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post #16 of (permalink) Old 04-02-2019, 01:54 PM
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CharleyL's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Country: United States
First Name: Charley
Posts: 2,057

You have done very well at this first, of likely very many boxes in your future. They are fun to make when you finally manage to get the tools to make them well. I make a lot of boxes now.

Here are a few tips for when making your next box, since I know you will, because they are so very addicting when they are easy to make.

For a small box you don't really need the slower drying rate glues. For larger boxes, it takes more time to get the glue on all of the needed places and then get the box together before the glue sets up. Excess glue on the outside isn't so important, because it sands off easily. The blue tape right close to the corner inside makes it easy to remove glue, but don't wait too long after the glue sets before you remove it. The next day the glue will be hardened on it and the tape will tear around it, requiring a chisel or knife to get it out. You can go with the White Elmer's glue for a slower drying rate too. It isn't quite as strong as yellow carpenters glue, but dries a bit slower, and it dries clear. The Titebond Extend is the better choice, but a box joint is very strong no matter what glue gets used in it.

Whenever I get excess glue on the inside of a joint I use a plastic soda straw to remove it while it's still wet, or at least soft. I push the end of the soda straw into the corner so it conforms to the joint angle and then just push it forward. The excess glue gets scrapped up, collecting inside the straw. I then either cut the straw shorter to do the next joint or throw the straw away, which I do anyway when the last joint has been cleaned. I have often been asked why I have a box of straws in my shop and this is the reason. It works to get most of the glue off of the blue tape too.

I have learned the hard way to make the fingers a bit long (about 1/16") and trim off the excess later after the glue has dried. I use a flush cut bit in my router table and a spacer to hold the box above the router table so the excess length of the uncut fingers don't touch the table. This keeps the box side being trimmed parallel with the bit and at a right angle to the table too.

I have a Join-Tech jig which works much like the Incra. When I started making box joints a lot it didn't take me long to decide that I needed a better way and bought the Incra I-Box jig. It was well worth the investment. With it and a Freud SBOX8 blade set I make box joints on my table saw with great results. This blade works better than a dado blade because it cuts a smoother square cut. The dado blades are OK for larger box joints, but aren't the best for small box joints. I also have a Freud 1/8" kerf square tooth ripping blade that I use with the I-Box jig when making very small box joints.

For making the bottom slots I now use Lee Valley small diameter box slotting router bits in my router table. I dry assemble the box sides and then just run the box sides around the router bit to cut the slot. Being a small diameter and with a bearing, these bits cut a perfect groove all the way into the corner. It's not visible from the outside of the box and you only need to slightly round the corners of the box bottom for it to fit and leave no gaps.

Box-Slotting Bits - Lee Valley Tools

Happy box making.


Central North Carolina
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