Small box joint bit - Router Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Default Small box joint bit

Is there a decent box joint bit available. I'm not looking to make drawers or large boxes, just small ones using 1/4" to 1/2" material. Ebay, MLCS Infinity and others show bits that are the type I'm looking for, but some of these, especially low buck I assume have their problems. I'm aware that backers and maybe a slider will probably be needed for any of these to lessen tearout. I've looked at the Freud blades and Incra jig and while probably great tools, 1/4 and 3/8 inch cuts arenot something I need (yet, anyhow). Before you ask, I do know the difference between a box and finger joint
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 11:08 AM
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Freud and Whiteside are arguably the best and MLCS/lower ends the worst. If you are looking for quality....

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 11:52 AM
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Depends on how small you want them. A regular 1/8" wide table saw blade will work as well as a band saw. I have used both, the tablesaw ,both regular and thin kerf make a nice boxjoint. The bandsaw makes more of a "Comb" joint.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 11:59 AM
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The fingers on a box joint are best made with a table saw and a backer. When you use a router bit you need a facer and a backer. The bit wants to tear out the right side on the way in and the left side on the way out.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 12:45 PM
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To the original question, a spiral bit (up or down) is somewhat better than a straight bit. As to the best brand, if you are doing no more than 10-20 boxes, most will be ok. Whiteside and Amana are better in terms of longer life and the ability to resharpen more (straights only, though). Freud is a reasonable compromise. Then Rockler. I'd put Yonico and MLCS at the next tier down and anything made of NoName Chinesium at the bottom.

As to the best way to do box joints, they all work just fine if you use care. There really is no "best" way - the best is the one that works for you. I think my results back this point up.

I use an LS positioner to do mine on the router table with a straight bit. For hardwood and softwood, no fronter, just a backer needed. For plywood though, a front and back are needed, even for top quality baltic birch ply. That stuff splinters if you look at it sideways. The trick to avoiding chipout is to enter slowly. (there's a joke in there somewhere...).
By the way, make sure you put your bit as far into the collet as you can (minus a tiny amount to avoid bottoming) - this will minimize runout that could make for an oversize cut and loose joints. I learned that the hard way - somewhere there's a box that is 1/2" smaller than I had planned.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 01:06 PM
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I tend to default to Freud. I would probably go with a down spiral. However, I really like using the ibox jig with a dado stack on the table saw. The workpiece tends to slip under the horizontal force of a router bit. A sandpaper face plus backing board will help with tearoug and slippage. For smaller joints, the dual blade setup the does both quarter and 3/8ths cuts is a very nice accessory, but pricey if you're not making many boxes.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Looks like the idea if stached rourt box joint bit has bit (groan) the dust.
Soooo it looks like a box joint saw blade (have a dado blade abd maybe a good spiral router bit are in my future - then a home made jig or two.

Glad I decided to drop back in again after a two year sabbatical from making little pieces of wood from big pieces.

Thanks for all the good info and guidance

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 02:53 PM
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If you are at all serious about making a lot of box joints, consider the Incra LS Positioner for your router table. It is one of the tools that I would replace even at full price in a heartbeat if it disappeared. Not only great for quickly making box joints but it's precision and repeatability make it a fantastic tool for the craftsman.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBa View Post
If you are at all serious about making a lot of box joints, consider the Incra LS Positioner for your router table. It is one of the tools that I would replace even at full price in a heartbeat if it disappeared. Not only great for quickly making box joints but it's precision and repeatability make it a fantastic tool for the craftsman.
I saw that jig this afternoon while wandering the 'net. Super nice tool but waaaay too costly at about $300+ for my wallet these days. Thanks
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-08-2020, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBa View Post
To the original question, a spiral bit (up or down) is somewhat better than a straight bit. As to the best brand, if you are doing no more than 10-20 boxes, most will be ok. Whiteside and Amana are better in terms of longer life and the ability to resharpen more (straights only, though). Freud is a reasonable compromise. Then Rockler. I'd put Yonico and MLCS at the next tier down and anything made of NoName Chinesium at the bottom.

As to the best way to do box joints, they all work just fine if you use care. There really is no "best" way - the best is the one that works for you. I think my results back this point up.

I use an LS positioner to do mine on the router table with a straight bit. For hardwood and softwood, no fronter, just a backer needed. For plywood though, a front and back are needed, even for top quality baltic birch ply. That stuff splinters if you look at it sideways. The trick to avoiding chipout is to enter slowly. (there's a joke in there somewhere...).
By the way, make sure you put your bit as far into the collet as you can (minus a tiny amount to avoid bottoming) - this will minimize runout that could make for an oversize cut and loose joints. I learned that the hard way - somewhere there's a box that is 1/2" smaller than I had planned.
Love your work, Phil. That jewelry box Design is my next challenge - not too hard but definitely a challenge.
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