What Is A Spline In Woodworking? Things to know

What is a spline in woodworking? What do woodworkers use it for? Please keep scrolling down, and you will find out the ultimate answer.

Woodworkers often employ splines to strengthen some forms of joint for making boxes and frames. So what is a spline in woodworking?

The spline is a piece of wood with a long-grain contact area for better glue adhesion. It provides a connection point that is both strong and self-aligning.

This article will give you comprehensive guidance about splines in the wood industry. Let’s join us and learn more about these practical tools!

What Is A Spline In Woodworking? Things to know 1

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What Is A Spline In Woodworking?

A spline is a piece of plywood, wood, or other material that runs along the margins of two boards and into matching plows and grooves.

The goal is to align and strengthen the margins. A spline can also work as a tongue and groove and tongue replacement.

There are two main kinds of splines you often meet in woodworking: miter and edge.

Miter splines

The miter joint is perfect for strengthening mitered corners, such as frames for mirrors, pictures, and cabinets.

Small ornamental boxes can employ different colored splines for visual impact and joint reinforcement. Carpenters often use a router table or a table saw to cut the gaps in both forms of the miter joint.

With the table saw, cutting the gaps will create simple jigs. Meanwhile, the router table can work with the slotting bits.

It’s advisable to shape the spline a little bigger than needed, then cut and sand it flat when the glue has hardened. You can also do a dry fit before adding the glue.

When utilizing different wood colors, miter splines look fantastic. You will notice a joint set with a light tone in a darker wood, which will bring attention to the joint.

A joint of ebony or blackened walnut put in a lighter hardwood will provide the same effect.

Miter splines can handle the corners of wood pieces

Miter splines can handle the corners of wood pieces

Edge splines

Carpenters use edge splines to attach multiple narrower boards to create larger boards.

Due to the long grain bonding surfaces, the edge-to-edge connection is already pretty strong. On the other hand, splines provide extra support while also assisting in joint positions.

The spline and groove run the whole length of the panels in the most frequent edge connection. The joint is noticeable when looking at the joint from the sides.

If appearance isn’t an issue, plywood makes a fantastic joint for this use. Carpenters often use solid wood to make the joint for more excellent aesthetics.

Edge splines may affect the appearance of the wood piece

Edge splines may affect the appearance of the wood piece

What Are The Uses Of Splines?

Carpenters use the splines for two primary purposes: frame-making and gap sealing.

Frame and box making

Woodgrain moves diagonally across the joint. As a result, applying this piece of wood to small miter joints gives strength.

This piece of wood also assists in the alignment of the components if the groove has a proper cut in both sections, making construction much easier.

When woodworkers use contrasting wood to construct the spline, the connection can become more aesthetically attractive.

Picture frames and boxes featuring mitered corners are typical projects where splines are an excellent choice.

Splines are important tools to make frames

Splines are important tools to make frames

Sealing gaps

Splines can also seal gaps between panels used to construct the bottom of boxes. This task is less common, but it still helps woodworkers deal with the holes.

These boards are generally thick and well-supported. They do not rely on bonded borders for reinforcement.

The spines come into play without adhesive in these cases to enable the boards to stretch. They compress easily while sealing the gap between the panels to keep sand and dirt out.

To hold the joint in its position, some woodworkers apply a few drops of adhesive to one face of the joint.

Sizes Of The Splines

Many theories exist for calculating the spline size for a specific joint. The most common calculation is to use a spline thickness of 1/3 the board’s depth.

When attaching 3/4-inch-thick components, for example, a 1/4-inch-thick spline is approximately correct.

The spline’s thickness into each of the parts to be linked is usually 2/3 of the thickness of the parts to be connected.

For example, the spline thickness would be roughly 1/2 inch into each component utilizing the same 3/4-inch-thick board.

Woodworkers often cut the spline less than 1 inch wide to securely link the components.

The connection must be close to perfect width and thickness to optimize efficiency (and glue surface if required).

Final Words

We have shared with you some necessary information about the splines in woodworking.

The spline reinforces the joint and keeps the two portions aligned. This adjustment provides a lot of strength to any joint it works with.

You can also cut your own spline to deal with your household accessories. This video shows you how to do it.

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you need any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for being interested in the post!

>>> I’ve found the best free woodworking plans you can download and start building today.

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Lisa J. Thompson

Hello, my name is Lisa Thompson and I’m the Founder of Daily Home Insider, your go-to resource for all things home security and home improvement. In this day and age, security should be your top priority, and that’s exactly why my dedicated team of writers and I offer reliable information pertaining to gun storage, home safes, and so much more. When I’m not running the blog, I enjoy gardening and homesteading. As an avid nature lover, I also love going on camping trips. Currently, I happily reside in the heart of Los Angeles.
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