We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Bridle Joint?

By Larry Ray Palmer
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The term "bridle joint" is a woodworking term used to describe a joint in which a mortise is cut in one piece of wood and a tenon is cut in the other piece. The cut of both the mortise and tenon extends to the full width of the piece being used as a tenon. The mortise is a slot cut on one piece of lumber, and the tenon is a wooden tongue on the end of another piece of lumber. When cut correctly, the tenon will be received by the mortise and fit snugly without a lot of movement.

There are three variations on this joint: the basic bridle joint, the corner bridle joint and the T-bridle. All of the variations of this joint can be created with a hand saw and chisel using basic workbench construction skills. This has made the joint a popular choice among woodworking enthusiasts and carpenters. With the introduction of power tools — such as the circular saw, dado sets and electric routers — it has become much easier for woodworkers to create uniform joints, and this joint and its variations have seen even greater use.

The basic bridle joint is used to fit two boards together, one with a mortise cut and the other with a tenon cut. The corner bridle uses one tenon-cut board and two mortises that are half the depth of the tenon, joining the three pieces of wood together with a mortise on either side of the tenon to form a set of corners in the shape of the letter T. The T-bridle uses a mortise cut in the center area of the piece rather than the end.

The use of nails or other hardware that could rust and leave stains in the wood are not required in a bridle joint. Using friction alone, this type of joint is extremely durable when the component parts are cut correctly. For added durability, however, many woodworkers will also incorporate wood glue in the assembly process, gluing the three side of the tenon before inserting it into the mortise.

The bridle joint and its variations are used in many applications. The joint adds extra strength and durability to woodworking projects because it locks the lumber together, similar to the way that a jigsaw puzzle's pieces are connected. Some of the most common places where this type of woodworking joint can be found are hand railing uprights, picture frames, home construction and furniture.

Lap joints are similar in design to bridle joints, so the two types are sometimes confused. The major difference between them is easy to see upon closer visual inspection. The lap joint does not have a true mortise but is actually two tenons that are cut to half the thickness of the wood. Although this joint can be used effectively in many circumstances, the lap joint does not have the strength of the bridle joint. As a rule of thumb, the bridle joint can be used in place of a lap joint to provide additional strength to a project, but a lap joint should not be used in place of a bridle joint.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.