Step 1

Secure the timber in the vice and use a square to check that the lines to be sawn are vertical.

Checking that the lines are vertical

Step 2

To cut the pins, make a saw cut to the shoulder line or very slightly above it. The saw cut should be touch the vertical lines but should always be on the waste side.

Cutting to the shoulder line on the waste side

Step 3

Saw out the waste above the shoulder line with a piercing saw to leave approximately 0.5mm to remove with a sharp chisel.

Sawing out the waste sections

Step 4

Place the workpiece on some some scrap material with a large chiseling block clamped firmly onto the shoulder line. The board should be clamped with the face side uppermost.


The chiselling block should be dead square.

Chiseling block clamped to the workpiece

Step 5

Use a very sharp chisel and mallet to remove the waste so leaving a dead flat shoulder line.

Cleaning up the shoulder line

Top Tip!

The back of the chisel should be held firmly against the chiselling block.

Pin board shoulder line chiseled

Step 6

Before trying the joint, remove the arris on the inside edge of each tail. This makes it easier to fit the tails into the pin board.

Step 7

Tap the joint together using a soft faced mallet or hammer and a block of wood.

Top Tip!

The joint should fit directly from the saw cut, but If there’s any ‘adjustment’ required, always remove material from the pins; never the tails.

Step 8

Glue the joint and when it’s set, carefully clean up with a finely set No.4 plane. The finished joint is shown with a coat of clear polish. If the shoulder line has been chiselled correctly and is square, there should be no gaps on the inside.

Top Tip!

Plane off the shoulder line if it's to be a ‘show’ joint. Where this is not so important, the line can be left.