Router Forums banner
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've just gotten my Incra LS Positioner set up and in use. First thing I did was clean up the sides of some maple. Really slick how with the Wonder Fence you can take off very small amounts. With the Bosch router table & the fence that came with it, the increments are fixed at 1/16", at least with the spacers that came with it.

I started out wanting to make a finger joint box, just to figure out how the LS works. I have a set of Craftsman chisels that came from my former father-in-law. The box they are in and the plastic cradle/insert appear to be made for the set of chisels, but the box is such crap, I have a hard time believing it was original with the chisel set.


At any rate, I decided to try making a replacement box. Turns out the only router bit I have that can be used with the LS is a 1/4" up cut. So, I selected 1/4" Baltic birch plywood for the box. I was very pleasantly surprised how easy it actually is to make the finger joints using the LS. I've never made any box/finger or dovetail joints before.

New box sides with rabbets for the bottom.


I'm ready to glue these together and put the bottom in, but I am intimidated by having to spread glue on all these small fingers and getting the glue distributed to all the corners in a timely manner without created a huge mess. I'd really like to keep the glue off the sides as much as possible. I have considered clipping the head off of a Q-Tip and using the stub end. I don't want to use a Q-Tip straight as I think cotton threads will get captured. What techniques have you guys used for this sort of glue-up?

I'd like to replace the hardware (hinges and front clasp) but I am having trouble finding much of anything. I've checked Rockler, Woodcraft and MicroMark. MicroMark has some, solid bras, but they seem too small. What suppliers have any of you used for hardware like these?




Thanks for any help.

Rick
 

Attachments

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
I agree Rick. I don't think that's the box they came in if they ever came in a box at all as I don't recall much of Sears small tools that were sold that way. Lots of people use a small paint brush for that type glue up. I have some plastic paddles that I got from Lee Valley that are good for spreading a drop or two of glue that you drop onto the surfaces from a glue bottle.You don't want much glue and not much is needed. You also normally only glue the sides of the fingers and not the bottom of the gullets. That helps prevent squeeze out.

This is also a good time to talk about using a glue with enough open time to allow you to get all the surfaces glued and assembled in time. Titebonds 1 and 3 have short open times. T2 has a longer open time and there is also a Titebond Extend which has a longer open time still. If you are well organized you may be okay with one with short open time. You can also consider gluing just 2 sides together at a time and then joining those two halves together after but make sure they are drying square as you proceed to the second step. I often enlist my wife's help in situations where time will be pushed close to the limit.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TenGees

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,438 Posts
Pretty good so far. One thing you can do is use a slow curing glues as Charles suggested, or one of the brown glues that take hours to cure completely.

I suggest you use a small metal brush Pix below, to apply the glue. These give you pretty good control of the glue. Generally you can wipe off any excess using a damp cloth for a couple of passes on the inside and outside. If you made the fingers a little proud (desirable), you will be using a block plane or sanding to get rid of the excess.

The other challenge is to keep the box square as the glue sets. If the bottom fits tight, you can insert it to help hold it square. Another option is using box joint cauls (pix) and a belt style band clamp (Pix). The cauls stand clear of the slightly proud fingers of your box joints. The picture of the orange band clamp already has a standoff and should work well

You could make your own L shaped cauls on a table saw, adding a strip to each inside edge so they make room for the proud fingers. The L drawing is an end view. Start with a 2 inch square piece. Make certain your saw blade is exactly 90 to the table. Make one cut about 1 3/8ths high, flip the piece and cut the same amount on the other side. Use some aged and seasoned wood so it will stay stable. Glue some strips on the inside edges as shown so they stand clear of the glue. Use a band clamp as shown to hold the box together. Cut the cauls into about 6 inch long sectons and wax the holy crap into the inside so the glue doesn't stick!

You could also use some reliably 90 degree L brackets, clamped with small clamps, into each inside corner. Make sure the brackets don't touch the glue. The second diagram shows how simple it is to make someting to hold corners square on a table saw, using 2 inch square material. Cut square by having the blade be exactly 90 to the table, then make a 45 degree cut as shown. I would use some 4 inch F clamps--five bucks each at Home Depot--see pix. It will take at least 8 clamps for a box like yours. You could use the small Harbor Freight F clamps for this instead, but I like the Bessey clamps better.

