When speaking in my woodshop, I can't quite tell whether people are saying joint or join when referring to the place where two pieces of wood are glued (or nailed) together. I know the practice is known as joinery but in my use of the English language, joint seems more appropriate. Of course, it doesn't help that a jointer is a tool for a completely different thing.

  • Also the person is doing the work is called a joiner. Just to add to the fun, there is the old spelling as well: joyner who makes joynts.
    – ewm
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 13:44
  • You shouldn't have a joint until you're done joining the pieces.
    – bpedit
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 3:30

3 Answers 3


The Joiner* uses a jointer to joint ** smooth surfaces on pieces of wood, which he then joins together to make a joint. The practice of doing so is called joinery.

Gotta love English!

hat tips to *ewm and **datUser for the additional confusion!


Good question - given that wood working and the language we use to describe it are hundreds of years old, I will assume both words have been used interchangeably here and there.

In my experience, I have heard it as a joint (being the noun describing two or more pieces of wood stuck together). I felt that I should consult a higher authority, so I went to Joseph Moxon's Mechanick Exercises or Doctrine of handy-works (1703), one of the earliest books on woodworking in English. Thanks to google, I could search the text.

Moxon is consistent: join is a verb ("these two Pieces are with Glew commonly join'ed together", p.64) and joint is a noun ("...smear the Glew well upon the Joint of each piece you are to Glew together", p.105). I hope that helps.

  • 1
    You provided the answer that makes perfect sense in the noun and verb descriptions. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 13:22
  • Good answer, the part of speech I think is it exactly. I made an edit suggestion to make it a bit more readable with paragraphs. We also don't typically use salutations in StackExchange sites.
    – Joe
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 17:45

You asked about the word for the place where too pieces of wood meet. This is definitely a joint and probably should not be called a join.

However to further add to the fun here, when referencing the machine known as a Jointer, I have always heard the action of using this particular tool described by the verb joint.

For Example:

"Be sure you check the fence on the jointer table before you joint those boards. I was jointing something at a 2 degree angle earlier today, so it may not be square."

Not sure if this is colloquial or correct english, but I have heard this verb used constantly in several shops I have worked in over the years when referring to the act of using the jointer. I have not ever heard the more general act of creating a joint called jointing to be clear, just the act of using the machine. This would merely be referred to as joining or cutting joinery.

It is worth nothing many people call the machine jointer a joiner which is incorrect and very hard to distinguish from the correct name. :)

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.