How I'd Do It: Half Lap Joint

I enjoy those summer mornings my wife and I sneak out of the house and leave our girls to find their own breakfast (have no worries, two out of three are old enough to stay home alone and even the youngest has been pouring her own cereal for years). Naomi gets her coffee, I get a Diet Pepsi and we hit the area garage sales.

I don't enjoy these mornings because of I get to see mounds of toddler clothes, or various brick-a-brack and keepsakes, or even for the occasional circa 1970's jig saw.  Two things make me drag my carcass out of bed on these mornings, the first is the time I get having my wife's attention all to myself, (I'm a selfish guy what can I say), the second is that I get to look around another dude's garage. If they're woodworker's I get to see their shop layout and some of their stationary tools and that is like a little bit of crack to an addict.
I am not interested because I'm casing the joint for nefarious reasons, in fact I'm not completely sure why I like this so much. I think I feel a little validation when I see, in person, evidence that someone else finds the same tree sacrificing endeavors enjoyable. I also find ideas in those visits. I get to see floor plans that work and some that don't. I get to see storage solutions and individual answers to the same conundrums we all face in our shops.

With the idea that not everyone has the same answer when it comes to shop solutions, its also true not everyone has the same approach when it comes to executing joinery. More than a peek inside someone's shop, I love a peek inside someone's joinery decisions and process, and I know I'm not the only one. Joe Ledington from the Sleepydog's Woodshop Blog started a bit of a movement, connecting woodworker's through Google+ and inspiring several of us with woodworking bloggers to join in what's been dubbed "How I Do It Friday"

On the last Friday of the month, we will all do a post covering how we chose to create one type of woodworking joint. This month, the inaugural month, we're going to be starting simple and working on half lap joints.

I think I will be using this format as an excuse to play with a medium I have only dabbled in so far . . . video. I'm hoping to get better and appear more relaxed than I have in previous attempts. I have worked in a classroom as a teacher and I regularly make presentations in front of crowds (sometimes a couple hundred people) with my living history hobby, but video is different for me. Maybe it's the fact that the moment is preserved and I can come back and critique my perfectionist self again and again.

Unfortunately. after shooting and editing up the video, I came to the realization that through the whole thing, I consistently call the joint's shoulder and the cheek by each other's names. What can I say, dyslexics of the world untie! So, please bear with me. An now, without further delay, here is How I Do Half Lap Joints.

Take some time and check out the other contributors to How I Do It Friday
Joe Ledington at Sleepydog's Wood Shop
Andrew Detloff at Ravinheart Renditions
Matt Vanderlist at Matt's Basement Workshop
Allison Slay-White at Scroll Dust Woman
Al Navas at Sandal Woods
Steven Taylor at The Taylor Garage
Tom Iovino at Tom's Workbench
Jeremiah Rodriquez at Sawdust Is Life
Kenny Comeaux at The Wood Ninja
Dyami Plotke at The Penultimate Woodshop
M. Scott Morton at M. Scott Morton Woodworks
Chris Wong at Flair Woodworks
Todd Clippinger at The American Craftsman Workshop

If you blog and are interested in adding to the crowd and offering your own joinery two cents I suggest you drop Joe Ledington a line over at Sleepydog, He's been voted our How I Do It Friday Team Captain. Or you can look any of us up on Google +

Ratione et Passionis


  1. I'd like to be a part of this as well. I sent a note to Sleepy Dog. What will the next joint be?

  2. Hey Dale. Good to hear from you man. The next joint is gonna be mortise and tenons and it would be really cool to have you as part of the crew.

  3. Great job on the video I still haven't gotten the nerve yet to do one yet, but you have inspired me so maybe next month will be my first.

  4. That's very cool to hear Joey, I can't wait to see what you come up with.

  5. I love the workbench in the top pic. Do you have any plans or more photos on how to build one like it?

    1. Hey Trevor. Building that workbench was the first thing I documented on the blog. Look on the side and click on Nicholson Workbench and you'll see everything about it.

      It's a riff on the Nicholson Workbench featured in Chris Schwarz's first book on workbenches (the blue book) I built a thicker, laminated top for mine. It's held up well over the years.


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