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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All, very new to this forum, so hope this is the correct area for my question. I'm currently trying to design and make a jig that will allow me to use my router to make box joints which are at 15 degrees to the horizontal on each face. These joints feature on a WW1 Ammunition Box.
Has anyone any experience or knowledge of such joints/jigs?
I have made a jig for use on my saw table, but it requires the blade to be angled over at 15 degrees, is awkward to use, and requires all the joints to be cleaned out with a chisel (I don't have a band saw unfortunately).
I've sketched out a design to be used with the router, but before going ahead with this was wondering if something already exists.
 

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Welcome Dave.

Tell you what... If you go to the introduction section and say "hello" to a few people, you could quickly get to 10 posts... Then you can post links and upload attachments.

I'd really like to see the sketch you have to make sure I have a clear picture of what you are trying to do before commenting. I think I have an idea of what you are talking about and know several different ways to do it... But that depends on if we are thinking about the same thing. Do you have a sketch or picture of what you are trying to make?

Edit-- What joint are you trying to make? An angled box joint for a mitered styled finger joint on a right angle edge? Or angled finger joint for an angled side that is other than right angles? Or a joint that is at right angles, but has a slight bevel top to bottom along the joint?
 

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Hi Dave and welcome to the forum. I agree with Mike, a picture would be helpful. There are quite a few new members signing on today. Easy way to get to 10 posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Mike, much appreciated. I'll get the posts done quickly and provide a photo of the joints in question, as I have a box to copy from.
 

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I am adding a comment to stay subscribed to this one. In the two photos offered by members Mike & Bob, I did not see a compound mitered finger joint, but rather typical (right angled) box and dovetail joints. I am not saying it ain't there - I just didn't see it. There also appears to be a hinge (a.k.a. rule) joint. I must be missing something - so my curiosity. Mitered finger joint - no big deal, but compound mitered finger joint sounds really interesting! Thanks guys. This is one of the 651 reasons that this forum is so cool! Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
 

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Those hinges shown looked like metal hinges to me. When they made those and similar boxes they didn't mess around with fancy hinges. They were meant to be expendable, so they weren't going to put a lot of time and effort into them. I've got a modern NATO training ammo box, rough wood, and it's knocked together about as cheaply as it gets, including the least expensive hinges they could find - I could make hinges as good, or better, than those, same with the hasp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi All, me again.
I've taken a few photos of the box in question, hope they are clear enough to see the way the joints have been made.
My view is that the joints have been made angled (all angles are about 15 degrees), such that when the boxes, full of ammo, are dragged by the rope handles (missing on the box I've got) the ends will not be pulled off, which would be the case with plane box joints.
The lid is missing, but from the look of it, was simply a flat piece of wook, angled on one side to lock under the lid and is secured by the clasp when rotated into position.
I've nearly finished a sketch of what I think is needed as a jig, any ideas how to attach? Do I scan the sketch and attach to a post? Does this work?
 

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Dave, now we see what you were speaking about and it makes more sense! It's that "picture is worth a thousand words" thing. I've gotta say, though; from a structural standpoint - that is a very prone-to-failure joint. But you already knew that, and are attempting to build it for nostalgic reasons and all of us can appreciate that. I am now in the process of developing some dovetail and box joint fixtures -just for my own curiosity. I currently have several store-bought varieties but for a variety of reasons see fault (at least in my own mind) with each of them...and developing and improving products is what I do for a living, so I cannot "resist" attempting something odd and unusual. It may go nowhere or maybe I can come-up with something smart. Only time will tell.
During my research (and I am sorry that I don't remember the web address) I saw a video of how wooden beehives are made - they have "their own method" of creating box joints and all fingers of one board's end are cut simultaneously in this big, loud gizmo that appeared to me to be a huge drive shaft with a "gang" of (spaced apart) dado blades.
I've never seen the process in person and some other members may have better knowledge of the procedure. I'm thinking that a similar system might be able to be done on a "Z" axis rotation of 15 deg. - for mass production, of course.
Back to the joint: If you look-back at your 2nd photo and observe the close-up view, it is readily apparent that there are 6- stress fractures in the two intersecting sides. This could have been a result of twisting, abuse or even the box being made with "green" lumber, or just good-old fashioned wear & tear. The joint appears to feature the inherent strengths of the box joint - handicapped with the biggest weakness of the dovetail joint. That weakness being that a broken wood fiber has very little tensile strength or resistance to torsion and the "tails" of a dovetail joint feature broken wood fiber at all points exceeding the narrowest dimension of said "tail". In a dovetail joint the "pins" do not include broken wood fibers, but rather all wood fibers are continuous. The "fingers" of a "square finger joint" do not include interrupted wood fibers and thus less "weak links in the chain". The additional strength imparted by maximized glue area is not a factor in this old and weather-exposed joint!
Unfortunately, the joint you're hoping to reproduce has broken wood fibers in every finger and is therefore a weak joint. A "pinned finger joint" would have been a stronger choice, but I cannot say their choice wasn't the best with all conditions considered.
I hope this helps and quite likely other members will chime-in with firsthand knowledge of the beehive box joints and their construction.
Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
 

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I agree with Otis, do you really need a complex joint like that? A standard box joint would be much easier and stronger. You could angle them by pushing them over a router bit with the boards at an angle and that would be fairly simple but it still wouldn't be quite as strong.

