Making Box Joints

Simon_WattsThis is a useful joint which can be made with four cuts on the table saw. It’s especially handy when making drawers, much quicker than dovetails but almost equally durable. You need a good blade for this, preferably an 80-tooth carbide-tipped cross-cut blade. Don’t use a rip or combination blade because they make too ragged a cut.

First, draw out the joint, full-size, on thin cardboard and cut it out with a razor knife so you have the exact profile of both parts of the joint. Cut each piece to length, square the ends, and make the first cut (A). the put the work on edge and make the second cut (B). You may need to attach a higher fence for stability to the one that came with your table saw.

Make cuts (C) and (D) in the matching board, but be sure to cut some scrap pieces of the same thickness. Then you can adjust the joint by that woodworkers’ friend, Mr. Trial and Error, until you have a snug, push fit.

When assembling the joints, use small-headed nails to secure the sides until the glue sets. Be sure to square the box (or drawer) by adjusting the diagonals with a clamp.

If you are making drawers, especially if they are large ones, be sure that the drawer fronts are attached as shown in diagram (E). They are then mechanically locked, and you are less likely to pull the front off if the drawer sticks on some hot, humid summer day.

Posted in: