If you’re looking for beginner-friendly joinery, there’s no better starting place than half lap joints.
Half laps come in all shapes and sizes: Corner laps, cross laps, T laps, dovetail laps…
And while they’re not too difficult to cut, they do teach you some of the basics of woodworking joinery.
More importantly, half lap joints are super useful. You can use them on tables, planter stands, and even full scale construction.
Today, I’m giving you the basics of half lap joints — including the different styles, how to cut them, and a few tips for success.
I’ve also included an amazing table saw trick for perfect fitting half laps with minimal layout (click here to skip ahead).
This joint is a great stepping stone to more difficult joinery, and a great way to level up your woodworking skills.
February 27, 2023
In addition to the kerf spacer, my favorite trick to ensure a perfect, easy, and quick setup blade height for a half lap is to simply use the board itself as a reference: on a test piece the same thickness as your boards, you set up the blade just shy of half the thickness, make a cut at the end of the board, flip it over and repeat. That should leave you with a thin sliver at the end of the board. Raise the blade a little bit, and repeat the cut on both side of the board, repeating this process until the sliver disappears. At this point, your blade is set at exactly half the thickness of the board without having to measure anything!