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Finger Joints / Box Joints on the Mill

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  • #31
    Joe, you can certainly work up a way to cut the joints on the mill, but I think you would be very happy cutting the joints with the tablesaw. Yes, the wear would be a problem used as you describe, but think about long wooden runners. If you use a pair of wooden runners fitted to the slot width at the front and back of the saw table and long enough that they still are guided at the front edge of the saw table when the jig is centered over the blade, you will have an accurate guide all the way through the cut even though the center of the slot is worn badly.
    Make the jig out of two boards set 90 degrees. Make the runners out of two straight grained boards, maple or oak work well. Fasten one of the runners as square as possible to the bottom of the jig board with glue and a couple brads. Lay the second runner in the other table slot, put a couple drops of glue on it, and lay the jig in place while the glue sets. Then put some brads through that runner into the bottom of the jig to keep it there. Now you have a structure to work with. Add another vertical board to the front working face of the jig with clamps. Set up your dado blade to the width and height of the fingers you want to cut and make a pass through the front two boards. Now make a couple inch long piece of wood that just fits into the slot and then cut that into two pieces. Remove the clamps, glue one of these pieces into the slot in the front board and shift that front board to the right using the other piece as a gage from the finger to the next cut. Make a pass through the blade to cut the new slot. That's all there is to it. Save the gage block for setup (one board starts against the pin, the next starts a space from the pin).

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    • #32
      Originally posted by ptjw7uk
      All the finger joints I have made dont have clearance!
      If you have the right setup then they just fit together, just dont try taking them apart all that often or youll ruin the job!
      Really for machine setups and mass production to get them right.

      Peter
      I agree. Tight joints are possible on the table saw despite inherant play that exists in the miter slot. I measured the fore/aft play in my box joint jig fence at the table saw blade to be +0.005/-0.005, which feels pretty sloppy, yet the box joints I just did are extremely tight. Personally, I think much has to do with the quality and adjustability of the jig. Lots of folks have built and have had very good success with ShopNotes' jig, which has micro adjustments for both joint width and joint spacing. I have included a pic of a box I just finished and a few pics of the ShopNotes jig. I would be curious to know how much play you have in your miter slot.
      [IMG][/IMG]
      [IMG][/IMG]
      [IMG][/IMG]
      [IMG][/IMG]

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      • #33
        Nice Jig,
        I built the same one many years ago. That was from ShopNotes I think.
        Dave

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