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Discussion Starter #1
I'm working through the process of making a box with mitered corners and key splines. It's my test piece for learning. Searching the net I read where it's best to do the splines first then cut the lid off. So I used my TS spline jig to cut the spline slots and it went well except that I found out that I shouldn't have used my flat grind Freud 24T thin kerf blade. I should have used a 1/8" kerf blade. The slots are too narrow with the TK blade. So I ordered a flat grind 24T blade with a 1/8" kerf. Then I cut the material for the key splines, glued them, and cut off the excess. Here's where I'm not sure of how to insert them. Most of the videos I've seen has them inserted with the long grain into the slot with the end grain visible out of the sides. But this looks funky with end grain contrasting the long grain of the box. I was thinking of inserting the spline with the end grain into the slot and the long gran coming out of the sides. Does this make sense? Will it weaken the joint/purpose of the spline?

Thanks for the assist.
 

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It's all in the eye of the beholder...
you do what looks the best to you...
 
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For strength, you really need the splines that are made to show the end grain where they exit the sides of the box. Making them so the grain matches the box sides will fail to strengthen the mitered corner joint.


Not to change your thinking, but have you seen the new Rockler key spline jig that uses dowel rods to make the key splines? In their recent catalogs, it's #59517 or the jig complete with a set of 3 long drill bits is #64775. I bought one of these, but haven't had the chance to try it yet. Instead of the dovetail shape, in this case the end grain that's visible is a long oval from the inserted round dowel being cut and trimmed at a 45 deg angle. It's a different look, and I guess that's why I like it, but in the recent past most of the boxes that I make seem to end up with box joint corners. I do like to make fancier boxes sometimes and will be using this jig for some of them. For these I try to never make two boxes that look exactly the same.

Charley
 

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I would submit that unless you're making a tool box needing miters strengthened, you can put the splines in however you want...there will be sufficient strength in the miter alone...

...have at it...
 

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You can increase the strength of the mitered joint by applying glue to the end grain, letting it dry, than glue up again when you insert the spline and assemble the box. If you don't want the spline to be visible on the top or bottom, you'd need to make a stopped groove and insert the spline in that. It will show when you open the box unless you get mighty careful to stop the spline groove so it won't show at all.

This method requires careful measuring and stops setup on a router table, but has the advantage of keeping the box's exterior match. If it were my project I'd allow the spline to be visible on the inside, but not the outside. All this becomes moot if the box is really shallow. Anything over about 4 inches the stopped spline would be an option.

I use 1/8th thick purpleheart for most of my splines in picture frames because I like the contrast. But using the same wood will make the spline less noticeable.
 

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Not to change your thinking, but have you seen the new Rockler key spline jig that uses dowel rods to make the key splines? In their recent catalogs, it's #59517 or the jig complete with a set of 3 long drill bits is #64775. I bought one of these, but haven't had the chance to try it yet. Instead of the dovetail shape, in this case the end grain that's visible is a long oval from the inserted round dowel being cut and trimmed at a 45 deg angle. It's a different look, and I guess that's why I like it, but in the recent past most of the boxes that I make seem to end up with box joint corners. I do like to make fancier boxes sometimes and will be using this jig for some of them. For these I try to never make two boxes that look exactly the same.

Charley
Have seen that jig and would like to know what you think of it Charley after you have used it a few times. TIA
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks for all the help guys. I guess it's up to me which way to go. I'm not making tool boxes so strength of the joint is not of paramount importance. I'm making some 10x14x3-1/2 handgun presentation boxes for a friend. He's not all that interested in the look of them (just wants them as a post purchase goodies for those who buy from his auctions) but I want to do something I'll be proud of.

That Rockler jig looks enticing. Sort of a Kreg type thing for splines of a different look.

Jacaranda, that's a great tutorial. I'm bookmarking it for future reference.

Again, thanks for the help.
 
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