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How to Make a Box Joint for Woodworking

Learn how to make a box joint from Makeville Studio in this Howcast woodworking video.


Box joint is second only to dovetails, in terms of the amount of glue area you get. And it's great for, that makes it great for drawers or anything that's going to get a lot of force put on it.

So, the idea behind box joint, though, is, you can see, is it's equal parts are taken out of each face of the wood. And so, you get this tabbed, slot design.

So, cutting these is usually done on a table saw or a router, where you're removing a square chunk each time you make one of these. And the only hard part about it is keeping track of which boards go with which. Because the mating piece is offset by one tooth.

So, keeping track of the pieces is the hard part. Actually cutting it, pretty easy.

And, to do that we have the dado blades. What we do is we're going to run these pieces of wood through the dado blade and space them out so that they come out evenly.

Now, there's a trick to doing this and that's what I'm going to show you here. We've added an extra piece of wood here on the fence. It's going to become our jig to make this joint.

But, the first step in doing this is we have to set the blade height. And, the blade height for cutting out these notches. We want pieces to be sticking out slightly after they are glued up so that we can plane them down. And, in order to do that we have to set the saw blade slightly above the thickness of the wood.

So that's what I'm doing now. I'm going to raise the blade up and just get it just above, a hair above, the top of this wood. Okay. Now that we're set.

First step is we don't even cut the wood, we're going to start making the jig. And we have to cut a slot in the jig at that height. So, we'll do that now.

This piece of wood, that we just cut a slot in, is going to become our jig. Now, we're going to fit this part in here and that's going to become an index that we're going to key off of.

So, you can see how it works on this already cut one. And basically, we're going to be setting of wood against that. And then we move it over every other cut. And, it positions the board in the right place to have the next slot cut.

The first step in cutting is we've got to offset that by a thickness, another thickness of wood. And we'll lock that all down onto, onto the fence. Okay. Now we're ready to start cutting.

And we can go. And now, we simply just take that, put it on top of the index and run the next one.

Alright. Now we're ready to cut the mating piece. And there's only one extra step we have to do. And that is just to offset the piece by that amount of the board's thickness.

So, we're putting this spacer in here to just set this board up. And now we can run it, start running through.

Alright. Okay. We've done with both pieces. And now they just mate up pretty nicely when you push them together.

So, here's the finished product. Your joints fit snugly together. There should be slightly proud of the surface that they're mating with so that you can just come across with a block plane and just shave them down.

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