If you’re looking for the best woodworking joint to start with, try this castle joint!
The castle joint is an easy-to-make and strong joint that is widely used in furniture making to join 3 pieces of wood together.
In this blog, I will show you step by step how to make this easy-to-learn woodworking joint.
It seems like a difficult joint to make, but it is actually an easy woodworking joint to start with woodworking joinery.
Let this castle joint be the woodworking joint to practice your woodworking joinery techniques and grow into woodworking joinery.
This is the second woodworking joint explained step by step how to make it.
Continue to follow this series on my joinery journey to see more amazing handmade woodworking techniques.
You can see all previous joints and their step-by-step guides in the woodworking joints category here.
The castle joint can be simply explained as a three-way corner joint that is a combination of the bridle joint and the cross lap joint.
Because 4 protrusions are made on the vertical wood, this part resembles the battlements of a castle, which is why the name castle joint is given to this joint.
A cross-shaped connection can be placed between these protrusions to make this three-way corner connection or called the castle joint.
What is a castle joint used for?
The castle joint is often used in furniture making such as the connection between the frame and the leg of a bed or a table.
But you can actually use this castle joint for any connection you have to make when you need to bring 3 pieces of wood together.
The condition is that the parts must be perpendicular to each other.
However, there is another requirement to use this castle joint, and that is that the wood used must have a certain thickness.
When the used wood is thinner, this castle joint will lose its strength and break quickly.
In this blog post, I will discuss this in more detail.
Watch the video here
Watch the video to see how I made the castle joint.
It was the first time that I have ventured into this connection and I must admit that this is a very simple connection and very easy to learn.
Before we start building
To prepare you for building this project, I have made a few handy lists.
In addition to a few personal protective equipment that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this jig.
* Safety is always your own responsibility!
Safety first! protect yourself!
(power)Tools I used to make this Castle joint
Building this castle joint step by step
Step 1 | Preparation
To start, you saw the parts with which you want to make the castle joint to the correct length.
This connection will work best when you can use 3 parts of the same thickness, preferably also square parts where the height of the workpiece is equal to the width. However, to make a castle joint, different thicknesses in the wood are possible, but then you will have to recalculate the dimensions for the notches according to the wood used.
But wait! Before you grab the wood you want to use, there is something you have to keep in mind when choosing the wood for making a castle joint.
Earlier in the blog, I already mentioned that you should use wood that is thick enough to ensure the strength of the connection.
When you will watch the pictures in the step-by-step guide below, you will see that in many cases only one-third of the wood will be retained when making these parts. That means the wood will lose about 3 times its strength at that point.
To make sure the wood will be strong enough, make sure those points are at least 2 cm or 0.79 inches wide. That means that the wood you will use to make this castle joint should be three times as wide.
Converted quickly, it means that you can get started with wood that has a minimum thickness of 6 cm or 2.36 inches.
Later, by joining the parts of the castle joint, they will reinforce each other so that a solid connection is ensured. You can make this connection even stronger by adding wood glue between the connected parts.
Don’t just use any wood glue for your projects!
To find out which different types exist and for which applications they serve, check out my blog Understanding Wood Glue + 8 awesome tricks you should know. Here you will discover everything you need to know about wood glue.
Step 2 | building "the castle"
Ok, now that you have learned more about the wood you need to make the castle joint, you can get started.
Below I will explain step by step how to make the castle joint, starting from square wood with dimensions of 6 cm by 6 cm or 2.36 inches by 2.36 inches.
Start by making the vertical part. Here 2 slots are made in which the horizontal parts will fit later.
Divide the width of the wood into 3 equal pieces, in this case, 2 cm or 0.79 inches.
Mark a parallel line at this distance, measured from the side of the wood. Do this for each side until you get a pattern as you can see in the picture below.
Now draw a transverse line indicating the end of the trench, measured from the end of the workpiece. The distance from this cross line is the same as the width of the wood, in this case, 6 cm or 2.36 inches.
Now you can cut out the slots. It is best to use a fine-toothed handsaw for this. I used a Japanese handsaw, which I recommend using to make connections.
When cutting with your handsaw, do not cut on the marked lines but just next to them on the inside.
When all cuts have been made, you can start removing the excess wood. To do this, use a hammer and chisel.
When most of the wood has been removed, you can now touch up the edges up to the marked line. Use the sharpest possible chisel for this.
When you are done you should have a piece that looks like this picture.
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Step 3 | making the horizontal parts
Ok, the first part has been made, now you can start on the horizontal parts.
This is actually twice an identical piece that you have to make. Later these can then be pushed into each other at right angles.
Start by marking the lines where you need to make the cuts.
A notch must be made on both sides of the wood that is the same width as the vertical wood, in this case, 6 cm or 2.36 inches.
The depth of the cuts here is also one-third of the width of the wood, so 2 cm or 0.79 inches.
To make the notch, you will also have to work with the handsaw here. Make a cut on the 2 marked side lines to a depth of one-third of the wood.
Remove the excess wood with a hammer and chisel and make the bottom of the slot as flat as possible.
To be able to slide the two horizontal parts together, an extra notch has to be made in the middle of the just made narrowing in the wood.
The width of this notch is the same width as the narrowing or equal to one-third of the total thickness of the wood. The depth of the notch should be halfway down the wood.
Mark as shown in the photo below.
Cut through the marked lines with the handsaw and remove the wood with a hammer and chisel.
After making the notch, your two horizontal workpieces should look like this:
Step 4 | Assembly
Now that all the cutting is done you can assemble this castle joint.
Take the vertical piece and slide 1 horizontal piece into one of the slots. Pay attention to that the notch made in the narrowing points upwards.
Now take the second horizontal part and slide it in at right angles to the first horizontal part. Make sure that the notch now points down. In this way, the two horizontal parts interlock.
You have now made a solid three-way joint, or castle joint, that looks like the photo below. To make the connection even stronger, you can apply wood glue to the joints.
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Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration