Discover How to Make Uncomplicated Joints

Imagine routing perfect box joints whenever you want, without spending time setting up your router table.

This notion may seem incomplete because loop joints can be difficult to join. But it is not!

This template allows you to go directly from part milling to joint cutting; it's perfect for carpenters like me who love to make boxes in multiples.

Create a dedicated setup that creates perfect joints every time

A box joint consists of pins and sockets of the same width. To create a box joint, pass a series of grooves (the grooves) that are spaced so that the wood between them forms the dowels.
Properly sizing the pins to fit the sockets perfectly is the trickiest part.

In order for the joints of the box to stay together, the pins and sockets must be shifted, where one part has pins, the other has sockets.

Sometimes called "finger knuckles" because the pins resemble the fingers of a bent pair of hands, box knuckles are popular because they are strong, attractive, and easy to make, as long as you have a reliable jig.

Think of the template shown here as a miniature router table dedicated to making a specific join. You can build it in a day, using plywood or MDF, a few pieces of solid wood, and a small router.

Dial-in the perfect fit once (it's easy, I'll show you) and the template is ready to go over and over again.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about How to Make a Box Joint Jig

Source: Make Something

Make the template

Start by cutting a couple of curls into a blank that contains the plywood base of the template and the sled.

After cutting the blank into two pieces, notice that the sheets are on the top face of the base and the bottom face of the sled.

Turn the sled over and cut a die approximately 2-1/4 ″ from the trailing edge. This die is perpendicular to the running dice.

Make the walkways and fences out of solid wood and plan them to fit the thresholds.

Runners should allow the sled to slide smoothly on the base without binding or rocking. If the guides are too loose, the template will not be needed. If they are too tight, the template just won't work.

The fence should get tighter, almost needing to be forced into place. This pressed fit is necessary to allow fine adjustment of the insole.

Cut the guide so that its length matches the width of the sled so that later, during fine-tuning, you can feel the slightest changes in position between these two parts.
Install the router base and guides on the template base.

Mark a centerline for the router, then drill a hole in this line that is large enough for the router clips to pass through, 4 ″ from one end of the base.

Remove the motherboard from the router, center it in the hole you just made, and then carefully transfer the mounting hole locations to the base of the template.

Use these marks to drill holes for the mounting screws, recessing them into the top face of the base. You will need 1 ″ flat head screws to mount the router base.

I decided to use larger (5/32 ″) screws as well, so I tapped the mounting holes in the base of the router to accommodate them.

Secure the guides with screws after drilling countersunk holes in the bottom of the sled.

Dedicate the sleigh

Place the template base on the corner of your worktable. Mount the housing on the base and make sure it slides properly.

Screw the stopper block into the base, positioned to stop the sled when the router bit is fully seated in the fence.

Remove the sled and install some on the router. An up-cut spiral drill works best because it minimizes breakage.

The width of the pins and sockets you want to make determines the size of the drill you will use. Your choice of drill also dedicates the sled to make a specific box joint - the sled shown here was made with a 3/8 ″ diameter. bit, so it is dedicated to making box joints with 3/8 ″ wide pins and plugs.

If you are used to making box joints in a variety of sizes, just make additional sets of sleds that are dedicated to the proper router bits.
Open a slot in the sled. Lower the drill below the surface of the sled. Place the sled level with the rear edge of the base and secure the two parts together.

Turn on the router and gradually lift the drill to poke a hole in the sled. Turn off the router, reduce the bit to 1/8 ″ exposure, and remove the clamps. Now examine the groove. Turn on the router, push the sled forward to the stopper block and pull it flush against the back of the base.

Pick up the bit another 1/8 ″ and do it again. Repeat this process until you pass the sled. Complete the job by lifting the drill above the sled surface to the same dimension as its diameter (3/8 ″ in this case) to complete the slot in the guide.

Install Key

A solid plate switch indexes the workpiece to route to each socket. This switch installs in a second square slot that passes through the fence. The space between these grooves corresponds to their width. In the template shown here, the slots are 3/8 "wide, so they are 3/8" apart.

Start by milling a long square key blank to match the width of the slot in the box. The resistance you feel when inserting the wrench into this slot will be the same as it will feel each time you index a workpiece in the jig, so snug but not forced fit is ideal.

Mark the location of the second slot in the fence. Next, put the fence back on the sled, carefully lining up your mark with the other side of the slot on the sled.

Remove the stopper block from the template. Then cut a square key slot through the fence. Complete this groove in several passes, gradually enlarging the hole. Then install the switch and reinstall the stop block.

Route of a test board

Raise the drill slightly above the thickness of the material you plan to use. Cut the parts you intend to join to a greater width.

It is best to wait until all the pins and sockets have been routed before cutting these pieces to the final width as this allows you to line up the uneven edges before making the final cuts.

After passing all the accessories, turn this piece to its opposite side and use it to pass the first accessory to the second test piece.

Then unlock the remaining plugs. Assemble the gasket to test the fit.

Tune the Joint

If the gasket is too tight, tap the right end of the guide to reduce the gap between the key and the routed groove. This reduces the width of each pin. If the fit is too loose, tap the left end to widen each pin.
Since the fence and the sled are the same sizes, you can use your fingers to accurately assess these small adjustments.

Route additional test joints to evaluate your settings. When the gasket fits snugly, install the screws to lock the guide in place.

Adapt the Sled

You can use the same set of sleds to cut different thicknesses of stock box joints, but you'll quickly discover a problem: When you route joints in thin material after routing joints in thicker material, the top of each socket tends to break. the back.

This break occurs because the routed groove in the fence is too high to fully support the shorter fixtures required by the thinner material.

The solution is to install an auxiliary fence with a shorter slot that fully supports these shorter exits.

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