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Best way to cut miters for boxes

barry richardson

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I usually don't finish the inside first, but its a good idea. I usually wait about a half hour after the assembly, when the squeeze-out glue is kinda rubbery, then shave it off with a chisel. I use yellow wood glue, the brand is not important IMO. It's better not to glue panels, so they can move with humidity...
 

DLJeffs

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Thanks so much for the quick replies and advice @Ray D and @barry richardson . Everything you said makes perfect sense to me. There's no doubt in my mind you're helping me avoid wasting precious wood, time and probably body parts. My retired cabinet maker-neighbor stopped by while I was working and he said the same thing about glue. He said if I apply any finish to the inside before glue up the glue will come off easily provided I get to it before it dries hard. I started my boxes today, using those gorgeous spalted walnut thins and curly maple boards (from @rob3232 and @FranklinWorkshops . I used my miter sled to made the lid today. Worked great, nice tight miters and it's square too. The lid is 6"X9" and the box sides will be 4" deep so the inside dimension will be around 3 1/2". Cut the boards for the sides and cut the dados for the bottom into them. Tomorrow I'll do some sanding and hopefully glue up the lid. Then the critical part - using my other sled to cut the miters for the box sides. Stay tuned. And thanks again!

exploded lid.jpg

dry fit lid.jpg

A little burning on the maple I'll have to sand out. It's a brand new blade and I don't think I could have cut any faster. Guess that's just a characteristic of the hard maple.
 
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Ray D

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Looking good @DLJeffs. That’s some beautiful walnut. Are you going to spline the corners?
 
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DLJeffs

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Yessir, that's the plan. I have some ink black ebony scrap left over from reel seats that I hope to make splines for both the lid and box sides from. Primarily copying your design (do I need to pay royalty fees?). Might try a little different "handle" design tho.
 
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Ray D

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Yessir, that's the plan. I have some ink black ebony scrap I hope to make splines for both the lid and box sides from. Primarily copying your design (do I need to pay royalty fees?). Might try a little different "handle" design tho.
looking forward to seeing the final box. No royalty fee...lol. Im pretty sure I copied the design off the web.
 

Mike1950

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Ray, Mike, Barry and others,
A couple additional questions for you:

1). I assume you finish or nearly finish your boxes before assembly (at least the interiors would be easier if finished before making it into a box). Ray's in particular with the lid attached as part of the assembly. So are you completely finishing (e.g. final coat of finish, etc) or just getting it ready for the final coat and then assembling the box?

2). What glue are you using for your box miters and splines? I ask because if you're finishing the inside, I assume you have to be very careful not to get squeeze out onto your finished box, right? So does super glue work better for that? And if so, what viscosity works best - thin, medium or gel?

3). When using a "panel" type lid, (e.g a thin walnut inside a frame) are you gluing the panel in? Or just gluing the frame miters?

4). This one is for Ray in particular - I like the little handle design you use. Do you simply glue that to the lid or are you inserting small dowels or something to strengthen that attachment?

@Ray D @Mike1950 @barry richardson
I sand in side of box but no finish. sharp chisel removes excess glue when half dry.
2 titebond 2 or 3- but glue is not as important as tight joint.
3 most of coved boxes use a bridal joint frame and inset that floats in a 1/16" groove.
 

DLJeffs

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Thanks Mike. I'm not ready to try your coved boxes yet. And I'll have to Google "bridal joint frame and inset".
 
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DLJeffs

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Thanks Troy. FYI: I am in a holding pattern on those agate table lamps. I need to get the lamp parts before I cut any more wood. But I have those on order and will get back to it as soon as I can.
 

DLJeffs

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So far so good. Base cut out and dry fit using my sled. Only had one joint that needed the tiniest of tweaking. The bottom fit nicely too. Clouded up and looks like rain so had to put stuff away. Next up sanding and making the handle, cutting the slot in the box side where the handle fits, and figuring out where the pins will go. Everything just dry fit in the pics.

base dry fit.jpg

base and lid dry fit.jpg
 

DLJeffs

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It is all in class room. Box looks very nice.

I saw that. Your boxes are gorgeous. I just not sure I'm ready to tackle that angled saw blade technique. I'm still learning to cut square 45 degree miters!

I did lots of sanding the last couple days. Got my agate lamp boxes sanded and got this box sanded. Applied the first coat of General Finish clear satin. I am waiting for the lamp components to arrive before I cut anymore wood or drill holes for those lamps. So I'll probably work in figuring out where the hinge pins go and drill those holes. Then sand and apply a second coat to the box interior. And sand and keep finishing the box lid and exterior. Then I'll be ready to glue the lid and then the box body itself. I'll post pics as I go.

Oh, I meant to say...the curl on those maple thins reappeared once I put the first coat of finish on. I think it'll only get better from here on out. They look really nice. My mahogany is not all uniform color but that's the way it goes.
 
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Mike1950

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I saw that. Your boxes are gorgeous. I just not sure I'm ready to tackle that angled saw blade technique. I'm still learning to cut square 45 degree miters!

I did lots of sanding the last couple days. Got my agate lamp boxes sanded and got this box sanded. Applied the first coat of General Finish clear satin. I am waiting for the lamp components to arrive before I cut anymore wood or drill holes for those lamps. So I'll probably work in figuring out where the hinge pins go and drill those holes. Then sand and apply a second coat to the box interior. And sand and keep finishing the box lid and exterior. Then I'll be ready to glue the lid and then the box body itself. I'll post pics as I go.

Oh, I meant to say...the curl on those maple thins reappeared once I put the first coat of finish on. I think it'll only get better from here on out. They look really nice. My mahogany is not all uniform color but that's the way it goes.
Cove is easier to do than getting those miters right. Boxes look fabulous.
 

DLJeffs

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Mostly I've been busy with boring sanding and finishing stuff. But today I played around with an idea I have for the little handle detail. I was worried about how well this ebony would adhere to the maple. So I decided to drill and install a 1/8" dowel / peg to reinforce the joint. I also decided to put my new trim router to use and routed a very thin inset for the handle. Finally I took creative liberty with Ray's design and rounded my handle and put a little curved underlip on it. Here's a couple photos to better illustrate what I'm describing. Thanks to Ray for some extra advice and guidance. Once I have the lid insert all finished i'll glue up the lid.

lid with handle detail.jpg

lid handle dowel detail.jpg

lid frame with handle set in place.jpg

lid handle installed detail.jpg
 

Ray D

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That’s going to look nice. My wife loves ebony lumber so I try to use it somewhere on each box I make her.
 

DLJeffs

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I glued up the lid this morning and started thinking about the spline cuts. Here's a saw blade 101 question: does it matter the type of blade to use for the spline kerfs? I have several combo blades, 60 teeth and one 80 teeth. I also have a 200 tooth plywood blade. Looking down the blades on edge, I can see the 'V' shape left by the teeth, except for the plywood blade. One blade seems to have a less pronounced 'V' shape. Do I need to buy a new blade that doesn't leave that 'V' shape or will it disappear when I glue in the splines?
 

DLJeffs

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Thanks Mike. Do you get any tear out using the dado blade? I do have nice Freud dado set my kids bought me a couple years ago. It has a 1/8" wide blade for each outer blade and those 4 bladed stacking blades to get the desired width. I assume you're using one of the 1/8" wide blades.
 
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