Best joint for a bookmatched panel

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Forum topic by ptkaster posted 02-09-2014 10:55 PM 1390 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ptkaster's profile


36 posts in 2145 days

02-09-2014 10:55 PM

A customer on my Etsy just requested an order for a 16 X 16 panel. I have a 2” thick walnut slab that I will bookmatch to create the panel. The customer lives in New Mexico and I live in Kansas, so I want the board to be able to adjust to the dry conditions. So, What is the best way to attach these panels? I have heard butt joint, dovetail, dowel, and lap joint, but any techniques are welcome.

My criteria are:


Adaptability(for the dry conditions)

Easiness of creation

P.S. I have a router, tablesaw, bandsaw, handdrill and many router bits, but not a router table or a jointer. I could bolt my router to a board and I am going to borrow or buy a jointer.



6 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5140 posts in 1748 days

#1 posted 02-10-2014 08:59 PM

I would use a butt joint with biscuits for alignment. If you don’t have a biscuit jointer, but do have an assortment of slot cutting bits, that could be made to work. I would also consider using epoxy given your strength criteria.

View CharlesA's profile


3329 posts in 1825 days

#2 posted 02-10-2014 09:08 PM

I don’t know if the thickness creates any unique conditions, but a good wood glue edge joint is stronger than the wood, so I don’t know what additional you would need. Wood expansion is usually across the grain, so if you do an edge joint along the grain, it should be just fine.

Again, I don’t know if the 2” thickness creates conditions unlike, let’s say, a 1” glue up.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2389 days

#3 posted 02-10-2014 09:25 PM

Embed a row of lignum vitae butterflies across the joint interspersed with giant threaded staples with nuts pulled up tight on the underside.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View madts's profile


1862 posts in 2367 days

#4 posted 02-10-2014 09:36 PM

Glue is good.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2712 days

#5 posted 02-10-2014 10:00 PM

Book matching is an art! At a minimum I think you will want a perfectly straight edge on the edges that will come together to form the “book”. If you want a perfect grain match you don’t want to touch those edges again. With a 2” slab, you should be able to achieve a mimimum of 3/4” thickness and glue should work just fine.

View squaretree's profile


160 posts in 1599 days

#6 posted 02-10-2014 10:10 PM

I like Clints suggestion. Can I cut that joint on my leigh?
But if that doesnt work…..joint your adjoining edges with either a jointer or router jig. A butt joint is fine since its long grain to long grain. I wouldnt rush out and buy a biscuit joiner, you can just do a long spline if you want (though I dont think its necessary). Save your money to buy some good clamps if you dont already have some. I agree with Charles on the moisture issue.

-- if you can't find me, just follow the extension cord

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