Wikipedia has an interesting page on wood joinery: Joinery

The following link has a great diagram of various joints

Wooden structures depend on good joinery for strength and rigidity. What defines a good wood joint? What are some of the ways that wood is joined? Can you name six joints?Digital-Wood-Joints-big.jpg

The shape of the joint provides a mechanical connection between the pieces of wood; Some joints are stable without the use of additional means of attachment. Sometimes additional strength is needed and the joints are made permanent with fasteners; nails, screws, adhesives, bolts, dowels, biscuits, finish nails (pins) or metal plates (gang nails).

So what makes a joint strong?

In our unit we'll learn about:
Precise cut of the various pieces making up the joint

Different joint types
Correct orientation of the wood grain in the joint

How to draw different joints
Surface area of the mating surfaces

Advantages and disadvantages of each
Ultimate strength of the fasteners used

How to choose an appropriate type of joint
Ability to allow for expansion and contraction with moisture

How to layout and construct 6 types of joints
Have a look at the joinery handout here. Study the various joints and become familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of each joint. On what type of project might you use a dovetail? Where do we often see mitre joints?

When you have had a chance to study the eight joint types and become familiar with each of them, we will design and build a "joint frame". This frame will use 6 types of joints (your choice) but may not duplicate any joint type. The Joint Frame Project is described here.

Before gluing your pieces together, have a friend inspect and make suggestions on how to improve it. Show it to me before final glue up. Download and print this sheet!