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Rabbet Case Joints

A rabbet is a recess cut across the end or along the edge of a board. Essentially it is a dado that has one side off the end or edge of the board.

Rabbet joints usually only present end grain to long grain surfaces for gluing, and since this is a relatively weak situation, rabbet joints should be supplemented with fasteners.

Rabbet joints are primarily found at the corners of cases, such as between drawer sides and fronts, or top-and-bottom to sides of vertical cases.

When referring to rabbet joints at the end of a board, the depth is the distance measured from the face of the board, and the width is the distance measured from the end of the board. The cheek is the face formed on the tenon produced by the rabbet, and the shoulder is the face with end grain inside the portion that was rabbeted.

Single-Rabbet Joint

This is the most basic form of rabbet joint. It is formed by having the rabbet on only one board, and that rabbet is the full width of the mating board. The depth of the rabbet is usually at least one half of the width, and the deeper it is made the less end grain will be visible. Taken to an extreme, the depth can be such that only a thin veneer strip remains to cover the width of the mating board, but then the joint is almost a butt joint since the rabbet lip no longer provides structural support, only an aesthetic veneer to cover end grain.

Double-Rabbet Joint

When both pieces recieves a rabbet it is referred to as a double-rabbet joint.

Mitered Rabbet

Mitered rabbets provide the appearance of a mitered corner, while providing positive registration for easy clamping and assembly. Once assembled, this joint also provides additional resistance to shear and racking.

To construct mitered rabbets, one board receives a rabbet that has a depth that is (usually) half its thickness and a width the full thickness of the mating board. The mating board would have a rabbet which is the same as its mate’s depth, but only half the width. The remaining tenon is mitered.

Mitered Rabbet With Dowels

A further variation with a mitered rabbet is to introduce dowels or biscuits to further lock the two boards together. Drilling perfectly aligned holes is not possible without a jig or appropriate boring machine, but if it is available the creation of the required holes is a simple process. The benefit the dowels provide is positive registration during the assembly and glueup phase, and it also adds considerable resistance to joint separation.

Dovetailed Rabbet

If one rabbet is cut with an angled shoulder and the other board with a matching angled cheek, the two boards join with a dovetail shaped joint. This is slightly more resistant to racking than a conventional rabbet joint.

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Multiple-Tenon Case Joints

Mortise-and-tenon joints are usually considered frame joints, but they serve an important purpose in case construction as well.

Multiple-tenon joints for case construction are primarily used for center supports, and seldom, if ever, for the edge of the case. Because of this, the joint has two primary functions: to support the load that might be placed on the board, and to lock the board in place to prevent it from moving. At first look, a multiple-tenon joints resemble blind stopped dado joints, however the multiple-tenons offer some advantages. The first is that board with the mortises is not weakened from having a full-length dado cut through it as in the dado joint. The second is that the multiple tenons add more gluing surface area. And finally multiple-tenon joints provide positive registration for board placement to keep the board from shifting. A convenient side-effect of that increased gluing surface area is that the joint can be used in situations when it needs to hold the case sides together instead of just resting in position.

The tenons can be made either blind (not visible from the surface of the joint), or through (where the tenons are visible from the exterior of the joint). Through tenons are traditionally secured in place using a small wedge that is inserted into a cut that is made into the end grain of each tenon. This wedge can even be made with a contrasting wood to add visual detail, or it can be made from the same wood so as to not draw attention to the joint.

The tenons of multiple-tenon joints are customarily the full thickness of the stock, providing incredible strength when used for shelving. As the board becomes wider, more tenons should be used to provide more distributed support. In this respect, multiple-tenon joints are similar to box joints except they are located in the center of boards instead of the end of boards.

Twin-Tenon Case Joints

One variation of the multiple-tenon case joint is to use a pair of mortises and tenons. Visually, this gives the joint the appearance of a multiple-tenon joint being constructed on a blind dado, and it gives some of the same benefits. When the board is placed in the mortises, the load rests on the dado portion, while the tenons hold the board in place and prevent it from being pulled out of the joint.

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Multiple-Spline Case Joints

Multiple-spline joints are created by cutting slots in both pieces then gluing the joint together with separate splines inserted in the slots. Where the mortise-and-loose-tenon joint has a floating tenon that is oriented from edge to edge of the board, the multiple-spline joint has splines oriented from face-to-face, giving the appearance of box joints. And like box joints, multiple-spline joints can be easily formed on the tablesaw. The splines also offer plenty of long grain-to-long grain gluing surfaces to form a strong bond.

