How can you make a butt joint that does not come loose?

This wood joinery method is probably the weakest of them all.
However, you can enhance its strength significantly with several strengthening methods.
The butt joint consists basically out of two pieces of wood that are joined together at their short ends.

Timber connections with a butt joint.
Several applications of a butt joint in woodworking.

Woodglue and strengtheners hold the butt joint together.

Glue is essential for this joinery method.
Remember that the butted ends absorb a lot more glue than the smooth sides of your timber.
For that reason we advise to apply woodglue twice to the butted parts.

  1. Firstly apply glue generously to the butted ends.
  2. Rub it in with a brush, a spatula or with your fingers.
  3. Wait a few minutes and see that most glue has disappeared.
  4. Add a bit more woodglue to make sure that your timber will stick together.
Enhance the strength of butted joints with dowels, nails or screws.

Alternatively you could use hidden screws for these joints, so called pocket screws.

It must be stressed that you should use some sort of strengthening method for the butt joint.
Glue alone is almost never enough to provide a strong and lasting wood joint.
The wooden dowels serve to give stiffness at the joint.
This way there will never be a great stress on the glue.
Most of the stress will be carried by the dowels.
Butt joint strengthened with dowels.
The strength of a butt joint is greatly enhanced with dowels or screws.

How to make your butt joint stronger.

How to make a butt joint stronger.
Make a stronger joinery for butt joints.

About this joinery method on Wikipedia.

  • Use reinforcement from iron, corner pieces are readily available in any hardware store.
  • T plates are great if you make frames that will stay out of sight.
  • The plywood gusset is also a good strengthener for butt joints.
    This joinery strengthener is epecially usefull if you make boxes and drawers.
  • A wood block is often used to make table frames stronger.
    It is a super easy method to make yout corners with butted joints strong enough to support table legs.


More joinery methods for homemade furniture.