Carpenters used tools like these for joinery. (123RF)

Carpenters used tools like these for joinery. (123RF)

A basic butt joint (123RF)

A basic butt joint (123RF)

Mortise and tenon joint (123RF)

Mortise and tenon joint (123RF)

A dovetail joint (123RF)

A dovetail joint (123RF)

A tongue-and-groove joint (123RF)

A tongue-and-groove joint (123RF)

Working with Wood

Posted: November 1, 2022

People have worked with wood since the beginning of recorded history. Archaeologists have found bits of carpentry from thousands of years before Christ. In the Bible, carpentry shows up as early as Noah building the ark.

Today’s technology makes carpentry convenient. With sawmills, power tools, and mass-produced nails, carpenters work fast.

Long ago, carpenters couldn’t just buy lumber from Home Depot. They used axes to turn huge logs into smooth, straight beams. What an arm workout!

Nails weren’t easy to find either. Carpenters used creative joinery. Joinery simply means fitting two or more pieces of wood together.

Common joinery involves nails or screws. The simplest joint is a “basic butt.”(Hey—don’t laugh! That’s just what it’s called.) In a basic butt, you put one piece of wood against another and nail, screw, or glue them.

But with a little math and a lot of skill, a builder can raise an entire house without a single nail.

How? Methods vary. Some carpenters use wooden pegs. Others use mortises and tenons. Dovetail joints work like jigsaw pieces. Wood planks on walls today sometimes still fit together with tongue-and-groove joints.

Wait, whats and what nows?

Take a look:

• A “mortise” is a hole cut into wood, often by a chisel. A “tenon” fits into that hole so the two pieces of wood can connect. It’s a little like LEGO. The mortis and tenon lock to create a solid, strong joint—even without nails or pegs.

• A dovetail joint looks a bit like a feather fitted into a feather-shaped opening. The unusual shape keeps it from slipping out.

• The tongue in tongue-and-groove is just a flat piece sticking out from the edge of a board. It fits into a slot running the length of the piece it joins with.

God gives people vast creativity. Long before the sawmill, carpenters looked at trees and said, “I could make a house from that!”

What can you do with the gifts God gave you?