Many variations on the multiple-spline joint exist without changing its basic characteristics. The splines can be of virtually any length or thickness or can even be different lengths and thicknesses. The splines can be evenly spaced or they can be arranged in some form of pattern. The splines can be made of the same material as the boards being joined, or it can be made of a different, contrasting material. The thing to keep in mind is that the eye will search out a pattern, and if the arrangement does not reveal a pattern, the observer may have difficulty accepting the design.

Half-Blind Multiple-Spline Joint

If the spline is not visible from the front but is visible from the side, it is a half-blind joint. To form this joint, the front panel receives stopped grooves, similar to the creation of half-blind dovetail tails. The mating board receives the normal slotted treatment for multiple-splines.

One variation is to create the slots on the mating board less than full thickness, and make the slots on the front panel the same depth. This will create a multiple-spline joint that is visible from the side, but not visible from the front or from the inside.

Full-Blind Multiple-Spline Joint

Whereas the traditional miter joint is relatively weak due to its end grain-to-end grain gluing surface, inserting multiple splines into the joint greatly increases the long grain-to-long grain glunig surface which strengthens the joint. The full-blind multiple-spline joint has the appearance of a simple miter joint, but is strengthened and reinforced by the integral splines.

Though this joint appears difficult to manufacture, it is relatively simple with the use of a router and appropriate jig. It is cut similar to making dovetail tails on two panels, then inserting appropriately sized splines during the glue-up process. Accuracy is critical because the alignment of the slots on both boards must match.

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Lock or Locking Case Joints

Primarily constructed with the aid of a router, lock joints are variations on dado-and-rabbet joints. Their primary use is to attach drawer fronts to sides, or in locations where one face of a case must resist being pulled away. Regardless of the construction technique, precision cuts are required to ensure this joint mates correctly, but if done correctly it offers significant strength.

Simple Lock Joint

Simple does not refer to the ease of construction, but refers instead to the fact that the joint resists opening in only one direction. Note that the drawer front can not be pulled off since the side holds it in place. However, this joint does not offer any special benefit to prevent the side from being pulled off, but this is not a concern in drawer construction.

Complex Lock Joints

Complex refers to the fact that they provide an additional dado on the front board that serves to resist the side panel from being pulled free.

Lock Miter Joint

Lock miter joints present the appearance of a mitered joint when viewed from the outside, but they offer the strength of a dado to resist separation.

Construction

Any of these joints can be made using a tablesaw with a dado blade and some patience, however the construction of any locking joint is greatly simplified by the use of a router table and an appropriate router bit. Once the router is setup and the bit height adjusted, one piece is passed over the bit while standing on its end grain against the fence, and the second board is passed over the bit while laying flat on the table. This will produce the two profiles that lock together.

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End Miter Case Joints

End miter joints, in its most basic form, are formed by mitering the ends of two boards at a 45º angle, then butting the ends together. The disadvantage of this joint is that the glue is entirely on end grain (the weakest glue bond) and there is no form of interlocking between the boards. Basic miter joints are also notoriously difficult to clamp effectively, since the boards will always have a tendancy to shift against one-another.

Miter With Fasteners

The easiest way to strengthen an end miter is to drive nails or screws into each side of the joint, crossing directions to lock the joint together. Drilling pilot holes will help prevent splitting, and keeping the holes slightly towards the inside of the joint will reduce any damage to the face of the board should the joint fail and require repair.

Biscuited End Miter

Biscuits are small oval discs that are inserted into matching slots that are cut into the two boards to be joined. Choose a biscuit size that fits snugly into the slot, since any play will reduce the accuracy of the joint. Biscuits also provide positive registration for the matching boards, speeding the assembly and glue-up process. Just remember to keep the biscuit slots slightly towards the inside edge of the boards, to avoid weakening the exposed edge of the joint.

Splined End Miter

A spline is essentially a full-length biscuit. The slot is cut along the entire length of the joint on both boards, and a hardwood or hardboard spline is inserted during the glue-up process. The spline also provides positive registration which will help assembly, just like a biscuited joint, however a splined end miter joint suffers from a weakened outer corner since the wood at the corner is only connected by a thin strip once the spline has been cut. Because of this, it is essential that the slot for the spline be offset towards the inner corner of the joint.