Otis I was thinking of making a box joint machine as you described but the only blades that are commonly available here are 5/8 hole. A 5/8 arbor would be too flimsy to gang blades on. Euro sized 30mm hole blades are usually expensive. Have you ever come across any small diameter/ large bore blades?
 

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One side of the joint cant be done easily with a typical keyed box joint jig at an angle with either the tablesaw or router table. I think the second side would be easiest on the table saw(tilt the dado stack(compound angle)). Tilting router lift would work also. Or the bandsaw is up to the task as well!

Just a few ideas! It is actually quite doable. Just made a proof of concept joint with the miter gage/router table for one side and the bandsaw for the other!
 

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Chuck, I never actually physically observed the saw, just a video. Beehive-making videos were where I observed it.

Duane, I'm kinda like you in that it is "doable", but why? Nostalgia may be the only reason. It wouldn't take rocket science to make a jig with parallel grooves that will over-mount the workpiece at the desired angle, but why?

I'm no wood-work historian, but that joint was a "first" for me. Take care guys! Happy New Year!

Oh, yeah; one other thing - most blades for saws like I use take a 5/8" diameter arbor - it is pretty much a standard. I had an (1920 YATES) old pattern-making saw that took a 1.125" dia hole (an 18" diameter blade and 7 horsepower 220/3 phase motor), but it was so much trouble to find that I finally just contracted a blade vendor to enlarge the originally smaller hole. After getting the saw up and running, OSHA inspectors refused to let me and my guys use it - so I donated the machine to an antique machinery museum.
 

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I very much doubt that the router can be used to produce any of the two sides Obviously this was made long before routers were invented and completed with a hand saw (IMHO) I would not like to attempt making it on the table saw or the table router
Sam
 

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Chuck,
Duane, I'm kinda like you in that it is "doable", but why?
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Can't argue with you there, Otis. Other than decorative maybe I can see no advantage to the joint, really.

I very much doubt that the router can be used to produce any of the two sides Obviously this was made long before routers were invented and completed with a hand saw (IMHO) I would not like to attempt making it on the table saw or the table router
Sam
Sam, it really is not as difficult as it looks. One side is quite easy on the router table. The other would take a tilting router, that's all. It is very easy to do on the table saw. One side, just a normal box joint type jig attached to a miter gage at an angle, the other needs the arbor tilted as well. But that's all it is, just a few compound cuts;)
 

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Can't argue with you there, Otis. Other than decorative maybe I can see no advantage to the joint, really.



Sam, it really is not as difficult as it looks. One side is quite easy on the router table. The other would take a tilting router, that's all. It is very easy to do on the table saw. One side, just a normal box joint type jig attached to a miter gage at an angle, the other needs the arbor tilted as well. But that's all it is, just a few compound cuts;)
Interesting I would like to see how it could be achieved with all the different acute angles that require to be produced. There does seem to be more hand saw and chisel rather than table saw.
Sam
 

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Interesting I would like to see how it could be achieved with all the different acute angles that require to be produced. There does seem to be more hand saw and chisel rather than table saw.
Sam
Sam, I'll post some pictures tomorrow, can't get to it today.
 

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This question had me thinking all night last night! I cannot think of a way to do those joints with a router or dado cutter, because - the 'floor' of the cut isn't going to be parallel with the sides of the cut, it's parallel with the end of the plank. I know you said you don't have a bandsaw, but the only way I can think of to make a substantial inroad into the joint-making with a machine involves a bandsaw, and you'd still probably have to hand-chisel the waste out - or have a second bandsaw with a very thin blade. I have a loose idea in my head of a bandsaw jig to make the repetitive cuts with the grain to form the joints, but the clear-out would have to be hand-chiselled I think.


Essentially I would tilt the bandsaw table to 15 degrees, and make a 2-way sliding table jig with a 15 degree fence to offer the plank end to the blade at 15 degrees off square in both planes. A simple stop would make even depths of cuts, and a peg with dowels and holes at intervals would space the cuts. It might be do-able by hand and eye, keeping left/right of the pencil line on the boards to make the joint tight.

It's a baffling joint, as has been well analysed already - I don't see the point of it. It would be interesting to research the army's papers if they are in the public domain to see why the original spec was for this joint.
 

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Hi

That's a neat joint,almost a box dovetail locking joint..
Back when that put it in place I think they did it with a table saw and they didn't have a big router...looks like the saw had a gang of blades and the miter was set at 15 deg.

I like the way they put the bottom board in place and the top with 2 rabbits and just one nail to hold it place (center part of the top ) and with quick blow of the gun butt would open the box..that would let the center pull right out..


==
 
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