First Box Joints w/a Hart Design Jig
This is my first attempt at making box joints.
Have been making sawdust in my little 10 FT X 8 FT Basement shop here in Germany for the past year or so, making frames, shadow boxes, flag cases, etc. Shop is so small, cannot only have one piece of equipment out/operational at the time, but it seems to work. Voltage here is 220/50 mHz, but bought a 1600 watt converter at the Thrift Store on Post for $80 and even the Jet Table Saw, PC 8529 router in my little MLCS router table, nor the Delta surface planner have never kicked the circuit breaker on the old (huge) Bakelite 220/110 converter.
Decided in late Jan 09 that I wanted to make some items using box joints. Looked at using a router (bit and table) as well as cutting them on a table saw. After a lot of reading/research, decided to go the`` dovetail/box joint Jig route. Like most hobbyist woodworkers, I’m cheap – HA! After deciding on what I thought I might need, it took me about 6 weeks to find the equipment and ship it here. I purchased everything off “Evil-Bay” – woodworking equipment, like most anything else is UBER expensive here in Germany. Good stuff (hey, Bosch is located here…), but pricey and 220V (can’t easily reuse it if/when we rotate back to a duty station that is in the land of the round door knob w/110V electricity)…Even tried the German E-Bay site (using Google to translate) and NO WAY! So, US-EBay was the procurement route (sometimes hard to find folks that will mail to an APO address, but the “chase” added to the allure I guess).
EQUIPMENT LIST (TOTAL: $255.60):
NEW HART DESIGN 12" DOVETAIL JIG (MODEL DOV), WITH ½ INCH DOVETAIL TEMPLATE ONLY, $50.51 + $10 POSTAGE (Found out the Hart Design jig is basically the same jig as the old/discontinued PC 4112 jig.)
NEW WOODRIVER 1/4'' BOX JOINT TEMPLATE, $10.51 + $6.99 POSTAGE
NEW WOODRIVER 1/2'' BOX JOINT TEMPLATE $4.99 + $2.99 POSTAGE
(I lucked out here – thought the Woodriver/Woodcrafter Brand templates looked like they would fit the Hart Design Dovetail Jig – and they did!).
USED PORTER CABLE 691 D HANDLE ROUTER BASE, $51.00 + &.$7.38 POSTAGE. (The base looked new, had some saw dust on it – the guy didn’t have the box, but had all the paperwork, plus he was a pleasure to deal with. The D-Handle base was an after thought and basically a nice to have, didn’t like the idea of trying to use a PC 690 router w/the 1001 base on a jig.)
NEW PORTER-CABLE 9690LR 11 AMPS 1-3/4 HP, $100.99 DELIVERED. (I have a PC 8529 Variable Speed Plunge Router on my router table that’s 4 or 5 years old and has been used, a LOT, but this router is huge. I thought it would be ungainly to use on a jig and it’s a pain to take on/off the MLCS router table, plus I assume one can NOT have too many routers. So, a second router was a “must have”. Was looking for a variable speed/soft start model, and did a lot of research, but figure I got a good deal on the PC 9690LR router – it was new in the case, had never been opened/factory sealed in the box, w/full PC warranty – I registered the S/N on PC’s website no problem.)
NEW PORTER CABLE 42000 9 PC TEMPLATE GUIDE SET, $5.24 + $5.00 POSTAGE. (Like a lot of folks had mentioned earlier, the PC guides are a tad too long. Chucked the ¼ PC guide up in Super Nova Chuck on my wife’s Delta Pen Lathe (told her about it after the fact…), put a Jacobson keyless chuck in the tail stock w/a 3/8 end mill, and faced off the end of the guide to just under the template thickness. Had a heck of a time getting the template guide to “center” in the sub base of the PC 691 D-Handle base and the 1/4” X 1” X ½” shaft straight bit not scrub (in only one place) when turned by hand. Turned the sub base every which way and no soap. Tried the guide in the sub base from the 1001 base, plus tried the sub base from the 1001 base on the D-Handle base – same deal… Even tried a second ¼ straight bit – same results. So, vice drilling out the holes in the sub base, I went back to the lathe set up and drilled out the guide w/a ¼ HS drill, which touched off just enough (run out either in the lathe or in the guide itself) on the sides to allow sufficient clearance when everything was reassembled. Couple of test runs w/the router/bit and sub base/guide and I felt comfortable enough to try using the steel PC template guide w/the box joint jig. However, I plopped down another $20, plus $6 postage for an 11-PC brass set of template guides from Rockler, which were on sale…)
I had just got back from 3-weeks on the road and everything was here now. Had some old interior pine tongue and groove roofing in the tank room left over from when the landlord decided to redecorate the interior ceiling in the place back in the 80’s… Ripped the tongue and grove sections off and surface planned to a finished 7/16’s X 2 inch stock. Knew it would be difficult to work w/2 inch wide stock and 7/16’s is the minimum thickness the jig is advertised to work with, but it was handy on a Sat afternoon and the price was right.
There were instructions for the Hart DOV Jig w/the machine, plus it came w/Number 1 L/R edge guides only. I downloaded the manual for the PC 4112 Jig and the Wood River templates had instructions as well for use w/the jig itself. All very confusing. Several test setups and test cuts yielded basically a small pile of kindling… Went back re-read the instructions from Hart, and figured out the #1 Edge Guide was not a show stopper, I then tweaked those setting a bit (using the Woodriver ¼ template), made the cuts (flipping the pieces over/counter clock-wise in the Hart jig), and viola. Had a little tear out (have to work on using better backing/scrap – used what I had), but please w/first result.
BL: The PC 690LR on a 691 D-Handle Sub Base is a pleasure to operate. It’s the ONLY way to fly in my opinion when using it on a dovetail/box joint jig. There are probably much better jigs out there (w/factory/OEM templates as options) that may be easier to use, but all-in-all, I was very satisfied w/the initial results from the Hart Jig, although nothing to brag about. Plan to play with it some more and make some small items. Figure the PC 690 and D-Handle Base, which represented the bulk of the $260 initial outlay, will come in handy on other projects as well.
Lots of good info and decades of experience on this site and I enjoy being a part of the forum.