Uncovering the Past: Hidden Butt Joint Society

Recently, I attended a meeting of woodworking enthusiasts who have made it their mission to advance a form of traditional joinery to its properly respected former glory. These fellows – and they were mostly guys – are not waxing eloquent regarding the benefits of the hidden fox joint or the secret miter dovetail; no, their focus is much more basic.

“The Hidden Butt Joint Society would like to welcome Woodworker’s Journal editor Rob Johnstone to our bi-monthly meeting” were the words that began a fascinating evening of speeches, PowerPoint presentations and heartfelt testimonials to the ubiquitous hidden butt joint.

“If you just take a moment to think about it rationally, butt joints have been present and essential at nearly every important event since folks began woodworking. You might say they’re ubiquitous,” explained Bob Zerunkle, author of Big Basic Butts, A Laminated Look at History, published by Gluteus Press, LLC. “I mean really, butt joints have been ignored and overlooked, but if there had not been a laminated tabletop at Versailles to lay the treaties on – we’d still be fighting World War I. This is serious business!”

Bob and his fellow “Butt Heads,” as they are fond of calling each other, are baffled by the propensity of so many to hide their ubiquitous butt joints. Their central point is perhaps best made by Bud “Biff” Biffieson: “I mean we’ve all got ’em and use ’em so what is the big deal?”

Truer words, regarding this ubiquitous joint, have not been spoken.

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

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