Advice in making a box

D

diyfiesta

Hi Folks,

I've made a few wooden boxes with butt type joints like this with screw fixings. After filling the holes and painting they look fine, but I'm really after a nice way to build a box that I can stain and have the joints showing.

I fancied doing something where the edges are mitered but am concerned its not a strong joint for a long running edge of a box. I'm also unsure how I'd fix it, as whenever I've tried to clamp a mitre (albeit frames) they slide around all over the place. I though perhaps pin it or even use dowels, you think that could work?

So basically I want to make a nice looking box without a great deal of tools (so a nice comb type joint feels out of the question) and though using my new table saw's miter cutting might be a good choice - but I'm concerned about fixing and gluing.

Any tips would be appreciated.

Toby[/url]
 
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A keyed mitre joint would be strong enough for a jewelry size box, basically the boards are mitred and glued then once dry grooves are cut across the mitre and strips of wood glued in, a bit like this one I made a while ago

Jason
 
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That's a really nice box, Jason. Perhaps a trifle too high a standard for a relative beginner(?) to aim for?

The OP's problem is to get his mitred box to go together without the pieces sliding all over the place. For that, some kind of clamp or jig may be the best option.

There are some interesting devices here, which don't cost too much (never used any, so can't comment on how good they are). I've made mitred boxes with home-made corner blocks: L-section pieces of softwood, with notches on the outside edges, then cramped up with a Spanish windlass (twisted string).

Once the box is successfully glued up, the slots for the keys can be cut with a router, or on the table saw using a home-made jig to hold the workpiece at the right angle while it passes over the blade.

Mitre joints are simple and attractive, but do not forgive inaccurate working, because every cutting angle error is doubled. But have fun.
 
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That box was actually held together using nothing more than masking tape while the glue set.

Lay the four sided inside down against a straight edge and put a couple of strips of tape across each joint making sure to tension the tape as you stick it down.

Next carefully turn the four boards over so you can apply glue to the mitres, then stand on edge and bring the flat strip into a box shape adding tape to the two ends so all 4 corners are taped, check the diagonals are equal and leace to dry.

The keys can then be cut with either of the methods you suggest.

Jason
 
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D

diyfiesta

Thanks for the replies folks, I have a couple of questions though...

1. when you talk about putting in keys afterwards, do you mean like veneer keys? I can use larger blocks of wood for the same results? I take it miter joints would be strong enough to hold whilst cutting the inserts to re-enforce them?

2. veneer keys, where can I get pieces of veneer? I gather they're just think strips of decent wood but my regular wood supplier (shock-horror homebase!) probably arn't that specialised...

3. lastly, when using the table saw (without height adjustment) is it safe to use blocks of wood to raise the piece that going over the blade, ie, to make groves etc? In my books it says that when doing groving, rebates etc on the saw that you should use a tunnel gaurd. Is this just so wandering fingers don't meet a sticky end, or is there other reason? I'm thinking that if I remove the gaurd and riving blade from mine, can I stand up boards of end to do (for example) finger joints, that kind of stuff... or is this really dangourous?

lots of questions, sorry!

All the best,
Toby

lol, Jason, I read "leace to dry" and thought, whats that is it a form of lashing things together whilst it dries, is it some exotic technical term? then I re-read and figured you meant "leave to dry"! :D
 
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For the keys you can use veneer or thin strips of wood, as you have a table saw just rip a thin strip off the side of a larger piece of contrasting timber to suit the width of your cut. Yes the glue will hold the box together while you cut the keys.

If you want veneer then try these people who will do small amounts by mail order http://www.marquetry.co.uk/main/hub/hub.shtml

You can make a jig/sledge to raise the work, you should always incorporate some way of covering the exposed blade when the standard guard is removed A router set-upp is usually safer if you have a router and will give a flat bottom to your key groove whereas a TCT blade leaves a flat "V" shape (unless you get a zero top rake blade, which I have :D)

You will find some similar setups on this site with a bit of searching, they are adding a jig section soon.

http://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/

If you go to the "router workshop" programmes on this site and watch the desk set they use a router for finger joints

Jason
 
D

diyfiesta

Thanks for the tips! I've kind of been looking for an excuse to get a cheapy router :)
 

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