A finger joint is a great way to join the sides of a case, box, or cabinet together. It is also a common method of fixing chairs and tables. In woodworking, it is an excellent way to attach wooden sides, when other kinds of joints would not provide enough surfaces for gluing. In appearance, there are many "fingers" laced together to form a finger joint. Each finger gives an additional surface where glue can be applied, making the construction quite strong.
Cutting finger joints on a table-mounted router mandates a particular kind of box-joint jig. The jig lets the woodworker space each notch precisely. A finger joint jig can be purchased at a hardware store or it can be made.
The hardest part of using a finger joint jig is setting it up so that it cuts each of the notches in the precise location. Finger joint jigs for a table-mounted router can only cut notches in sizes that are commonly found in straight bits. Consequently, they are found in sizes such as 1/8 inch (.3 cm), ¼ inch (.6 cm), 3/8 inch (1 cm), and ½ inch (1.3 cm).
Once all the finger joints are cut, it is time to apply glue. Run some wood glue down each finger, making sure it covers the entire surface. There is no need to put glue on both surfaces for a finger joint, as it will simply ooze out and make a mess. After the glue is applied, join the sides of the wood, interlocking each finger joint.
Without the proper tools, making a finger joint can be quite difficult. Although there are many different ways to learn how to make a finger joint, the easiest is through hands-on experience with a person experienced in woodworking. Experts can be found through family or friends or even at a local hardware store. Oftentimes, there are classes through the hardware stores that will teach groups of people in a casual setting. The expert can teach the novice the ins-and-outs in short period of time, where other methods may be a bit more time consuming.
Other learning methods can be found through books or on the Internet. There are step-by-step instructions; however, they can appear quite complex and may intimidate someone new to woodworking. If books or the Internet is the best method for you, it is best to start with a book designed for beginner. In those cases, the instructions are simplified and do not presume any previous knowledge in woodworking.