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patlaw

Mike
Corporate Member
Can someone please suggest a way that I can ensure that my butt joints using 2 x 4s are properly aligned when fastened? The second picture is an exaggeration of the problem. I've tried clamping both pieces to the table, clamping the pieces to each other, blocking the short member from the inside, and probably a dozen other techniques. However, on some of the joints, the member being attached (the shorter or inside one in this drawing) will move ever so slightly and leave a less-than-desirable joint.

As far as I know, the problem is caused by the screw following the wood's grain as the screw is driven into the shorter piece. I pre-drill and countersink the wood screws, so I don't know what else to do to address the issue. If I drill any more, the screw will not hold. When I use my air nailer (which only goes up to 2"), the problem is not as bad as the nail appears to penetrate the wood without giving it as much time to move as inserting the screw does. Or something like that. Suggestions?

Butt Joint Question.jpg
 

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
Mike,

Without seeing exactly how the problem happens, I have had outstanding luck using Kreg products to do these butt joints.

In my case, both the jig with screws and then their clamps for alignment and work holding. I found the Kreg products to be well worth the money.

BTW, I also like their screws.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Can someone please suggest a way that I can ensure that my butt joints using 2 x 4s are properly aligned when fastened? The second picture is an exaggeration of the problem. I've tried clamping both pieces to the table, clamping the pieces to each other, blocking the short member from the inside, and probably a dozen other techniques. However, on some of the joints, the member being attached (the shorter or inside one in this drawing) will move ever so slightly and leave a less-than-desirable joint.

As far as I know, the problem is caused by the screw following the wood's grain as the screw is driven into the shorter piece. I pre-drill and countersink the wood screws, so I don't know what else to do to address the issue. If I drill any more, the screw will not hold. When I use my air nailer (which only goes up to 2"), the problem is not as bad as the nail appears to penetrate the wood without giving it as much time to move as inserting the screw does. Or something like that. Suggestions?

View attachment 190481
Mike, looking at sketches, I would clamp a piece of stock to shorter piece that spans it and other piece, then clamp that piece to other sides on both ends. Fasten as desired, then remove clamps and repeat on other end
 

patlaw

Mike
Corporate Member
Mike, looking at sketches, I would clamp a piece of stock to shorter piece that spans it and other piece, then clamp that piece to other sides on both ends. Fasten as desired, then remove clamps and repeat on other end
Bruce, I don't follow you. Do you mean as in the picture below (the blue pieces)?
Butt Joint Question-1.jpg
 

Berta

Berta
Corporate Member
Mike,

Without seeing exactly how the problem happens, I have had outstanding luck using Kreg products to do these butt joints.

In my case, both the jig with screws and then their clamps for alignment and work holding. I found the Kreg products to be well worth the money.

BTW, I also like their screws.
I agree, the pocket hole jig is well worth it. Great for 2 x 4 and outdoor projects as well.
 

Berta

Berta
Corporate Member
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mquan01

Mike
Corporate Member
View attachment 190482
20191129_122425[1].jpg

In this picture, get a piece longer than the right side, long enough that it covers all 3 pieces . clamp it up and then screw it together. I have also accomplished this by using my table saw fence as the long piece to cover all the sides
 
Last edited:

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Can someone please suggest a way that I can ensure that my butt joints using 2 x 4s are properly aligned when fastened?. When I use my air nailer (which only goes up to 2"), the problem is not as bad as the nail appears to penetrate the wood. Suggestions?
Seems to me you answered your question. Air nail, then drill and screw.
 
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junquecol

Bruce
User
2x4 is actually 1 5/8, the 3/8 will hold while you drill pilot holes and install the screws.
Mike, you haven't bought any 2 X 4's since early in the 70's. They are 1 1/2" thick x 3 1/2" wide. Lowes got sued by a couple clowns, saying they didn't get what they paid for a couple years back. Now their tag that says 2 X 4 also states actual size
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Mike, you haven't bought any 2 X 4's since early in the 70's. They are 1 1/2" thick x 3 1/2" wide. Lowes got sued by a couple clowns, saying they didn't get what they paid for a couple years back. Now their tag that says 2 X 4 also states actual size
Senior moment...
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
Could you d a 1/2" x 1-1/2" rabbet on the backside of the overlapping piece? That would give your 2" nails more bite. Also, try letting the glue set before using nails or screws.
 

patlaw

Mike
Corporate Member
Could you d a 1/2" x 1-1/2" rabbet on the backside of the overlapping piece? That would give your 2" nails more bite. Also, try letting the glue set before using nails or screws.
Actually, a rabbet would probably solve the alignment problem. Having said that, how would you cut the rabbet? The easiest way to cut one that large might be on a table saw, but it seems a tenoning jig would be the safest way to do the end cut.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
Since you would only be cutting one side of the piece, a tenoning jig wold be overkill IMO. You could put a dado set on your saw or do it with multiple passes on a table type router. A single blade on the TS would suffice if you don't mind a little cleanup with a chisel or plane. Careful and judicious use of a circular saw could also achieve satisfactory results.
 

Oka

Oka
Corporate Member
If your air nailer can over drive the brad, then I would shoot it with a nail a little more air to get 3/4 penetration from the brad, that would be enough to hold it.
Then when drilling, make sure your bit is clean before entering the 2nd piece of wood, and not loaded up. That is how I used to do front/corner facings on cabinets when installing in the field. You do not get a second chance with those. So, if you mess up, you are left with a hell of alot of extra work to make things come out right. Finesse is the name of the game when doing it that way. It can be done you just have to be really vigilant.
 

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