Finally, what you have made is a box joint. Finger joints are different. Each finger tapers and they are usually used to glue two short pieces together end to end to produce longer lengths. Many inexpensive items are made from this kind of joint. Because finger joints are tapered and come to a point, they cannot be used for box joints. Just a little woodworking lingo. And here are a couple of links.

https://www.amazon.com/RAM-PRO-Flex...ng+flux+brush&qid=1553917650&s=gateway&sr=8-3

https://www.rockler.com/box-joint-cauls

https://www.amazon.com/DCT-Multi-An...prefix=Band+Clamps,aps,-1&sr=8-30-spons&psc=1

There are a lot of ways to glue up box joint boxes, these represent a few that will do the trick for you.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info, guys. The only wood glue I have is Titebond 3. I have a number of those metal handle brushes. Use them mainly for putting cutting oil on lathe turning/milling/drilling in metal. They seem too large and cumbersome for these 1/4" "box" joints. Thanks for the clarification on finger vs box joints. The bottom does fit tight, enough to use it for keeping things square. I was going to glue it in at the same time.

I recall looking at some of those clamping fixtures at Rockler a couple months back, and thinking "I don't have any need for those..." :smile:

Rick
 
  • Like
Reactions: DesertRatTom

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,438 Posts
Really easy to make those cauls, especially the simple one you put on the inside corner. Once you have the tools to make boxes, it seems to trigger a flurry of box making. Great for gifts and only take a weekend. I liked the idea of having the wife help with the glue ups.

Here's a link to the extra long open time Titebond glue. Definitely a good choice. I'm going to order a bottle myself because I'm itching to start using my new Incra Box Joint Jig.

https://www.amazon.com/Titebond-413...8T385GF7XB8&psc=1&refRID=SM7CKEZPQ8T385GF7XB8
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
602 Posts
Assemble the box dry, and apply blue painters tape in the corners, on each board. This will keep the inside clean

Then use small brushes like those show above, and glue up. After the glue dries, peel off the tape inside. You may need to run a chisel into the corners if there are any small beads left over.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,438 Posts
You inspired me. Off today to buy some nice figured hardwood to make a fancy box. I already have some invisible hinges, but not sure I'll make a hinged box. May have several available for remembrance boxes for Christmas gifts.
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
They seem too large and cumbersome for these 1/4" "box" joints. Thanks for the clarification on finger vs box joints.

Rick
Never make assumptions about which type joint it is. If you do a web search on finger joints about 75% of them come back as "a finger joint also known as a box joint". All of Fine Woodworking's contributors refer to a box joint as a finger joint first. Most of older woodworking literature also refer to it as a finger joint. The tapered fingers were specifically referred to as a tapered finger joint or as a splice joint since that is the only function of that type joint i.e. end joining two boards together. That is the main clue about which type joint is being discussed is whether it is the splicing type or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You inspired me. Off today to buy some nice figured hardwood to make a fancy box. I already have some invisible hinges, but not sure I'll make a hinged box. May have several available for remembrance boxes for Christmas gifts.
Tom,

I'd be interested in info about your invisible hinges. I've been searching various sites for small hinges and am not that satisfied with what I've found - for this particular box.

Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Assemble the box dry, and apply blue painters tape in the corners, on each board. This will keep the inside clean

Then use small brushes like those show above, and glue up. After the glue dries, peel off the tape inside. You may need to run a chisel into the corners if there are any small beads left over.
Excellent idea. Thanks. I was particularly concerned about getting the glue out from those inside corners.

Rick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Box Glued

I checked the one open hardware store in my town and the closest other three, 1-hr away and no one had the Titebond Extend. I could not wait to order some, so I went ahead with the TB3.

Worked out great. I trimmed down one of those foam brushes and also an acid brush. I tried the trimmed acid brush, but it put too much glue where I didn't want it. I went with the head-chopped-off-Q-tip. That worked perfectly, getting good amounts glue right where I wanted it, in the joints and not too much.

The glue up went without a hitch. I really appreciate the tip about using painters tape at the corners/edges. There wasn't much glue to wipe up, but what there was, was easy.

