A joint is a method for affixing two pieces of a project together. It sounds simple enough, until one looks at the specific types of joints like the flat polygon miter joint or the bare haunched mortise and tenon joint. In total, there are roughly 46 types of joints commonly used in cabinet construction, and there is always the possibility that more can be invented or discovered. The reason for such a broad range of joints is because each accomplishes the task of joining two parts of a project in a slightly different way to increase durability and the overall aesthetic. This is where the expertise of a professional cabinet builder sets their work apart from that of others through their style and craftsmanship.
When constructing cabinets, most assume that only two types of joints are needed: edge butt joints and flat butt joints. While it is true that these are two basic ways to attach the sides of a cabinet box or the pieces of a face frame to the project, they are not necessarily the strongest or most visually appealing methods. A cabinetmaker will select the type of joint to use at any given place in the project based on the needs of that particular joint. For example, drawers often have sides that are joined by a lap dovetail joint because it is the one that is going to provide the most secure hold against the side tension of constant pushing and pulling while simultaneously supporting the weight of the drawer’s contents.