I am working on a large piece of furniture that cannot fit into my home fully assembled. I must carry the smaller pieces through the door and assemble the item in its final resting place.

What type of joint is most appropriate for portions of furniture that are likely to be screwed and unscrewed in order to move it around?


I would like to build something like this project: http://ana-white.com/2014/10/free_plans/2x2-indoor-playhouse-frame

But I want to build it so that I can assemble and dissemble it pretty easy to move it around.

  • 2
    Can you provide more detail about the furniture and where the joints need to be? Will it be supporting anything heavy?
    – Doresoom
    May 13, 2015 at 21:43
  • 2
    Agreed, the best answers are going to depend on what stresses are being put on the joint, which in turn is going to depend on what the furniture is and which joint you're talking about.
    – keshlam
    May 13, 2015 at 21:57
  • 1
    A picture of something similar would be useful too.
    – Daniel B.
    May 13, 2015 at 23:23
  • I've updated my question with a link to one of the projects I had in mind. I was going to modify the playhouse so it would be a little toddler bed. I don't think it will need to support anything heavy unless my kiddo decides to climb it. (Which, I probably should brace for.) May 14, 2015 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


What type of joint is most appropriate for portions of furniture that are likely to be screwed and unscrewed in order to move it around?

There's an entire category of knock down hardware that's meant to let you easily assemble and disassemble furniture. You've probably used some of it when assembling pieces from stores like IKEA.

There are also some woodworking joints that are meant to make furniture easy to disassemble. The tusk tenon joint is often used to secure the trestle on a trestle table, and also the rails on a workbench. It uses a through tenon secured with a wedge. Another one is the sliding dovetail joint, which can be used to hold shelves or to fit cases together but still allow them to be removed later.

You don't necessarily need fancy hardware or joinery. In many cases, plain old hardware store nuts, bolts, and washers can be used. You can hide them in recesses, and you can add metal threads to wood pieces with tee nuts or threaded inserts.

  • 1
    thank you! I was trying to figure out the right terms. This definitely points me in the right direction. May 14, 2015 at 14:22

What type of joint is most appropriate for portions of furniture that are likely to be screwed and unscrewed in order to move it around?

There are actually numerous options for this. The best choice(s) depend on the size and weight of the furniture, aesthetic concerns and the thickness and strength of the stock used.

At the most basic you can screw the furniture together, and when building in hardwood in particular screws can be driven home, backed out and screwed back in successfully a number of times. Larger, more coarsely-threaded screws (e.g. coach screws) tend to work better for this as long as their diameters are not too great for the thickness of the material used.

In addition to directly screwing into wood, various other threaded metal fasteners are available, the simplest being bolts locked in place with hexagonal or square nuts — usually the projecting end of the bolt and the nut are hidden on the underside or interior surfaces of pieces (as often done in modern bed construction).

Here is a montage of images showing knock-down fasteners of various kinds:

Knock-down fittings selection

Source: Good Wood Joints by Albert Jackson & David Day.

There are also a few traditional joinery techniques that don't rely on glue but on interlocking joint surfaces or on a wooden locking mechanism.

The simplest form of locking joint in Western joinery is probably a wedged projecting tenon, also referred to as a tusk tenon. Two examples below:

Wedged tenon

A single wedge (clearly visible in the top example above) or two opposing-angle wedges can be used to lock this joint in place. Note: where a single wedge is used the shoulder of the socket in the tenon must be angled to match, where two wedges are use the socket is square to the edges.

Self-locking joints are known in Western joinery but are most famous today from Japanese carpentry. Regardless of origin they can be extraordinarily difficult to shape; even the simplest type presents a great challenge in accurate sawing and chiselling and should probably only be attempted by the experienced woodworker.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.