How to make keys for dovetailed mitre splines?

I have The New Router Handbook by Patrick Spielman. On page 307 therein, the keys for the dovetailed mitre cut are shown inserted into the dovetail cut across the corner of the glued mitre joint. I wish to make that joint and the keys. Actually I wish to make the key *stock* from which to cut the individual keys. Looking at their ends, the keys appear to be truncated triangles with their bases deep into the glued mitre joint. I do not have a good router table, but I do have a Crapsman metal table-top affair for my old Crapsman 1/4" router. I hope to be able to make the stock with my TS. Is there a 1/4" router bit which looks like this: > < to make the key stock? That would appear to be dangerous though. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Hoyt W.
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I think that the router method is covered in one of Doug Stowe's box making books, as well as in Gary Rogowski's Joinery book in the new Taunton Complete Illustrated Guide series. I'd go look it up, but those volumes are boxed right now, until I finish the new bookshelves for the den.
It takes a standard router table and fence to do this safely, in my opinion. Yours may be up to it, but you'd have to be the judge. Essentially, you are making the inverse of the cut that the DT bit cut in the miter corner, so you want to use the same bit.
Square up a piece of the key stock on your TS, then set your table to cut the first side of the key stock. The cut will be less than full height of the key stock, and look somewhat like the number 7. The excess height is important for holding the stock safely, and guiding against the fence, so don't trim it until the last. Now turn the stock around, adjust your fence for a light cut, and cut the '7' again. Sneak up on the fence adjustments, and take light passes, until your key stock fits your miter dovetail slot.
Or you can do this with hand tools. That's how I often make the key stock for the mitered boxes I build. There's just not enough gain to be had in the setting up of all of the machines to do a small batch. The work is quiet, and, while I HAVE cut myself with a sharp plane iron, it only took a bandaid and a day to heal.
Patriarch, enjoying the quiet
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"patriarch <" wrote:
<sniped>

Thank you Patriarch. You helped me a lot. I only need to do a 7 cut on *both* sides of the work piece with the TS. Or I could just use a the same 1/4" dovetail router bit I use to cut the the opening, flip the stock and do it again. That should work - perhaps.
Hoyt W.
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I was thinking the router method. I haven't tried the tablesaw approach, but I consider the router to be somewhat more precise when I'm nudging a piece to a very close fit.
But yeah, that's the ticket.
Patriarch
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I do it without. It certainly needs a jig, but given the size of picture frames, I'm happier about clamping the jig to the frame and using that as the guide than I am trying to feed a frame through my table, whilst resting one corner on a sliding jig.
My jig is simply a triangle of MDF with two guide bars underneath and a couple of stopped slots in the top for the cutter. I clamp it to the outside of the frame, butted against the bars, and slide my router along another bar on the top at 45 degrees. There are two slots, to permit different frame stock widths (there's a bar either side, which also makes it a very solid jig). Mine is dedicated to one router and one baseplate size, but you could easily make it to run against the edge with a router fence, rather than fit the guide bars.
For making the key stock, I just use a block plane. I'd probably make up batches on the router table (many frames' worth) if I did this regularly, but it's an easy enough task to hand-plane them from a strip. It's only a short length, so keeping the size accurate over that distance isn't too difficult.
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