The term lap joint refers to the process of overlapping two pieces of a project to join them together. In cabinetry woodworking, there are four main versions of the lap joint commonly used. Each has a specific strength, and the cabinetmaker will select the appropriate joint based on the project’s needs.
The four most frequently used lap joint styles are the half lap, mitred half lap, cross lap, and dovetail lap. Each type has a distinct cut characteristic, making it easily identifiable. Lap joints can be divided into two categories: full and half. Full laps do not remove any material from either piece being joined, so the end result incorporates the full combined thickness of the original pieces. However, half laps are more commonly used as they provide an equally secure bond while allowing for smooth transitions and even thicknesses throughout the project.