End Miter With Spline Keys

This style of end miter joint is formed by creating a standard end miter joint, then cutting slots through the outside corner of the joint and gluing blocks or splines into the slots. Once the glue has set, the ends of the splines are trimmed flush with the ends of the joints. This has the advantage of adding strength to the joint, while giving it some visual appeal. Using a contrasting colour of wood gives the most dramatic effect. This joint can appear like a box joint, however the slots do not alternate on each side of the joint as the box joint would.

End Miter With Feather Keys

Using thin strips of wood instead of blocks gives the keys a more dellicate appearance. Restricting the slot width to the blade kerf makes this variation easy to make. The slots can also be easily made on any angle to increase the visual appeal, and will also add to the mechanical interlocking of the joint. The more keys that are used, the stronger the joint will become.

End Miter With Dovetail Keys

Instead of cutting the slots using a straight blade or bit, use a dovetail bit instead. This will produce a triangular shaped slot, into which you can insert a triangular shaped key which is then trimmed flush with the joint sides. This gives the visual effect of a dovetail joint on both sides of the joint. This variation also gives the joint some mechanical interlocking since the triangular keys prevent the joint from separating.

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Dovetail Case Joints

Dovetail joints are among the most aesthetically pleasing joints, and if correctly constructed they can also be the strongest. The locking of the pins into the tails provides a very strong mechanical joint that has many advantages. Dovetail joints also allow for the expansion and contraction of the wood, without compromizing its structural integrity1. When joining large expanses of wood, such as for case sides, this is extremely desirable. The dovetail joint also allows woodworkers to create projects that are made entirely of wood, with no hardware visible.

The strength of the dovetail joint comes from two things: the mechanical interlocking of the pins and grooves, and the incredibly large gluing surface that the crenelated ends provide. The joint has incredible resistance to racking (bending of the joint), and even without glue the two boards can not be separated, except in the direction the pins were first inserted. This makes the joint ideal for high-stress uses such as attaching drawer fronts to the drawer cases: Every time the drawer is pulled open or slammed shut, the drawer front is undergoing extreme stresses. The dovetail joint ensures the drawer front can never separate from the case under normal usage.

The terminology of dovetails can be little confusing, and there are some variations. I will try to walk you through the basics before detailing some of the more innovative variations that are available.

Terminology

Pins and Tails

The easiest way to remember which is which is to remember that it is the pins that do the sliding. The pin slides into the triangular space between the tails on the other board. A board will usually have multiple pins across its length that fit into matching spaces between tails on the other board. The pin or tail at the very outside edge of the board is either a “half-pin” or “half-tail” since it will only have a slope on one side.

Spacing

The distance between the pins does not need to be uniform, however for visual appeal some form of pattern is highly desirable.

Angle

The angle of the pin and tail sidess must match if the pieces are to fit together, however the angle used can vary greatly. For most standard applications, an angle from 8º to 10º is ideal. If the angle is too steep, the ends of the tails are liable to break off during assembly or during the rigors of use. If the angle is too shallow, the ends of the tails do not exert enough pressure to hold in the pins, and the joint can be considered a box joint, which does not have the same mechanical benefits of dovetails.

Through Dovetails

This is the most basic form of dovetail. The end-grain of both pins and tails are visible from the outside surfaces of the joint since the pins go completely through the tails spaces, and the tails reach through the pins.

Decorative Dovetails

Decorative dovetails add even more visual appeal to the beautiful dovetail by varying the spacing, length, or shape of the pins and tails. These can be hand-cut, or they can be made using one of many router jigs. Some of the jigs available can even make exotic shaped pins.

Mitered Dovetail Shoulders

Instead of using a standard half-pin and half-tail at the edge of the board, the half-pin and half-tail can be mitered to give the finished joint a clean mitered look when viewed from the edge, instead of the butt joint appearance it normally has.

Half-Blind Dovetails

Half-blind dovetails can only be seen from the side. This is because the pins are not cut completely through.

Traditionally, half-blind dovetails were cut by hand, though most are now cut using a router. Because of this, half-blind dovetails bear the stigma of being a machined joint, and even if the craftsman put in hours of work to hand-cut the joint, viewers would be hard-pressed to tell the difference. The evidence is undeniable prior to assembly though: routed half-blind dovetails have rounded slots between the pins and one side of the tails are rounded. Hand-cut half-blind dovetails have squared angles everywhere.

