How to Make Box Joints With a Table Saw

Written by mark morris
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How to Make Box Joints With a Table Saw
A table saw can make beautiful joints, including the box joint. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A box joint is the dovetail's flat-bottomed cousin. Also known as a finger joint, this square joint is a good joint to learn for box making, as it provides corners as strong as the material itself. You will need to set up a 1/4-inch dado blade and measure precisely to get good results. Check your fence setting with the tape measure before each cut to prevent accidental misalignment.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wood clamp
  • Jointing lumber
  • Tape measure
  • Table saw

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  1. 1

    Clamp the two pieces to be joined together with the joint ends flush. Offset one edge of the pieces by 1/4 inch. Use a tape measure to mark the front piece every 1/4 inch.

  2. 2

    Remove the arbor nut in the centre of the saw's blade with a wrench and replace the blade with a 1/4-inch stack dado blade. Tighten the nut to lock it in place. Adjust the fence to 1/4 inch from the blade. Locate the blade height adjustment on the side of the saw body and set the height of the blade at 1/4 inch.

  3. 3

    Start the saw and run the end of the wood to be jointed over the blade to create a notch in the corner of the offset piece. Stop the blade by turning off the saw. Adjust the fence out from the blade an additional 1/2 inch. Start the blade and run the boards over again. Continue moving the fence out 1/2 inch each time you run the boards over again to create a notched end on each board.

  4. 4

    Fit the boards together to form the joint. Tap it lightly with a hammer to seat it properly. Pull the joint apart and add a drop of wood glue in each notch. Fit the joint back together and clamp it in place until the glue is dry.

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