I need to make a large number of small simple boxes, fairly quickly.
Dovetails are beautiful, but too time-consuming in this instance, and
also I can't afford a jig that can do random spacing. I like box joints,
but using the technique of building the box and then cutting off the
lid leaves a joint missing part of its width, which doesn't look good to
me. Also, making stop dadoes to hold top and bottom panels is a little
more time-consuming than through dadoes.
Eventually I decided on mitered corners with two contrasting splines in
the base and one in the top, which would be attractive and reasonably
strong. I have a shop-built miter sled for my table saw, which makes nice
miters, but the saw doesn't raise high enough above the sled to cut miters
in 3.5" wide stock, which is what I'm using for the boxes. I've made up a
couple nice samples using the router table and a chamfer bit, but this
takes too long and requires a lot of fiddly set-up.
Anyway, to get to my question, do inexpensive miter saws, like, say, the
Delta 36-075, make an accurate enough miter for this purpose? I'm
considering trying this, since I think I can justify the cost of the saw
because of upcoming extensive work on the moldings of my beat-up old house
in the near future.
I'll be grateful for any opinions, and thanks.
I think I understand what you're trying to do. Here's how I learned it:
I cut my box miters on my tablesaw, laying the workpiece flat, using a
sled, and laying the blade over to 45 degrees, measured very carefully.
Unless your stock is thicker than 1.5", it should clear. This method is a
lot more accurate than using my CMS, which has a height limitation anyway,
and needs to be fiddled with to control tearout.
Build the sled to be stiff, and the runners to be snug, so things are
repeatable. A good, sharp, stiff full kerf blade helps a whole lot as
well. Blade flex will look like burning and curved miters.
Cut in one direction only, and don't pull the sled back without removing
the workpiece. A hold down clamp also helps immensely.
I've successfully built a number of boxes in this size range, using these
methods. They are taught in an excellent Adult Ed class....
This is the way I'm going, for now. Today I built a little flat mitering
sled, like a small crosscut sled (I'm making small boxes.) I discovered
that if the sides are crosscut to length, I can put a stop block across
the kerf from the workpiece, so that the miter cuts just to the edge of
the wood (a little trial and error needed here.) My one problem is accurately
setting the blade at
45 degrees. I use a plastic drafting triangle, but often as not, when I
make a first test cut and reverse one side, I don't get a 90 degree joint
and have to crank the saw one way or the other slightly. Any tips for
getting a quick repeatable setup to lay the blade over to exactly 45
degrees? One thought has occurred to me-- I might get a 10" length of 2X2
and cut a partial kerf through it when I get the angle locked in
correctly. Then I could slip it on the saw blade to reset the angle and
when the 2X2 is parallel to the table, the blade would be at 45. seems
like minor errors would be more apparent with the length of the setting
stick waving around.
Thanks much for the advice.
I use a large, good quality drafting triangle I got at Staples, to set the
45. To be truthful, I used it to set the stop on my Unisaw at 45, and now
the triangle just comes out to check things now and then. Haven't had to
reset the stop. The back of my sled has a replaceable slat clamped in,
with the 45 shown by the blade kerf. That helps both in making sure the
blade angle is correct, and as a setting for where the cut is actually
going to take place.
In my not so long experience, miters are as likely to open from wood
movement, overclamping, faulty tablesaw procedures and random wierdness in
the universe. I cut them as close as possible, and glue using blue tape as
an alignment tool. Most of the strength in the joint is going to come from
the miter key, in my boxes at least.
Since my work generally ends up with a shellac finish over oil, followed by
wax, the procedures seem to be sufficient. Other finishes may be less
forgiving. With my skill level, forgiving is good.
Doug Stowe's recent book, "The Complete Illustrated Guide to Boxmaking",
from Taunton, is an excellent resource. His 'day job' is teaching young
students, and his presentation style is clear and detailed.
Have fun with this. One of the great things about making boxes is that you
can practice and succeed with small pieces, that cabinet and furniture
makers consider scrap. Even the fanciest of desk boxes seldom uses more
than a board foot or two.
On Thu, 29 Jul 2004 09:26:19 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I've seen only one, and that was some time back, but it was a metal
[older solid type] jig that would cut to 45 [even approx is OK], then
when turned and reset would do a matching cut to make the two 90
here's an opinion:
a decent miter saw can do it, but the setup will be fiddly. small
amounts of tilt in your part standin on edge like that will ruin the
joint. but hey, you need the miter saw anyway, so get it and see if it
will work for you.
I'd probably end up doing it on the table saw with a sled. if you have
a way to quickly and accurately set the bevel to 45 and back run the
stock flat on the table. if not build a 45 degree sled.
On Wed, 28 Jul 2004 08:45:09 -0700, bridger wrote:
Hey, I never thought about a 45 degree sled, but I bet if I put a little
thought into it, I could come up with a sled that would have adjustable
integral stop blocks so I could make a lot of duplicate cuts. Does anyone
know of a source for a good 45 degree sled design? I'm guessing you'd
need a ramp on either side of the blade so you could cut miters on the
same side of the stock. That would allow you to pre-rout dadoes and
roundovers and then cut the miters. Probably be faster and safer than
routing little pieces after the miters were cut.
Thanks for the thought!
Okay, that was dumb of me. I guess the sides would have to be crosscut to
length before mitering, wouldn't they? Has anyone seen the 45 degree jig
described in Ian Kirby's table saw book? I saw a mention of it in a
google of the newsgroup, but the local libraries don't seem to have a copy.
Wed, Jul 28, 2004, 2:36pm (EDT+4) email@example.com (ray) mutters:
<snip> I have a shop-built miter sled for my table saw, which makes nice
miters, but the saw doesn't raise high enough above the sled to cut
miters in 3.5" wide stock, <snip>
Either you are going to make one hell of a sturdy box, your sled is
made out of very thick wood, or you are standing your pieces on edge to
Probably not the first, and if it's the second, make another sled.
if it's the third, I'd say make a sled you can lay the pieces flat on,
and tilt your blade. OR, make the sled to hold the piece tilted, to be
cut with the blade straight.
I don't know why you have such thoughts about the router. Seems
pretty basic to me.
Expensive tennis shoes won't cure a sore toe.
- Bazooka Joe
JERUSALEM RIDGE http://www.banjer.com/midi/jerridge.mid
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