Bottom For Finger Joint

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The curved sides on this box make the fingers look curved too. But the box and the fingers start off square — the sides are curved after it's assembled.

1 fs always amazing to me how one JL simple detail can change the whole look and feel of a project. Take this box, for instance. After building several square boxes, I built this small box with its gently curved sides.

Now, you might think that these curves would make this box complicated to build, but it's really not. The fingers are cut while the box is square. And the lid starts out square, too. In fact, the curves are cut only after the box and lid are pretty much complete.

BUILD BOX. To build the box, I started out with 3/4"-thick maple stock and cut the sides (A) and ends (B) to final length. But I left them a little wide at this point. Then I cut the fingers on each of the pieces, see draw ing below. (For more on cutting finger joints, see the article on page 14.)

When trimming the box pieces to final width after cutting the fingers, I did something a bit out of the ordi nary for finger joints. I trimmed the side pieces so there's a finger at the bottom but a slot at the top, see drawing. And the end pieces are just the opposite; there's a slot at the bottom

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Finger Joints Woodworking

NOTE: Cut box pieces to final width after cutting finger joints

Carpentry Joints

NOTE: Box bottom made from 1/4"-thick hardwood

NOTE: Cut box pieces to final width after cutting finger joints

NOTE: Box bottom made from 1/4"-thick hardwood

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and a finger at the top. This allows for the finger-sized chamfers that are routed later along the bottom edge.

Now, grooves can be cut in the box pieces, and a VV'-thick hardwood bottom (C) can be cut to size and rabbeted to fit the grooves, see detail 'a' on page 8 and the article on page 14.

ADD LID. After the box is assembled, work can begin on the lid (D), see drawing on page 8. Since it matches the size of the box (5y4" x 7XA"), I could have cut the lid from a single board, but I decided to glue up two pieces of W'-thick mahogany to reduce the chance of cupping.

After the lid blank is cut to final size, I rabbeted its bottom edges so it would fit into the box, see Fig. 1. This rabbet should match the thickness of the box sides PA"). But don't try to cut them exactly to size the first time. It's better to sneak up on the final width of the rabbet so you end up with a tight fit, see Fig. la.

CUT CURVES. When the lid fits the box, if s time to cut the curves. I used double-sided carpet tape to hold the lid to the box so I could cut them both at the same time, see Fig. 2. But don't use too much carpet tape here, or it'll be hard to remove the lid later.

To lay out the curves, I simply laid out three points (one at the center and two more V2" in from the outside corners), see template at left. Then I connected them, drawing the gentle curve freehand. But you could also photocopy the template at 200% and trace around it, see Fig. 3.

With the curves drawn on the lid, they can be roughed out on the band saw, see Fig. 4. There's no trick here; just stay about Vie" outside each line.

PLUG GROOVES & SAND. Now while the box and lid are still rough, I plugged

Finger Joints Put TogetherBottom For Finger Joint Box

the exposed grooves and trimmed the plugs flush. Then I clamped the box in the vise and hand sanded everything smooth, see Fig. 5. (The box and lid should still be taped together at this point.)

ROUT CHAMFERS. The last step is to rout a chamfer around the box and lid, see Figs. 6 and 6a.

The idea here is to align the cham fer bit with the first finger at the bottom of the box, see Fig. 6a. So I routed the chamfer around the bottom edges of the box first, starting with the ends and then chamfering the sides. Then rout an identical chamfer around the top edges of the lid.

Now the lid can be removed from the box, and a couple coats of a wipe-on finish can be applied. 0

Auxiliary fence

Curved Joints

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Waste

Sneak on width until lid fits tight in box

Cut rabbets on ends of lid first to prevent chipout

Auxiliary fence

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Waste

Cut rabbets on ends of lid first to prevent chipout

Sneak on width until lid fits tight in box

Cutting Box Joints With Scroll Saw

Template

Trace curves to lid

Template

Trace curves to lid

Finger Joint Pattern
Waste
Archive Storage Box With Lid Pattern
Chamfer lid and box bottom

BBWiBHBI

Miter Joints For Doghouse

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Responses

  • yonatan
    How to build a box with finger joints?
    3 months ago

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