How to Make Tongue and Groove Boards

Lead Image
  • 1-12 hours
  • Beginner
  • 8-800
What You'll Need
Wood boards
Router table or table saw
Straight flute bit
Safety glasses

With growing interest in woodworking and home improvement projects centered around wood flooring, learning how to make tongue and groove boards continues to intrigue people interested in Do It Yourself projects. Tongue and groove joints are most commonly seen in woodworking, although they can be used to join other materials as well. The grooves join together with the tongues to create a tight joint where two pieces of woodwork, usually the floorboards, snap together. Each piece of flooring will have a tongue on one side and a groove on the other side. The flooring pieces can be snapped together like pieces of a puzzle to cover a whole floor. This project is fairly simple to do on your own, easier or harder depending on your power tool experience. The project can usually be completed in under half a day.

Set Up Your Materials and Workspace

To begin making tongue and groove boards, you first must decide to use either a table saw or a router. Tongue and groove joints can easily be made with a router when using the right bits on a proper router table. Make sure your routing table is clear of sawdust and other debris. Any rubbish under the wood can cause errors in your cuts. Be sure you are wearing your safety glasses at all times when operating the router. If you do not have a tongue and groove bit, which can be very expensive, you can use a straight flute bit. These instructions will use a straight flute bit.

Cut the Groove

Set the fence on the router table so that your straight flute bit will cut through the center of the wood board. Once you cut the length of the board, turn off your router. Turn the board around, turn the router back on, and cut down the other side. The board will now have a cut through the center.

Cut the Tongue

Move the fence on the router forward so that you are making cuts away from the edges of the wood board. Once you cut the length of the board, turn off the router and turn the board around. Resume cutting down the other side of the board. You should end up with the same amount on the tongue section of your board as you removed to create the groove section of the board.

Cutting Tongues and Grooves on All Remaining Boards

Repeat steps 2 and 3 to cut grooves and tongues into each wood board that you plan on using. Make sure you completely power down your router table when you have finished your last cut.

Press the Boards Together

Once you have finished cutting grooves and tongues into all wood boards, begin piecing them together to get a tongue and groove joint. The boards should fit together like pieces of a puzzle.