Design and Technology (D&T) KS3: Marking and cutting a halving joint

This short film explains the process of creating a halving joint, which is used to fix together two pieces of wood.

The marking-out and cutting techniques demonstrated are skills that can be adapted to more complex joints, and can be applied across a whole variety of applications, from furniture and frames to boxes and parts for other mechanisms.

Teacher Notes

Points for discussion

  • Using examples or pictures of other wood joints, for example tee halving, bridle, mortise and tenon, or dovetail, discuss how similar skills could be used to create these joints.

Encourage students to identify the following key skills:

  • Cutting at 90 degrees to an edge.
  • Cutting inside the waste line.
  • Discuss the function of each tool used and why it is important to use them in the correct order; for example tenon saw before chisel. Why?
  • Discuss the importance of accurate marking-out.
  • What tools or machinery would make this job less labour-intensive? For example, a bandsaw.
  • Could you stick pieces of wood together to achieve the same structural effect?

Suggested activities

These skills could relate to a large number of projects, for example:

  • A mini medieval catapult where the basic joints can be used in the frame which can then be reinforced with diagonal elements or plates.
  • A box-making project where you adapt the techniques to make lap joints.
  • Small or full-scale furniture projects.
  • A frame for a small piece of machinery like a mechanical, cam-based toy.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching design and technology (D&T) at KS3/KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 3rd and 4th level in Scotland.

More from this series

Finishing metal
Laminating wood
Vacuum forming