will be able to square a line with them. It is best to do this in a well lit area so that you will be able to do it properly.

Step 2 – Square

You are now ready to lay the pieces onto each other. Make sure that you get the upper parts guided up against the squares. When you have done this, you will need to take off the square and use your pencil to mark each of the points that are at the sides for the width. At each of the points that have been marked, you will need to square a line across your wood, also make sure to do this halfway across each of the edges. Make sure that you do this with both of the pieces that you are using. You will need to make sure to get the marking gauge set for about one-half the thickness of your wood. When you have done this, make sure to mark the edges of both of the pieces you are working on.

Step 3 – Saw

You are now ready to saw the areas. You will need to get out your backsaw whenever you need to cut the joint. You will begin by getting a V shaped groove chiseled so that you can begin with the blade. You can also simply get a piece of the wood clamped down onto the stock. Use this as a guide so that you can cut closely against it. You may need to get a handsaw for this. If you have a lot of experience as a woodworker then you will simply be able to run a fine saw against the actual knife line by simply looking at it. However, most cannot do this so it is not something that is recommended. You will want to make sure that the saw cut is made as accurately as possible so that you will not have to worry about any trimming needing to be done.

Step 4 – Waste Wood

You will need to make sure to make one or two cuts in the waste wood to help with the chiseling that you will need to do. It is best to do this with a piece of the waste wood held against it. It is a good idea to get a very wide chisel so that you will be able to remove the excess wood.