Bridle Joint

Bridle Joint Keyframe

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The bridle joint can be cut very accurately using a method Paul has developed with the hand router. This mortise and tenon alternative is useful to know.


  1. Jon Cover on 24 November 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks for the video, very informative as always. Would there be any advantage to pinning or draw-boring this joint?

    • steff on 24 November 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Hi there,
      draw boring from my point of view does not work properly because you have to pull the joint tight into two directions at the same time. Sorry, can’t explain it better then that.
      Pinning has at least a decorative aspect. I think with modern glues there is no necessity to add strength to the joint. I strongly don’t believe that you will pull it apart once glued up.

      Just my thoughts.


      • steff on 24 November 2017 at 4:23 pm

        Oh sorry. In the shown version draw boring can make sense.
        I had the version for an edge joint in mind.

  2. steff on 24 November 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Good information, thanks for that guys.
    Would be interested in how to make a mitered version of it.
    Any chance to see that in a future episode?


  3. millermj on 24 November 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you, I’ve been waiting for this one.

  4. Ed Minch on 24 November 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Do the small gaps at the end of the smaller piece mean that the center of larger piece is still a little too thick and that thickness is spreading the two “ears” of the smaller piece?

    • Alexey Pyzhov on 29 November 2017 at 10:52 am

      But Paul says it’s flush on both sides, which means it’s probably not spreading. After gluing up and final light planing it’ll be as perfect as can be.

    • Peter Bernhardt on 8 December 2017 at 4:33 pm

      If it concerned me, using a digital caliper I would measure the width of the mortise before and after joining it to the tenon. If the joint is significantly wider, this would indicate the mortise is spreading due to some extra material. I would also do the before measurement just below where the mortise starts to ensure the reading isn’t biased by any relaxation of the wood (as Paul points out can happen). My 2 cents.

  5. Daren Wingfield on 24 November 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Hi paul
    As always very informative have not thought of using a bridle joint in many years.Any chance of a video of yourself making the mitered halving joint i think i noticed on your set up piece cheers mate

  6. Matt Heere on 24 November 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Great timing Paul. I have a bunch of these in my next project. I think I’ll leave my guide longer though so that I can clamp the guide and workpiece in the vice below the joint. That wedge looks effective, but fussy.

    • Glyn Davies on 29 November 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Matt, I was thinking the same about the wedge being fussy, good idea to make the guide longer.

  7. rayc21 on 24 November 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Nice joint. i too, thought about the wedge why not a temporary mortice joint.
    The mitre joint looks very interesting too.
    Thanks for this one.

  8. Clive Smith on 24 November 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Very good and informative video.

  9. Jim Baker on 24 November 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I just finished a set of cabinet doors using all bridle joints for skill building. And it worked – I can curse much better now than before the project! Wish this video had come out a few weeks ago. Thanks for the great tips.

  10. Roy Johnson on 24 November 2017 at 8:42 pm

    awesome video, thank you for sharing years of knowledge and expertise it is very much appreciated, i know as a trades person of another trade some people hold onto ideas like gold and will not share only to have them lost and gone forever, i can watch you for many hours absorbing as much as i can lol thank you again 🙂

  11. Paul Ingham on 24 November 2017 at 9:24 pm

    As ever, Paul’ skill is something I aspire to
    Thanks Paul

  12. royjensen on 24 November 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Great video as always. Would love your thoughts on determining which joints to use when designing projects. Thanks

  13. Michael Anderson on 25 November 2017 at 2:00 am

    Bravo! I feel as though I have watched a command performance by a master. Which indeed I have. I so enjoy the calm competence and the encouragement that we can all do as well with a little care and attention. Learning to focus is the first skill to master, and perhaps the hardest.

  14. Darren Page-Thomas on 25 November 2017 at 8:51 am

    Another great video.

    I have to mention though that I could only find this via the link I was sent. Clicking on the Videos section and then the Tools and Techniques section doesn’t show it at all.

  15. Patrick Stephens on 25 November 2017 at 1:56 pm

    As a master craftsmen and a educator, Paul, you are a large inspiration to all of us who strive to improve our projects. Is there any future video concerning how to sharpen a router plane bit?

    • Philip Adams on 27 November 2017 at 9:38 am

      Hello Patrick,
      We plan to cover this at some point in the near future.

