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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Spent the day introducing myself to the world of box making with a very simple walnut/cedar dado-based design. Looks better in real life than these photos do.

The victory is knowing all my cutting tools are dialed in for square crosscuts and accurate miters. Used the TS, DeWalt radial arm saw and table mounted Bosch router. The DeWalt required some truing up but cuts perfect miters now.

Also included some book matched cedar panels I had made a few days ago, which will go into the next effort - a tea box for myself and one as a gift thereafter.
 

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dude...
that is gorgeous...
 
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Those are awesome...!

...and thanks for mentioning the tools you used...very helpful...
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the kudos, guys - this was an exercise in precision and that’s what I got the most out of it. Between the router cutting dados and the radial arm doing the miters, it is now reassuring knowing I can attain very tight fits, etc. Shaving pieces to their final fit with the DeWalt radial arm is a big advantage over a TS. Still have to test out the best way to cut miters for taller box sides using either the radial arm or TS remains to be done.

A few more thoughts:
- The Freud glue line blade on the TS is really nice - very valuable for joining panel pieces and making rip cuts in general. (End cuts for rails and stiles are done on the radial arm.)
- Glue up is critical to avoid excess cleanup in corners, etc. I managed to avoid that issue in general.
- Am using a iGage Snap Check+ dial tool off eBay to setup router bit height and setting fence dimensions for dado/rebate cuts - very useful tool.
- Will be using Tung Oil followed with some Odie’s Butter as a finishing routine for a soft, matte appearance without any final sanding needed.
 

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Thanks for the kudos, guys - this was an exercise in precision and that’s what I got the most out of it. Between the router cutting dados and the radial arm doing the miters, it is now reassuring knowing I can attain very tight fits, etc. Shaving pieces to their final fit with the DeWalt radial arm is a big advantage over a TS. Still have to test out the best way to cut miters for taller box sides using either the radial arm or TS remains to be done.

A few more thoughts:
- The Freud glue line blade on the TS is really nice - very valuable for joining panel pieces and making rip cuts in general. (End cuts for rails and stiles are done on the radial arm.)
- Glue up is critical to avoid excess cleanup in corners, etc. I managed to avoid that issue in general.
- Am using a iGage Snap Check+ dial tool off eBay to setup router bit height and setting fence dimensions for dado/rebate cuts - very useful tool.
- Will be using Tung Oil followed with some Odie’s Butter as a finishing routine for a soft, matte appearance without any final sanding needed.

Could you not angle the blade for a bevel cut...? For the TS, try using a cross cut sled rather than the miter gauge...for the RAS, angle the blade for a bevel cut.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Could you not angle the blade for a bevel cut...? For the TS, try using a cross cut sled rather than the miter gauge...for the RAS, angle the blade for a bevel cut.
That’s what I need to do next and find the most accurate approach, Nick. I was just cutting a shorter sidewall on the radial arm with the piece standing up. I’ll try it lying down with a bevel cut On the RAS and hope for the best. In necessary, I’ve already got a sled for the TS, which may be easier.
 

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That’s what I need to do next and find the most accurate approach, Nick. I was just cutting a shorter sidewall on the radial arm with the piece standing up. I’ll try it lying down with a bevel cut On the RAS and hope for the best. In necessary, I’ve already got a sled for the TS, which may be easier.

I've got a couple of RAS's (old Craftsman and older Dewalt) and I find it easier to bevel cut on the RAS. I used the RAS to tongue and groove all the hardwood for my flooring many years ago. It is especially easier on the RAS when the workpiece is long and not easily manageable on a crosscut sled. With the proper negative hook blade and a slow pace you'll be slinging compound angles "slicker than snot", for example, crown molding.

Between the TS sled and the versatility of the RAS there won't be an angle you won't be able to cut.

Have fun, be safe.
 
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Great box. Doesn't look like you need any advice. If you decide to use your table saw here is another way. This table saw sled is from Matt Kenney's book 52 boxes in 52 weeks. It rides along the side of the blade using one slot. You can then true up the miter joint if needed on the shooting board. This is Michael Pekovich's design. You can tell I have a FWW subscription.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for your input, gents.

Charley - Yes, I intend to get a good addiction going with all the practical uses for a good box - already have a potential commission from a coworker I showed this item to today. I'm at about 8 or 9 thus far with several ideas in mind to pursue. Show us some of yours if you don't mind...