Blind Dovetails

Full blind dovetails give all the mechanical strength of dovetails, without their outward appearance. The joint effectively appears as a mitered corner. This is achieved by not cutting the full depth on the pins or tails.

Blind Dovetails With Lap

A slight variation on the blind dovetail is to create a lap on the tail board. The pin board is made as a half-blind pin board would normally be made, but the tail board is created with a lap that extends to cover the full end of the pin board, instead of being mitered as a full-blind dovetail would.

Sliding Dovetail

This joint is used to attach the end of one board to the middle of another board. Its advantages are that it allows for the removal of the sliding board, mechanically locks in the sliding board, and allows for natural wood movement.

The end of the sliding board receives a tongue with angled sides, and a matching slot is cut into face of the other board.

Tapered Sliding Dovetail

A variation of the standard sliding dovetail is the tapered sliding dovetail. The groove is slightly tapered, being wider where the tongue is inserted, and narrower at the far side. The dovetail tongue also receives a matching taper, leaving the tongue slightly thinner on the side that is inserted first into the slot. If this taper is accurately cut and matched on both pieces, the sliding dovetail produces a joint that has mechanical locking, and is held together tightly by the compression of the taper.

This joint is notoriously difficult to calculate how far the sliding board will travel before being stopped by the joint’s taper. It is therefore recommended that you cut the sliding board slightly wider than required, then cut the dovetail tongue and the groove, test fit the pieces, then cut the sliding board to the size measured on the assembled project.

Sliding Half-Dovetail

This is identical to a sliding dovetail joint however the slope is only on one side of the tongue and slot. In order to provide mechanical strength, the side of the board that receives the slope must be the same side of the board that will receive the force. For example, if a sliding half-dovetail is used on a horizontal shelf, books and other items are placed on the top of the shelf, and therefore the top of the tongue and top of the slot should receive the slope. Which side of vertical boards should receive the slope is slightly more difficult to determine, however a basic rule of thumb is that the slope should be on the side that is towards the center of the project if it is to provide maximum support.


1 Only if properly constructed. If both pieces have no grain like MDF or plywood, this is not an issue. For wood with grain, the matching dovetails must be made on matching sides with the same direction of grain. For example, end grain tongues matching to end grain grooves, or long grain tongues matching to long grain grooves. If you mix the grain directions (end grain tongues to long grain grooves), the expansion of one piece will be perpendicular to the expansion of the other piece, and the joint is liable to fail (separate or crack). Keeping the grain directions matched will prevent this.

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Dado Case Joints

A dado is simply a rectangular groove that is cut across the grain of a board. The joint formed by placing an intersecting board into that groove.

The dado joint allows the load on the board to rest along the full length of the dado, thereby giving it considerable load-bearing capacity. Because the end of the board is entirely encased by the dado’s sides, the board can not cup or tilt. The dado joint does not offer any protection against the shelf pulling out of the side unless glued or fastened in some manner, and because the joint involves end grain, the gluing strength is limited.

The depth of the dado has only minimal impact on the strength of the joint. The joint is designed to support a load or to control the movement of one board relative to another. If the joint must prevent the shelf from separating, then a sliding dovetail would better suit your purpose. With that in mind, as little as 1/8″ is adequate for hardwood shelves, 1/4″ for manufactured woods (plywood, mdf, particleboard, etc.)

The depth of the dado is how deep the groove is, or the distance from the face of the board to the bottom of the dado. The width of the dado is the distance between the two sides of the dado.

Through Dado

Dados that extend from edge to edge are referred to as through dados. These are the easiest form of dado to construct, however the dado is visible when viewed from the edge. This can be concealed by applying a face frame or other trim after the joint has been constructed.

Stopped Dado and Blind Dado

Stopped dados start at one edge but stop before they reach the other edge. Blind dados both begin and end shy of the edge. The benefit of these options is that the dado itself is not visible from one (stopped) or both (blind) sides. The board that fits into the dado must have one or both ends notched, and the notch should be oversized so the board has a bit of play when it is fitted in the dado to allow you to adjust the board flush with the case edge. Wood movement is not an issue since the grain direction is identical.

Dado-And-Rabbet

This joint has is formed by one board having a narrow dado, and the mating board having a rabbet cut to form a tongue which is sometimes called a barefaced tenon because the tenon is flush with one of the board’s faces.

For shelves it is recommended that the rabbet be cut so the remaining tongue is at the bottom of the board. This will increase the load the shelf can support. If the tongue was at the top of the board, the board would have a tendancy to split if overloaded.

