Variations of finger joints
Posted by
evansd2
Georgia 
Joined Sep 18, '17 

Finger joints are practical and boring. Rather than fighting against them as a constraint, I tried to imagine them as design elements. I only had one general rule: Anything added should actually be part of the joint. This is about finger joints, not inlay projects. This is what I came up with.

The techniques came in a few varieties:

  • Obscured: I tried to implement them in a way that would minimize or distract from the inherent blockiness.
  • Highlighted: Run toward the light. Incorporate elements that would call attention to the fingers.
  • Altered: Change the shape or thickness of the finger joint to give it a bit more interest.

Each of the following is an example of one or more of these techniques. All are done in 1/8" solid hardwoods. It should be noted that these are proofs of concepts. Some of them are kerf adjusted and better fit, others are rough. I was moving quickly and wanted to get a variety of ideas done in a short time.

skinnyfat
Walnut, thin fingers on one side, thick on the other.


Padauk and yellowheart. Stack the joints with cutouts of contrasting colors.

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Walnut. Extend the fingers in a radius. Adds a nice dimensionality.

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Padauk/yellowheart. Half depth finger, finished with “studs” of yellowheart.

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Padauk. Each finger is 15% thicker than the one above it.

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Padauk club cutouts. Two views. Could be great in a playing card box and have the added benefit of letting you see if the deck is in place without opening the box.

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Walnut with blue cardstock behind. Make for a little “peek” of color.

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Walnut. Tiny holes in each finger. I didn’t sand these flush, I wanted greater contrast.

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Walnut. Scalloped finger ends, adds texture to the joint.

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Walnut, Padauk, Yellowheart. “Woven” inlay fingers. The woven portions are the actual fingers in the joint. Labor-intensive and fiddly, would adjust this before trying again.

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Mahogany, Yellowheart. Hollowed-out finger slots filled with yellowheart.

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Mahogany, Yellowheart. Extra gaps in the fingers filled with yellowheart studs.

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Walnut checkerboard. Extra “fingers” hide the end fingers.

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Mahogany, maple. This is acutally a butt joint, but could be adapted to be a finger joint easily by extending/reducing the middle “fingers” between the maple layers.

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Mahogany, yellowheart. Yellowheart borders around the fingers.

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Walnut pickets. Extending the fingers to points beyond the joint. Picture doesn’t do this justice, it creates an interesting optical illusion.

I haven’t even gotten into the possibilities of engraving the pieces, but that’s a whole other rabbit hole. Hopefully this gives people ideas and we start to see some more unusual joints.

(previously: Experimenting with thin finger joints)


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