Jamie - I take all the advice I can get. Need to get larger scale miters under control next. Nice sled ( with the miter feature) and shooting board designs - would love a good plan for these if it is available.
 

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Super looking work ! And great amount of character in the book matched panels. It looks like your time and effort in setting up your equipment was well done and successful. With regard to trimming miters, I know there are 'miter trimmers' (for example, look on Amazon for "miter trimmer cutter"), but they are quite expensive and I'm not sure they do a much better job than your shooting board. They might be worth it if you were doing production work or making enough miters that cut the 'cost per slice' down, but it looks like your set up makes that unnecessary. By the way, thanks for your comments on the various tools you used and what you thought of them. And thanks Jamie for the miter sled for the tablesaw picture.
 

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Hot dang, that is a gorgeous box. The lid is really striking. I'm ordering a copy of that book right now.

I make mostly picture frames for my wife's art these days. In that process, I've struggled with miters. Half a degree makes parts unusable. For frames, I rough cut 45s, then use a Lyon miter trimmer to make it an exact 45.

For boxes, you might consider a couple of options. The table saw sled can work well, but you need to make sure the blade is at a perfect 45 to the table. A Wixey angle gauge will do that for you. You can get a 45degree router bit and do it on the router table, making sure opposite sides are exactly the same.

I have a Rockler sled that has very exact angles marked out on it. I used a large engineers triangle with a perfect 90 to reset the indicator to an exact 90 degree to the blade (not the fence) so it cuts perfect miters now on the saw. Laying the box pieces flat on the saw or router table seems best for boxes. The Lyon trimmer is better with narrow pieces.
 

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Super looking work ! And great amount of character in the book matched panels. It looks like your time and effort in setting up your equipment was well done and successful. With regard to trimming miters, I know there are 'miter trimmers' (for example, look on Amazon for "miter trimmer cutter"), but they are quite expensive and I'm not sure they do a much better job than your shooting board. They might be worth it if you were doing production work or making enough miters that cut the 'cost per slice' down, but it looks like your set up makes that unnecessary. By the way, thanks for your comments on the various tools you used and what you thought of them. And thanks Jamie for the miter sled for the tablesaw picture.

Good point, Steve...an accurate shooting board will negate the need for a miter knife. Having said that, it's good to have both...:grin:

I have the Lion miter knife and it is great for making smooth cuts on the cross grain side...but, it is no more accurate than the alignment put into it. The miter knife, as Tom pointed out, will not do well at all with larger pieces. Frames and small width pieces is its sweet spot. A shooting board, however, will slice any width piece it is made for. And again, it is no more accurate than its alignment.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My need is for taller sidewall pieces - 6 to 10 inches at best before I employ box or dovetail joints. I have an electronic blade angle indicator and will try that out on the TS - it’ll work on the RAS too but that saw has a cut length limit. I’m curious which saw is more stable for accuracy over the full length of the corner miters. Thanks again for all the kind remarks...
 

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My need is for taller sidewall pieces - 6 to 10 inches at best before I employ box or dovetail joints. I have an electronic blade angle indicator and will try that out on the TS - it’ll work on the RAS too but that saw has a cut length limit. I’m curious which saw is more stable for accuracy over the full length of the corner miters. Thanks again for all the kind remarks...
tablesaw
 

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I think it will be easier to make box mitered corners on the table saw with some sort of sled. If you make your own sled, using a large drafting triangle, or engineer's square, to set the back piece exactly 90 to the saw blade is essential. I got the Rockler draftsman square because it is thick and large.

If you're cutting mitered box corners you will need to make a sled that's a few inches wider than the larges box you are going to make. That will give you a little room to set up a stop block to make certain all opposite sides are exactly the same length. Cut one end first on all your pieces leaving a little extra outside length, set the stop block and cut the second end's miter.

With the blade tilted at 45 exactly, you will cut into the sled, so that would be a dedicated jig. If you build a jig to fit on the right side of the blade, it won't cut the jig, but you'll have to use some expendable wood as a backer to avoid tearout.

Handy to think this through for a jig of my own. I have a large chunk of maple waiting to become a box.

I will definitely use a long spline to strengthen the corners, and an engineer's square to make sure it's squared up before glueup.

I really love the bookmatched top you made for that box and will be doing that with something exotic.
 
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