To give you an idea of scale, as it give context, I am referring to the roof of an open bird feeder.

enter image description here

Currently I make 3 holes that I drill perpendicular to where the two pieces meet. Getting a screw at that angle ends up removing a lot of wood and creating some ugly holes on both sides (Picture only shows one. I'm new at SketchUp).

In this case I suppose that strength is not an issue but I would hope to go for something other that just glue.

Is there another way to try and join these two pieces securely without causing too much damage to the outside of the structure. I don't even know how I would do this from the bottom. Maybe with an odd shape of wood to match the angle of the roof?

  • 1
    Got a milling machine table? Dovetail to the rescue.
    – Damon
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 11:55
  • 4
    Wood glue is stronger than the wood itself and is more than sufficient for a bird feeder. Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 16:57
  • 1
    @Paulster2 I was trying to generalize since all these answers are good for this scenario. I use pallet wood and it cups a lot so its hard to get contact in some cases. But yes glue would work.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 12:38
  • 1
    @Paulster2 Lazy is in my profile. I don't have a budget or tools for these answers but they are great answers.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 12:42
  • 1
    @Matt are you butting long grain or end grain together at the peak of the roof? Long grain glues better than end grain.
    – rob
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 16:32

6 Answers 6


A biscuit joint would allow you to join these pieces without any screws while providing more strength than a joint where only the faces are glued together.

Biscuit joint

Typically you require a special tool, a biscuit joiner to cut the hole but it can be done by hand too.

A similar but simpler method is to just drill holes and use a dowel instead.

  • 1
    Doing the biscuit joints at an angle is a little bit trickier than for a 90 degree edge, make sure you have a biscuit joiner with a good fence. The Harbor Freight model won't do in this case. Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 19:06
  • 3
    I think it might be easier to just drill a couple holes clean through each end and dowel it instead.
    – Daniel B.
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 4:20
  • @DanielBall Add that to your answer or add it to Steves. It a good idea. That might be easier for me.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 4:57
  • @DanielBall done!
    – Steven
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 11:51
  • This was tough since all the answers are wonderful. Currently this one is more aligned to my capabilities and tool availability.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 27, 2015 at 3:13

If you'd like to go the glue-only route, a lock miter might be just the thing. They are available as router bits and make a profile similar to this photo:


I could not say for certain whether the angle is complimentary to your design, most lock miters I find are for 90 degree joints which might be a pretty severe angle for a roof.

@Doresoom mentioned in the comments that 22.5 degree lock miters are also fairly common which would produce a 45/135 degree joint, which would provide more gentle of a slope for a roof.

  • 2
    Google shows that 22.5° lock miter bits seem to be fairly common. So instead of a 90° joint, you'd end up with a 135° joint, which should be more appropriate angle for a roof joint.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 14:32

Using a plow plane, you can quickly and easily make a groove and tongue joint like this:

tongue and groove

If you want more stability, you can make that a dovetail, either starting from the groove and tongue or using hand saw and chisel only (or, well, a milling table!).

The tongue or dovetail should be perpendicular to the miter like so:

Dovetail tongue and groove

Of course a groove with loose tongue or biscuits are possible (and easier to manufacture) too.

  • All of these are wonderful answers. Most of the solutions never occurred to me. How did you make the drawings or are they from internet? Why are LeeValley tools always so expensive but so cool
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 19:41
  • These are modelled in Blender. While Blender is a nuisance to learn at first, it turns out being one of the easiest and straightforward tools once you have stopped swearing (especially for things where you want to enter exact numbers on the keypad). The Veritas plow plane that I've linked to is the one I'm using at home.
    – Damon
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 19:42
  • Matt, I have several Lee Valley hand tools and although they are indeed expensive, they are less expensive than other manufacturers of similar quality. And the quality is very good. The plow plane is easier to use than other, older designs.
    – glw
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 21:16
  • +1 for the suggestion and the comments about Blender. Might just have to learn that...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 12:42
  • +1 for a solution that meets the small shop needs of OP
    – Daniel B.
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 15:53

If you are open to changing the joinery, constructing the roof will let the screws be hidden and hold the parts a little more readily like in the picture below.

bird house

The overhang will help keep weather out of the joint as well.

  • This would also make pocket hole joinery from underneath more feasible.
    – Daniel B.
    Commented Mar 24, 2015 at 18:01

You can use a pocket hole jig and place your screws on the underside of the roof, rather than the top. Glue is typically stronger than the wood itself, so strength shouldn't be an issue, for a project like this I would just use short screws to pull the boards together (like a clamp). I'm not sure I'd recommend this since you wouldn't have a lot of room to play with.

If you prefer securing from above, you could try putting an aluminum strip over the edge and screwing the strip down into either side of the roof after it's been glued, rather than screwing the halves together.

Another option would be to do what you're already doing, but glue some trim over the holes to hide them, with the bonus of looking a little fancier.

Yet another option would be to use dowels or biscuits to reinforce the joint(See Steve's response). I think this is what I would go with.


For more strength, a box joint or finger joint might be good:

Hand cut finger joint (Image from https://woodworkjunkie.com/how-to-make-quality-hand-cut-finger-joints )

Depending on skill and how much work you want to do, you can vary the thickness and number of the fingers to get more glue area and a stronger joint.

  • 2
    This is a really good option for strength at a corner joint but putting aside that this was asked in 2015, the context of the Q is for the roof of a bird feeder. In the short term, yeah this is a lot stronger than some options previously suggested, but is the strength actually needed for a bird feeder roof?? More importantly I feel, finger jointing exposes end grain, which would be an issue for stability/durability in the long term. Also note, the joint angle is less than 90°.
    – Graphus
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 7:03
  • i agree, it might be overkill for a birdhouse, but I think it's a good option for the title. I found my way here looking for an unusually angled fingerjoint and was surprised that it wasn't put forward as one of the options. Finger joints are very strong and adaptable for non-right angles. Folks do use them for outdoor exposed wood where the end grains are already exposed. Here's a link to a shot of a tree-planter-box: wb8nbs.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/dscf03461.jpg
    – Dave X
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 16:38
  • 1
    More to the point, this type of join is relatively easy for power tool joinery at 90 degrees, but for a "roof" pitch it can present more of a challenge.
    – user5572
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 15:18

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