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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-10-2012, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Default box corner joinery

I have a ditty box given to me by my granddad. This chest has finger/box joint joinery for the chest exterior, (all 12 edges of the box eterior are box jointed) as well as the interior tray with dividers. I had an idea to make replicas of my ditty box for my nephews.
So, I started researching ways to make the joints. First place I went to was MLCS, since I saw an article in one of my wood working magazines. From there I saw demos of using table mounted router for making fancy looking joints and three sizes of box joints. Next I discovered INCRA jigs for making box joints as well as dovetail joints. While looking through my woodworking catalogs, I considered Leigh dovetail jigs. Now, a few years later, I still have not decided which joint is better, and have not started the ditty box replicas, for various other reasons.
But I do make boxes. I want to get away from mitered corners, as well as mitered corners with splines. I want to try something else with stronger, nicer appearance joinery. Which brings me to the question: which joint is better for boxes-dovetail or box joints? There are store bought jigs that make just box joints, while others make dovetails as well, and some allow variations in both types of joints. Cost of the jig will always be a concern. I cannot justify buying a particular dovetail jig that costs more than any one of my shop's power tools, for just making gift boxes, but maybe could if I made dovetail drawers as well with the same jig.
I have heard that with modern glues, box joints are just as strong as dovetail joints.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-10-2012, 09:51 AM
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Liston, box joints work great for a strong nice looking joint. For some reason everyone gets the idea that they must use dovetail joints on projects and this just isn't true. You already know the variety of dovetail jigs out there so I am not going to cover that... pick one that fits your budget because they all work.

For box joints the Oak Park style box joint jig works the best. MLCS sells copies of these jigs made out of MDF but the Oak Park jigs are built out of HDPE.(and not available at this time) These jigs offer something most box joint jigs do not: the ability to make angled box joints like the one shown in the attached photos. All you have to do is cut your push block to the desired angle.

Note: Box joints are square, finger joints are tapered for end joining boards together.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-10-2012, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
These jigs offer something most box joint jigs do not: the ability to make angled box joints like the one shown in the attached photos. All you have to do is cut your push block to the desired angle.
The Incra Jig(not ibox!) does that quite easily as well...and much,much more!
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I have found that hand tools are the best choice when I want to make mistakes at a slower rate of speed.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 07:26 AM
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When you can you should post a photo of your Granddad's box, old boxes are always nice. NGM
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmeadows View Post
The Incra Jig(not ibox!) does that quite easily as well...and much,much more!
I have been looking for a way to make angled dovetail joints would the Incra jig work? I have one but haven't gotten around to using it yet. If not the dovetail then how did you do the angled box joint?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgmine View Post
I have been looking for a way to make angled dovetail joints would the Incra jig work? I have one but haven't gotten around to using it yet. If not the dovetail then how did you do the angled box joint?
Hi Art. Haven't tried it but can't see any reason why not. I am really not sure what that particular joint is good for. Although at 60deg instead of the 45 that I used, you could make triangle boxes, I guess. I will post more pictures showing more detail, but basically I did it the same way Mike did except I cut 45 miters on the ends of the boards first, and used the Incra to move the fence to position the cuts.

Note: the boards must be a multiple of twice the bit diameter to work well, and there must be an even number of pins! I guess that really makes it a multiple of 4 times the bit diameter.

I have found that hand tools are the best choice when I want to make mistakes at a slower rate of speed.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 12:47 PM
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I am going to try this method when my order comes to California from the Chicago Area.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
Liston, box joints work great for a strong nice looking joint. For some reason everyone gets the idea that they must use dovetail joints on projects and this just isn't true. You already know the variety of dovetail jigs out there so I am not going to cover that... pick one that fits your budget because they all work.

For box joints the Oak Park style box joint jig works the best. MLCS sells copies of these jigs made out of MDF but the Oak Park jigs are built out of HDPE.(and not available at this time) These jigs offer something most box joint jigs do not: the ability to make angled box joints like the one shown in the attached photos. All you have to do is cut your push block to the desired angle.

Note: Box joints are square, finger joints are tapered for end joining boards together.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 02:22 PM
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Here are some photos of other Router Workshop projects that use angled box joints. You can purchase the Eplans from Oak Park.

Art, by angled dovetail joints do you mean offset to join table corners for using hanger bolts and table legs?
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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I have pictures to show but not sure how to upload
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-12-2012, 05:42 AM Thread Starter
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these are some pix asked for, regarding the ditty box. I had captions for each but they apparently did not make it through the upload. I wanted to show different aspects of the box, exterior and interior
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