What's the Difference Between a Finger Joint and a Box Joint?

Posted by David Pickard on

This is a topic that incites a little bit of controversy. Some woodworking enthusiasts consider these one in the same. Others would insist that they are different with each serving a separate purpose. Someone has taken the liberty of posting on Wikipedia that a finger joint is also known as a box joint. This quick post is a look at it from the angle of woodworkers that have determined finger joints and box joints to be two separate types of joints. I’m hoping some of you readers will chime in on this as well. Box joint and Finger joint

Finger Joints

Many woodworkers believe that finger joints are specifically used to join stock together to make longer sections. The fingers are most commonly tapered, but different unique designs can be used to achieve the same result. A finger joint adds more surface area for gluing and it adds a great deal of strength to the joint since each “finger” interlocks with an opposing finger. The key feature of this type of finger joint is that it is joining two pieces of straight stock. A finger joint is very commonly used to join different kinds of moldings. This type of joint is very often cut using a finger joint router bit  

Box Joint

Box joints serve a much different purpose. A box joint is similar to a dovetail joint. The main difference is that the cuts are not tapered. They are most often square or rectangular. Like a dovetail joint, a box joint forms a 90 degree angle and joins the ends of two perpendicular pieces of wood to form a corner. Box joints are easily cut using a dado blade on a table saw.     As you can see from the images and descriptions, each of these joints certainly resembles fingers. However, the purpose and functionality of each joint is clearly different. What do you think? Still insisting they are one in the same? Comment below.


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