Adding dovetail keys to a small box is one way to strengthen the corners And with this unique jig its easy to rout the slots for these l

uilding simple boxes, like the one used for die router bit storage project featured on page 28, is rather straightforward. Make the sides, miter the ends, and glue the pieces together. But sometimes mitered joints need reinforcement. So I add dovetail keys at the corners,

JIG. In the past, I'd rout the slots for these keys on the router table. But Bernie Noe of Seattle, Washington, sent in an idea that uses a hand-held router. We took that idea and designed a jig that clamps to the side of a box, see Fig. 1.

This jig consists of just (wo parts, see drawing below. 'Illere's a hard-board template on top to support and guide the router. And a supjwrt block underneath to hold the template at

Dovetail Key Jig

the proper angle for routing die slots, are for the guide bushing on the

TEMPLATE. The template used for this router. About the only design require-

jig is a W'-tliick piece of hardboard ment when making the template is to with slots cut in one end. These slots make sure the slots are cut wide the proper angle for routing die slots, are for the guide bushing on the

TEMPLATE. The template used for this router. About the only design require-

jig is a W'-tliick piece of hardboard ment when making the template is to with slots cut in one end. These slots make sure the slots are cut wide

Slots in temp/ate'' guide router bushing to cut dovetail slots

Slots in temp/ate'' guide router bushing to cut dovetail slots

#8x%" Fh woodscrew

Template CA"-thick hardboard)

#8x%" Fh woodscrew

Template CA"-thick hardboard)

- Support

Position corner of jig on corner of box

Position corner of jig on corner of box

Clamp jig to box sides to hold it securely

Width of support matches width of box sides

Align center of template with center of jupport

Clamp jig to box sides to hold it securely

r enough to fit the outside diameter of the guide bushing you plan on using.

For the router bit case, 1 cut three slots and made the one in the middle wider, see detail 'a'. Simply "stop" the slot by drilling a hoie at one end and remove the waste in the middle.

support. Glued and screwed to the template is a l'/j "-thick support, see drawing and detail *b'. A45° angle cut on one end detennines the angle for the template. And before driving in the screws, I positioned the center of the template over the centerline of the support block.

using the jig. With the jig assembled, all you have to do is clamp it to one of the corners of the box, see Fig. 1, Then adjust the bit depth as needed, see Figs. 2a and 3a. In my case, the bit was extended below the template on the jig to create a W-deep slot, see Fig, 2a, The depth can vary, but if it's too deep, you'll rout through the inside of the box.

To rout the dovetail slots, the guide bushing follows the slots in the template, see Figs. 3 and 3b. Note: Don't lift up (lie router, otherwise youH dam age the template, keys. Once the slots are cut, keys can be made to fill them, I started with a thick blank and adjusted the height of the bit to equal the depth of the slots, see Fig. 4. Note: Use a 3/i"-thick blank for the small keys and 1 Vi"-thick piece for the large one.

Then sneak up on the thickness of the key for a snug fit. To save stock, I routed keys on both edges of the blank. It's a good idea to check the fit of all the keys in the slots, see Fig. 5.

When the keys fit, they can be ripped free, see Fig, 6. Don't worry about cutting them to an exact height. In fact, a small "cap" left on top makes it easier to handle the keys. Then glue the keys into the slots, see Fig. 7.

Once the glue dries, the keys need a little trimming. I used a small back saw to remove most of the waste, see Fig. 8, Finally, sand the keys flush with the side of die box, see Fig. 9. OS

flout keys on both edges of blank

f a*

Key

blank

111

Ji

f

H_i

"Leave a small "cap" on key when ripping it from the blank

NOTE: Apply glue to key and slot

Dovetail key

b. Feed bit slowly into workpiece fo create slots up router bit is in the slot

Bit rout inside

Make a test fit keys ir

Make a test fit keys ir

Dovetail key

NOTE: Apply glue to key and slot

Waste

Use a fine-tooth saw to trim away most of the waste

Sandpaper quickly removes remaining waste

Sane/ keys flush with box sides

Sandpaper quickly removes remaining waste

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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