scarf or finger joints and running on my wood duck project.

 I have the option of using scarf joints cut with hand plane, or finger joints cut with router and template.

Any reason to use one or the other due to strength, ease of cutting, gluing, or other reasons?

I've read by many that scarf joints with a hand plane are easy..and I've tried my hand at it on scrap wood...not so easy or clean.

I'm not sure I like the look of the finger joint, and the boat will be finished bright so your sure to see it.

Thoughts and suggestions?

6 replies:

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RE: scarf or finger joints

Scarf joints are much stronger than finger joints but also much stronger than needed for kayak building. It will be very difficult to cut an accurate finger joint. I suggest you skip them both and do butt joints, glued together with thickened epoxy and reinforced on both sides with 4" wide strips of bias-cut fiberglass. Butt joints are neat, easy, and plenty strong enough for our purposes. -Wes

RE: scarf or finger joints

Scarf joints.

They really are easy if you set the work up with care and use a very sharp block plane. 

I invested in a Lie Neilsen block plane and didn't regret a any partof the expense.

Do it well and you will end up with an almost invisible joint with very similar bending characterstics to unjointed plywood.

Hope this helps



RE: scarf or finger joints

 What PaulP said.

Scarf joints.  

I think that the finger joints on a kit look great.  TFA is right, I think it would be very difficult to cut accurate finger joints.  It is beyond my skillset to create them on my own.

I used a plane to cut the scarf joints on my first CH16, and they look great.  You can definately see that there is a joint, but I do not consider it unsightly at all.  I did some practice scarfing first.

How you connect your panels is only the first of many challenges.  Get out some more scrap wood and practice scarfing.  I seem to remember that doing more pieces at a time made for a much better joint (I think I did 8).  Your results will likely be less satisfactory if you are practicing on only two pieces.  A sharp plane makes a difference.


Paul in Phoenix

RE: scarf or finger joints

No need to cut your own. If you're ordering wood from CLC anyway, they'll cut them for you (for a price, of course). Follow this link.

Here's how they look for real on my schooner under construction (through a layer of 4 oz glass).




RE: scarf or finger joints

I hear you. I fretted over cutting scarfs or routing finger joints for weeks. Finally chose scarfing, then just did it. Not that hard and turned out OK even to my over critical eye. I didn't use a plane, please forgive my transgression. Check it out. 


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