I don't see the problem. Use a router with a bit the size of the
desired fingers. Same mechanism as half-blind dovetails.
Not much point though except maybe on a really tiny box where you could
use a 1/8" straight bit for itty bitty fingers.
The problem with that approach is that the diameter of the router bit has to
be dead nuts accurate, which in my experience most of them aren't, or else
you need to do some fine tweaking on spacing to avoid a joint that is too
loose or too tight. With dovetails you can fine tune the fit with cut
depth, with box joints you don't have that option.
The Leigh jig uses an elliptical bushing and a bit smaller than the
desired finger size. You turn the router base slightly to adjust the fit.
Woodworking magazine used a pattern bit smaller than the desired finger
size and aluminum tape on the sides of the fingers to adjust the fit.
Actually you adjust the bushing slightly and keep the router orientated the
same for a repeatable cut.
I have to wonder however why they changed over to this set upas the D series
system used a tapered bushing. Rotating the router had no adverse effect on
the cut assuming the set up had the bit centered in the bushing.
Well for starters dovetail joints look good and "right". I know that is purely
subjective, but I don't think I alone there. The machinery to make them is
readily available for high end mass production, cabinet shops, and the home
shop. They can even be made by hand. This indicates to me that they will be
around for a long time to come.
None of the above can be said about the Knapp joint.
Box joints meet most of the above but they just don't look right on
furniture to me. For utility use though they are fine. (IMHO.)
I don't see why one couldn't make a half blind box joint just as easily as a
half blind dovetail joint by using a similar template and router except using
a straight bit.
There is lots of precident in architecture/design previously functional
elements becomming a part of the aesthetic domain long after their origin
purpose became moot.
By analogy, hops used to be a beer presevative, now it's a required
I have no doubt that maufacturers will continue to mass-produce ineligantly
proportioned DT's obscured by epoxy-coated drawer slides in "cherry-finish"
For me, I don't think I will ever make a dovetail again for purely
functional reasons. I've cut them by hand and I have cut them with a jig.
I'm sure that I will do it for "heirloom" work (BTW, kitchen drawers to not
quality), but certainly would not bother anymore for a shop drawer.
A lock-rabbet in conjuction with a glued-in plywood bottom creates drawer
that would only come apart by smashing the drawer to bits. That's strong
enough for my needs, it presents face grain on the front and is a whole lot
quicker to execute.
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