The joints came out quite nice, I think. I'm very impressed with the Incra LS Positioner. As stated in their documentation, using their tool/methods on box joints, if they are too loose or too tight (too loose = oversized, too tight = undersized), it is a problem with the bit not the LS. My joints were too tight. I tried shifting the fence a few thou., but that didn't work out. I just cut them regular and worked the joints a bit to get them to fit. I also measured my bit (1/4" Freud spiral upcut). It is 0.244", 0.006" undersized and by about as much as I tried shifting the fence. Still, I need to get a bit that is on size for this cutting.

Rick
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
602 Posts
If the bit is undersize, you need to recut 1 side only of all the joints after offsetting the fence the needed amount.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If the bit is undersize, you need to recut 1 side only of all the joints after offsetting the fence the needed amount.
Thanks. I tried that. It means offsetting for each stack and I think that is were I got off-track, keeping track.

Rick
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
I make a sanding aid that would help you with that Rick. I take scrap high pressure counter top laminate (Formica to you) and cut it into rectangular pieces about 1 1/2 to 2" wide by 3 to 5" long and I glue sandpaper to the back side of them, usually 80 grit. Because they are thin and stiff it would allow you to take a couple of strokes on all the joint surfaces without risk of rounding the edges off and you can stay flat across the fingers too. I glue them on with Lee Valley's fish glue because it's water soluble and it allows me to peel the worn out paper off and replace it with new paper on the same laminate piece. I try to keep at least one of these sanding aids within arm's reach any time I'm doing anything in the shop.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,290 Posts
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.


Charley
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks, Charley. Good information.

As noted, I went with the Titebond 3. Since it was a small box, there were no problems with working time. Went very well. I have not yet, but need to order some TB Extend. I don't have any more boxes planned for the immediate future, so hopefully I order it in time.

Flipsaw. I did see some hide glue at the local store. Decided against trying it, as I felt comfortable with the TB3 for this box. Also, I found that small box hardware site and ordered some from them, and a couple others. It was hit or miss finding what I thought would work. Still waiting on all of it to really find out.

The blue tape worked great. I like the idea of the soda straws for picking up the glue. We have a supply for my granddaughter.

With this box, I discovered that I did not make the fingers long (deep) enough and have a few of the ends that are short of the surface. I should be able to sand them flat, as they aren't that far short.

I was not aware of the Join-Tech jig. It never showed up in the searches I was doing, but I was very focused on the Incra jigs. I almost bought the I-Box jig before discovering the LS Positioner. I opted for the LS so that I have the ability to do both. I'm very pleased with just the very limited use I've made of it. The precision aspect of the LS really suits me. We'll see if it really makes much difference as I use it down the road. I am anxious to try a dovetail, but only have a 1/2" bit now and no lumber I want to use. It means planing something to 1/2" thickness and that doesn't fit with what else is going on at the moment.

Those slotting bits look really great. I'll have to get a couple, once I figure out better what are my needs. I used the same slightly undersized 1/4" bit for the slots that I used for the joints.

Chuck. Your sanding aid trick sounds pretty slick. I recall my father taping a full sheet of carborundum paper to a granite surface plate when he needed to sand something really flat. I will have to wing it some other way, as I do not have any laminate, scrap or otherwise. I have a granite surface plate, but I'm not using it for this. I use the mesh-type sanding media (Mirka Autonet) on hook-n-loop sanding blocks and have a supply of the same in orbital sander discs. The blocks are not as flat and firm as laminate would be, but so far I'm satisfied with the results I'm getting.

Rick
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,438 Posts
Tom,

I'd be interested in info about your invisible hinges. I've been searching various sites for small hinges and am not that satisfied with what I've found - for this particular box.

Rick
They are quite small, but disappear. You can get them in several sizes. I got some at Rockler.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
They are quite small, but disappear. You can get them in several sizes. I got some at Rockler.
Very nifty looking. I will definitely use these on something in the future. The web site doesn't give their depths, but the technical data sheet does. The 10mm (0.394") are too large for the <1/4" Baltic birch plywood used in this box. The other larger ones are deeper than their diameters.

Thanks though, those will come in very handy,

Rick
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top