Squaring & Marking Your Joints

Submitted by kristina on Sat, 11/06/2010 - 13:53

Newbie warning! 

I've had all my boards cut for the kid's play fridge. I've assembled everything I think I'll need from start to finish except for a finish nailer that I'm borrowing from my Uncle tomorrow and I'll be ready to get started.

The only thing is... 

I sort of have an idea about squaring, but can't really visualize how to do it exactly and mark the joints. When I try to do Google searches, I end up with way over my head technical woodworking sites talking about all different kinds of specific types of joints. Information overload!

Can someone point me to a site or two? Even a YouTube video would help. I just need to 'see' what I'm supposed to be doing/marking. 

Thanks in advance!



Sun, 11/07/2010 - 03:09

Okay, I think I've answered my own question. I just kept doing searches on Butt Joints until I felt like I had a handle on how it works. :) I'm sure once I get going, it will be obvious.


Fri, 01/14/2011 - 17:00

So what did you figure out? I've had the same questions and I can't find anything when i google it. Share your wisdom.

Jodie Lynch

Tue, 01/25/2011 - 05:42

I'm looking for the same info. It says there is a tuturial in the "how to" section but I guess I'm not going to the right place. Anyone know of a Utube video that shows squaring up your table?


Tue, 01/25/2011 - 06:45

Unfortunately, I still haven't figured it out and come up with a good system. I built my first project and just sort of tried to figure it out. Someone here posted a link to a product on Amazon called Assembly Squares that cost around $60. It looked very interesting, but I haven't had a chance to investigate further nor the money to try them out. I hope someone with more experience can point us all in the right direction. If I figure it out before then, I'll come back and post what I find out.


Tue, 01/25/2011 - 12:48

I am a beginner as well, and I've completed two projects so far...the PB kids activity table with wheeled storage carts, and the fresh home locker.  The assembly squares were ESSENTIAL to putting that locker together.  I bought two of these sets when they were on sale for $30.


Not exactly cheap, but I don't know how I would have been able to square that thing up without them and the kreg pocket hole clamp.


Tue, 01/25/2011 - 12:51

Didn't see this post before....Try this: As far as holding the work pieces perpendicular to each other while you glue/screw, try something like this:Simpson Strong-Tie A33 Galvanized 12-Gauge Steel 90-Degree Angle A33 , http://www.homedepot.com/Build.....ogId=10053. Clamp one board to one outside face, the other board to the other face, and you now have an easy way to create a 90 degree angle, consistently. Total layout is less than $10, for both. Using a clamping square like this will make it much easier to build square, and that will make everything easier.

Jodie Lynch

Tue, 01/25/2011 - 16:54

Jodie Lynch said:

I'm looking for the same info. It says there is a tuturial in the "how to" section but I guess I'm not going to the right place. Anyone know of a Utube video that shows squaring up your table?


Wed, 01/26/2011 - 05:07

Ana does have a YouTube video on how to check for square.  I think that the posts that refer to it on here are from before she changed domain names and didn’t migrate over…  (If they did I haven’t been able to find them and I’ve looked!!)

Anhyoo look for "Knockoff wood" on You Tube.  She has a quick video on measuring a table to check for square, although it doesn't give any information on what to do if the measurements aren't the same. That’s what I would love to know… I’m kinda scared to build a big project because I’m just sure it will be completely lopsided. 

Tsu Dho Nimh

Thu, 01/27/2011 - 06:03

If the measurements aren't equal, you push or pull on opposite corners until they are equal. I habitually push one of the "long" corners in.

I also clamp all corners before I screw them, with a right-angle clamp. That makes any adjustments very tiny.


Fri, 01/28/2011 - 12:54

Alot of getting things square is making sure your cuts are square to start, and that the lengths are all very very close to each other. 

Before assembly, push all the boards together, and make sure they line up, trim any that are long. 

Find the way you like to mark and cut boards, there are a lot of options.  Some people cut on the line, some cut just to one side or the other.  Just remember to be consistant in the way you measure, mark, and cut.

The harder part is to make sure all of your equiptment is square, here you are mostly looking at mitre saws.  Break out the manual on this one, and find the section on sqauring the blade, or zeroing the blade.  This is done in both the verticle and horizontal directions. 

You can check your saw as is by cutting a piece of wood in half, then flipping one side over, and putting them back together.  Use a level or straight egde to see if there is a bend at your cut. 

The measuring corner to corner method is really good for checking squareness, but there really is no good way to pull something back traight then to just pull, push or kick it back into place, depending on how frustrated you are with it.Yell  I like to get it into place by pushing it slightly off square in the other direction, then screwing it in at 2 opposite corners.  Screws definitly work better then nails in this case, as they have more holding power in that direction. 

Again, make sure your boards are the same lengths to start, or you cannot get it square.   


Wed, 02/02/2011 - 06:52

A tool that really helps is a framer's square.  They're cheap and they're large enough to give you a pretty good read on how square the corner is.

The other trick is that you need some kind of assembly table.  In my house that looks suspiciously like an old door over a pair of saw horses. The key thing is that it's flat and at a convenient height.