If used to join case sides to case tops or bottoms, you have a choice for orientation. If you have the dado on the top/bottom board and the rabbet on the vertical (tongue flush with inner face for strength), then the joint will resist the vertical board from separating, but the joint will be visible from the side. If you construct the joint with the dado on the vertical board and the rabbet on the horizontal board (tongue flush with the bottom face for strength), the top of the case can support more load, however it does nothing to hold the side, but the joint is only visible from the top.

If you stop the dado before it reaches one edge and trimming the tongue to match, you prevent the joint from being visible from one edge. If you do the same for both edges, it becomes a blind dado-and-rabbet. These variations offer the benefit of hiding shrinkage and gaps.

Dado-And-Tongue or Tongue-And-Dado

Essentially a dado-and-rabbet with the tongue no longer flush with one face, the tongue-and-dado can better resist racking because it has two shoulders.

If you stop the dado before it reaches one edge and trimming the tongue to match, you prevent the joint from being visible from one edge. If you do the same for both edges, it becomes a blind dado-and-rabbet. These variations offer the benefit of hiding shrinkage and gaps.

Dado-And-Spline

This joint is ideal for MDF and particleboard since they do not have any grain, and therefore do not lose anything by having the tongue formed by a spline instead of being an integral part of the board.

This joint is essentially a dado-and-tongue, however the tongue is formed by a spline that is inserted at glue-up time. The spline used should be at least as hard as the wood it is supporting, otherwise the spline will become the weakest part of the joint. The spline should extend into approximately 1/3 of the side’s thickness, and it should extend about twice that distance into the horizontal board. The spline should not extend much further than this into either piece because it risks weakening the boards . If the spline does not extend far enough into the boards, the spline will not provide enough holding strength to support the shelf load. Also, the spline should be located below the center of the shelf board since it can then support a heavier load before the board splits.

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Corner Block Case Joints

Corner block joints are intermediaries. Instead of connecting two boards directly together, each board is connected to the corner block instead.

The corner block does not offer any structural improvements over other joints, however it does offer some design possibilities that might otherwise be unavailable, especially if the boards being joined together are manufactured woods such as plywood or veneered, where you might wish to hide the edges of the boards. The corner block can be molded or shaped, can be made of a different material or color than the main boards, or can even be a different thickness than the boards which are connected to it, possibly producing a proud corner.

The most common material for the corner block is solid wood. Though manufactured wood can be used, the shaping and stylistic benefits of corner blocks are lost since the surface of the block would still need to be covered in some way.

If a solid wood corner block is used, the proper orientation of the grain, relative to the case sides, is crucial. Misaligning the grain directions can cause joint separation and failure, and may even damage the wood of the case sides.

If the case side panels are made from manufactured material (such as plywood, MDF or particleboard), the block’s grain should be aligned parallel to the direction of the board’s edge (regardless of the direction of the grain on the surface veneer on plywood). This is because manufactured boards will not experience any significant movement due to seasonal moisture content fluctuations, but the hardwood corner block will. By aligning the corner block’s grain to run along the edge of the case panel, the expansion will not run along the length of the panel, and so it will have no effect. If the grain were to run in any other direction (out from the edge of the panel instead of along the length of the edge), the seasonal movement of the corner block would make it wider or narrower than the panel it is joined to, and the joint would fail.

If the case side panels are made from solid wood, the grain of the corner block must run in the same direction as the grain in the panels. Aligning the corner block in any other direction will cause the joint to fail due to seasonal wood movement. Note that this also means that the grain on the two panels being joined (through the corner block) must also have their grain running in the same direction.

Corner Block With Tongue-And-Groove

The tongue can be formed on either the side panel or the corner block, but it is often easiest to place the tongue on the corner block since forming details on the ends of long side panels can be difficult. If the corner block is used to join solid wood panels, it is recommended that the grain on the corner block run diagonally, from one tongue to the other. This is to provide maximal strength to each tongue so it can better resist the shearing force once it is mated with the panels. If the corner block is being used with manufactured boards, the block’s grain is running parallel to the edge of the panel and this is not a concern.

Corner Block With Splines

A full-length, stopped, or blind spline can be used to attach the corner block to the side panel. This eliminates the complexity of forming tongues on the narrow corner blocks, and it can also be accomplished with just one setup of the tablesaw or router table.

