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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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:laugh2:
 

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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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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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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.
Totally in agreement and a great tool well worth the money. You might not have to spend this amount but a good one is not going to be cheap. The same goes for one that you would use with a table saw. An adjustable box joint jig is a good example of what not to try and make. You can easily spend a full afternoon and $20 or so dollars in parts only to end up with a complicated and useless jig. On the other hand, if you are satisfied with making only one size joint then you can make a perfectly acceptable jig in a few minutes out of a piece of scrap wood. If you need a different size then you make a new one just as quickly and cheaply. Youtube is full of ideas.
 

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The first shot shows how I normally make box joints. The second shot show a low cost bit that I bought to try, I've only made two boxes with it and was surprised at how good they turned out. The downside is the restricted height of the box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The first shot shows how I normally make box joints. The second shot show a low cost bit that I bought to try, I've only made two boxes with it and was surprised at how good they turned out. The downside is the restricted height of the box.
I did a bit of a site search and found this - https://www.routerforums.com/general-routing/61545-box-joint-tear-out.html) which is a bit easier to understand how you made up your jig. Super easy and can be made up from odds and ends of odd pieces of wood that I have around the shop. I will beed a spiral router bit or two, probably down cut and give it a try on some scrap pine before dig out some black walnut that's been gathering dust for several years. I've also poked around You Tube and have found several videos to further understand the home made process though mostly using a table saw. The process is basically the same.

As I said above, I just can't justify the cost of that INCRA positioner - though if I win the lottery .....:happy:
 

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I did a bit of a site search and found this - https://www.routerforums.com/general-routing/61545-box-joint-tear-out.html) which is a bit easier to understand how you made up your jig. Super easy and can be made up from odds and ends of odd pieces of wood that I have around the shop. I will beed a spiral router bit or two, probably down cut and give it a try on some scrap pine before dig out some black walnut that's been gathering dust for several years. I've also poked around You Tube and have found several videos to further understand the home made process though mostly using a table saw. The process is basically the same.

As I said above, I just can't justify the cost of that INCRA positioner - though if I win the lottery .....:happy:[/QUOTE;I didn't make the jig shown, I won it in a forum competition years ago. As you've said, one is easily made from almost scrap laying around the shop. The jig shown made many years ago and used a lot worked just as well. I sometimes used a spiral bit but found that any straight bit gave the same results. the jig itself could have acted as a backer but I soon started to use a separate backer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
;I didn't make the jig shown, I won it in a forum competition years ago. As you've said, one is easily made from almost scrap laying around the shop. The jig shown made many years ago and used a lot worked just as well. I sometimes used a spiral bit but found that any straight bit gave the same results. the jig itself could have acted as a backer but I soon started to use a separate backer.
Thanks for the claification. I have a new Whiteside 1/4" bit coming then will get into the fun.
 

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Whiteside and Amana are better in terms of longer life and the ability to resharpen more (straights only, though)..

I beg to differ. I sent a Whiteside spiral up-cut to them for resharpening last year. FREE service just paid postage. So unless they changed their policy-----. No experience with Amana.

smitty
 

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I beg to differ. I sent a Whiteside spiral up-cut to them for resharpening last year. FREE service just paid postage. So unless they changed their policy-----. No experience with Amana.

smitty
Interesting. I've not heard of that. Certainly, I couldn't do that with a spiral - I do give my straights a quick couple of strops on the diamond stone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Got my Whiteside downcut - did a great job - of tearing out the backside of my cuts. Might be a great router bit but for me making sox joints - useless. I'll be trying my table saw and a Freud blade instead.
 
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