    • ballinger on 2 March 2018 at 10:00 pm

      In the meantime there is a blog post on the subject I remember reading a few years ago if that helps.

  16. mjcooperman on 25 November 2017 at 3:06 pm

    At school, I remember one of our first projects was to make a simple frame using a bridle, mortise and tenon, lap and a lapped dovetail joints. The frame was to hold your certificate at the end of the course. A great exercise to learn accuracy and techniques. If only you and YouTube had been around then, I’d have probably scored a higher mark. All the best.

  17. david paschket on 25 November 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I cannot help but notice when creating the saw kerf you alternate between bevel up and bevel down with the chisel. Is there a reason for this? Does it have to do with grain orientation or something else?

    • Paul Sellers on 27 November 2017 at 5:48 pm

      Mostly it is to do with the point of leverage. If the chiseling for removal of waste relies on chopping then as you go deeper it is advantageous to turn the chisel around to gain advantage vie the heel of the bevel which becomes the fulcrum point to lever against.

  18. Luiz Castro on 25 November 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Very practical video as all already presented. I liked the guide.
    Thank you

  19. Rowdy Whaleback on 25 November 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Hello folks,
    I’m hoping that I will soon need to design and build my own furniture. When does a bridle joint become necessary rather than a mortice and tenon say?

  20. jasonz on 26 November 2017 at 3:31 am

    Great video. I love the technique, but when would one use this joint? Wouldn’t a mortice and tenon work just as well, or better, and look cleaner?

    Thank you,

    • Paul Sellers on 27 November 2017 at 5:44 pm

      It would. Sometimes the bridle joint was preferred over cutting mortise holes and fitting tenons into them that’s all. Think pre-machine era too, before mortise machines existed.

  21. Brian Miller on 26 November 2017 at 7:39 am

    Love it. Really like these types of videos you do. I personally like this joint visually for the contrasting grain direction. When done well they can be as interesting as a fine through dovetail in my opinion. I’ll be practicing this method a lot. I’ve only attempted this joint once and it was miserable. THANK YOU for sharing this and all the bonus tips as you were working. It gives me hope.

  22. jimfrey on 27 November 2017 at 11:36 am

    Love the video. Ican’t wait to try the technique! Thanks Paul and Team.


  23. rnieuwenhuijs on 27 November 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Great video. I’ve been trying these joints and have until now been trying to get the saw cuts as close to the line as possible. I had previously tried to use a similar technique using the guide, with little succes. Now I know why: I didn’t use a wedge so the guide wasn’t working as it should. Thank you!

  24. jproniewski on 28 November 2017 at 2:39 am

    Great video! Thank you. Quick question: Is it acceptable to glue a bridle joint? My concern is that gluing won’t allow the wood to expand if needed. My understanding is that cross grain gluing is generally a bad idea. Is this true? Thank you!

    • Philip Adams on 28 November 2017 at 10:27 am

      It is normal is to glue a bridle joint unless you want to be able to dismantle the piece. Paul said that on joints of this size, expansion and contraction is immaterial. So cross grain gluing is only a bad idea on larger pieces.
      Best, Phil

  25. Rick Williams on 30 November 2017 at 3:14 am

    Hello Paul,

    I enjoyed the bridal joint video. How about doing a video on sharpening the router blade or have you already done one I can watch?

    Thanks so much for the inspiration and great tips.


  26. vazoli on 19 December 2017 at 9:19 am

    Thanks for the good educational film. That’s how I do it next time. 🙂

    and happy Christmas for the family!

  27. Peter Mclaughlin on 30 December 2017 at 4:51 am

    Thanks for a great lesson, i have a veritas large router and would like to get another one, what kind of router are you using and do you know if it takes veritas bits.

    • Philip Adams on 3 January 2018 at 10:59 am

      Hello Peter, Paul uses a Stanley 71 (or Record 071), which can take the Veritas cutter. He also uses a Preston router plane which will not take the same cutter.
      Best, Phil

  28. Brian Halbert on 4 April 2021 at 1:28 am

    In reply to stef: could you drill your off-center hole ‘diagonally’ inward from the joint to pull the bridle joint two directions (if located at a corner, not this specific joint).

  29. Jacob Berg on 28 May 2021 at 4:35 pm

    Unbelievably cool. Thank you!

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