Finger joints, also known as box joints, are used mostly for making boxes. The joint is distinctive because, when stained, it stands out due to the way that the wood picks up stain differently on face and end grains. Making a finger joint jig is so simple that to go out and purchase a complicated expensive jig makes little sense. Often, a woodworker has the one piece of lumber needed in the shop scrap bin. If necessary a DIY finger joint jig can be constructed in about 15 minutes.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 12-inch piece of 1-by-4 hardwood
- Table saw
- 2 wood screws, 7/8-inch
- Dado stack
- Power drill
- 3/16-inch bit
- 1 1/2-inch wood screw
On a table saw, rip a piece of 12-inch 1-by-4 hardwood stock to the depth of the joint you want to make. Set the remainder of the 1-by-4 piece aside. Set the table saw fence to the width of the desired joint and run the piece that was just cut off back through the saw. Cut two 2-inch lengths from this piece.
Set up a stacked dado head on the table saw to the desired width of the finger joint to be made.
Use the 1-by-4 that was previously set aside as a mitre extension. Position the mitre extension against the table saw mitre gauge so that the piece extends out well past the saw blade and attach it to the table saw mitre gauge with 7/8-inch wood screws. Run it through the dado blade.
Turn off the table saw and let the blade stop spinning. Unplug the table saw.
Position the mitre gauge so that the mitre extension is over the dado blade. Set the two 2-inch lengths of hardwood side by side width wise and lay them up against the blade that is furthest from the mitre gauge.
Attach the 1-inch piece, known as the key, that is furthest from the blade to the mitre extension by pre-drilling a 3/8-inch hole through the mitre extension and into the 2-inch piece, attaching them with a 1 1/2-inch wood screw. Save the other 2-inch piece to be used as a spacer. Your jig is now complete.
Building a DIY Finger Joint Jig
Take the first of the two pieces that you are going to join and hold it tight to the mitre extension and set it against the key. Make the first cut.
Place the notch that has just been cut over the key and repeat the cut. Repeat this step until you have cut finger joints in the length of the workpiece.
To cut the second piece to be joined, place the spacer next to the key and hold the workpiece firmly against the mitre extension and butted up against the spacer.
Remove the spacer and run the workpiece through the saw. Move the workpiece against the key. Make the next cut and move the workpiece so that the notch you cut is over the key. Repeat until joints are cut in the second workpiece.
Using the DIY Finger Joint Jig
Tips and warnings
- Always read and follow the directions on your power tools. Always wear safety glasses.
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