Corner Block With Biscuits

Instead of using long splines, biscuits can be easily substituted.

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Butt Case Joints

Butt joints are one of the weakest forms of case joints, but they are the easiest and quickest to make. A butt joint is achieved whenever you join the straight and square end grain of one board to face grain of another board. End grain is notoriously difficult to glue or fasten, and butt-joints present the smallest amount of surface area to be used for gluing. In order to achieve any significant strength and sturdiness, you must reinforce the joint.

Glued Butt Joint

As its name implies, the glued butt joint is held together by the force of the glue adhering to the end grain of one board and the face grain of another. The face grain of most wood species providing a very good glue bonding surface. The end grain, however, is notoriously weak and is prone to failure.

Butt Joint with Glue Block

Glue blocks are square or triangular wedges of wood that are glued to the hidden side of the joint. These blocks can run the full length of the joint, or only be used in strategic locations. One problem with case joint glue blocks, though, is that their constructions usually has the glue block’s grain oriented perpendicular to the case boards’ grain, resulting in a cross-grain construction. This can cause problems when wood movement is involved.

Butt Joint with Fasteners

Nailed Butt Joint and Screwed Butt Joint

Nails or screws can be used to fasten a butt joint. Inserting the nails or screws at alternating angles strengthens the joint and prevents the boards from separating. In softer woods that have trouble holding screws or nails in the end grain, you can reinforce the end grain portion with a strategically placed dowel which provides enough cross-grain to increase the holding power of the screws.

Dowelled Butt Joint

Dowels are a decorative replacement for nails or screws. Again, they can be inserted in alternating angles, increasing their holding power. Blind dowels can be created by using stopped holes on the face grain board, however these holes are difficult to produce without the aid of specialized tools, since doing them by hand or even a drill-press is prone to uneven hole depths, or mis-aligned holes.

Using a contrasting wood type for the dowel can produce an attractive decorative element to the workpiece.

Biscuited Butt Joint

Biscuits serve two purposes in case joints: They provide positive registration between boards during assembly, and they provide a mechanical brace against shifting in the finished product. Biscuits are essentially thin oval wafers that are inserted and glued into a matching pair of slots that are cut into the two pieces to be joined.

When the biscuits are used at the top of an upright board, offset the location of the slots slightly by 1/4 to 1/8 of the upright’s thickness towards the hidden side of the vertical. This is because if the joint should fail, the damage done to the wood will be in a hidden location, and more easily repaired invisibly. If the biscuit were placed in the center, there is an equal risk that the damage would be exposed.

When the biscuits are used to secure a horizontal shelf to an upright member, the biscuits should be offset slightly by 1/4 to 1/8th of the shelf’s thickness towards the bottom of the shelf. When the shelf is loaded with weight, the biscuit will be applying force towards the top of the shelf. By shifting the biscuit’s location downwards, you thicken the amount of wood that is resisting that force.

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Box Case Joints

Box joints are the “poor man’s dovetail joint”. It has relatively good mechanical strength, but does not have the interlocking capabilities given by the sloping of the dovetail pins and tails. The box joint does still provide an incredible amount of gluing surface, making it a strong joint.

The basic box joint is formed by creating a regular series of slots and fingers, the length of which is the same as the stock’s thickness. It is recommended that the width of the fingers also be the same as the stock’s thickness since this gives the optimum strength for the least amount of cutting. Having thicker fingers actually reduces the gluing surface, weakening the joint. Having narrower fingers, however, can dramatically increase the gluing surface, at the cost of more labour to construct the joint.

In terms of aesthetic appeal, the box joint does suffer somewhat by its patterened appearance, but this can be overcome by some creative alternatives.

Decorative Box Joint

The standard box joint has all its fingers and slots the same width. The joint can be given some visual excitement by varying the width and spacing of the fingers that make up the joint. This does increase the difficulty in cutting the joint, and measurements must be carefuly made because the joining boards will no longer have identical setups.

Angled Box Joint

If the joint being formed does not conform to a 90º angle, an angled box joint can be created. This is accomplished by placing the board on the required angle while passing it over the tablesaw/router while creating the slots. Just remember to keep the same side “forward” as you pass it over the cutter in order to create a matching angle.

Half-Blind Box Joint

When you want the box joint to be visible from only one side, you can take advantage of the half-blind box joint. This is formed the same way as the half-blind dovetail, but is considerably easier to cut, and it can even be done on a tablesaw.