LumberJocks

My woodworing ideas and tips #11: Making miter corners

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Betsy posted 10-14-2008 02:43 AM 6054 reads 11 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: A thought on the basics Part 11 of My woodworing ideas and tips series Part 12: Making a box tutorial »

In response to Woodworkinaspirations’ forum entry about making miter corners – I thought I’d take a stab at explaining how I make my corners. http://lumberjocks.com/topics/4967

The caveat on this is that my saw blade really, really needs cleaned and sharpened and my sled needs a new fence—- all this to admit that I have some tear out on the corners. But with that said, this should help aspirations to see ONE method to do box corners.

So for me I start by cuting my pieces a hair long (1/64 or less) of the final length. To do this – I make sure my blade is set at 90 degrees. I have an electronic gauge – but prefer my Incra square.

Photobucket

Be sure to set the square between the teeth of the blade. It should be sitting against the body of the blade. If it sets on the teeth you will not get a good set up.

Next I set up my table saw sled. This is a good basic sled and has served me well. But it is time to make a new fence for it.

Photobucket

Next I square one end of my work piece. You can see here it is not even close to square.

Photobucket

I set my saw blade so that the gullet of the blade is above my work piece. There is argument for having the blade all the way up, having it set just a tiny bit above the board and every where in between. I prefer to have just the gullet above the board.

Photobucket

I cut off just enough of the end to make it square.

Photobucket

Photobucket

I skipped taking a picture here – but I set my stop block to the length of my first side and made a cut. Then i used a second block to cut the short side. This second block simply makes it so I do not have to move my stop block once I remove it I can then cut my second long side without having to remeasure.

I put a black mark on the block to make it easier to see.

Photobucket

I use this method as an easy way to to keep the grain flowing. So I cut one long, one short, one long and then one short side. This makes the grain wrap around the three of the four corners.

Photobucket

It is also a good idea to mark the pieces as you cut them. You are a better man than me if you never get your pieces mixed up. Marking them simply saves time and frustrations.

Now that I have two sides and two ends the same lengths I move onto the miter cuts. I set my blade to 45 degrees – for this I do use my electronic gauge.

Photobucket

The next few pictures are from the back of the saw for clarity. You can see that my sled has both a 90 and 45 degree saw kerf.

Photobucket

You’ll have to move your stop block over so that the very edge of the work piece is setting at the inside edge of the miter kerf. Once run through your cut should be exactly 45. Remember that your inside face goes onto the table. You should be able to see the outside face. You can see my little bit of tear out on the corner.

Photobucket

Cut the rest of your corners and this is what you should come up with. I’m holding the box closed with rubber bands.

Photobucket

Photobucket

I like to use the tape as a clamp system to gluing up my boxes, but for very small boxes you can’t beat rubber bands.

to use the tape method – line up your pieces (outside face up) in the order they should be in. I use a small piece of tape at each joint to keep the pieces together without having to worry that my pieces will move during the next step. I put a squiggly mark on the “joint” tape to show it’s position. The trick is to get the pieces to be solidly together.

Photobucket

I next run a piece of tape the length of the four combined pieces. I also leave about 1-3 inches at the end (the length depends on the size of the box I’m making).You can see the little tab at the end—- I made a big black mark to make it easier to see.

Photobucket

Next, flip the taped up four pieces over. Now lets pretend that I took the time to make my bottom dado, which I did not. I placed a piece of tape at the bottom and drew a line where the bottom dado would go if I were so inclined.

Photobucket

Next I just roll up the sides into a box.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Use the tab that hung over the end of the pieces to lock the box together.

Photobucket

And there you have it. A box without a top or bottom. But all the corners are nice and neat.

Photobucket

Hope that helps. As always any comments, suggestions or ideas are welcomed.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine



12 comments so far

View lew's profile

lew

11339 posts in 3218 days


#1 posted 10-14-2008 03:40 AM

Nice tutorial, Betsy!

Thanks!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4012 posts in 3527 days


#2 posted 10-14-2008 03:48 AM

I’ve always hated miters, but you make it look easy. Thanks for the tutorial. I need a new fence on my sled too. I’m going to steal your safe exit “stack of plywood” remedy.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

3138 posts in 3175 days


#3 posted 10-14-2008 05:37 AM

Excellent. Very thorough. Have you ever tried using a sacrificial piece behind your cut to eliminate the tear-out at the end? I was wondering if that might cause it to be less accurate.

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3359 days


#4 posted 10-14-2008 02:42 PM

Thanks all.

Doug – I’d like to take credit for the sled’s design, but since I can’t properly design a straight line—I have to give props to Tom L. that taught a class I was in. The design works well and is easy to maintain.

Lightweight – a sacrificial piece is essentially the fence on the sled. I have used this fence for, and this is purely a guess, but probably 200+ boxes so it’s just flat worn out. I could put a new piece in front of the fence and start with a new kerf, but I have a good piece of hard maple that I plan to use to make an entirely new fence. It won’t hurt to clean and sharpen the blade as well. Thanks for the input.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Robb's profile

Robb

660 posts in 3397 days


#5 posted 10-14-2008 06:31 PM

Very good tutorial, thanks!

-- Robb

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5839 posts in 3048 days


#6 posted 10-14-2008 08:49 PM

Betsy what does go bucks mean has it something to do with money?Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Russel's profile

Russel

2199 posts in 3402 days


#7 posted 10-14-2008 11:49 PM

Betsy, you’ve got an ability to make things look simple. I always come away from your tutorials feeling a bit more confident. The quesion now is when will you be writing your Woodworking for Dummies book?

-- Working at Woodworking http://www.VillageLaneFurniture.com

View WWilder's profile

WWilder

31 posts in 2991 days


#8 posted 10-15-2008 12:32 AM

Thank you Betsy for the very well presented class. It will really help me out with my 45s and 90s for that matter. You really went out of your way to make sure all bases were covered. You rock!! I owe you big time

-- my mind is constantly racing..... but it hasnt came in 1st place yet

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3359 days


#9 posted 10-15-2008 01:54 AM

Thanks for the kudos guys. I love to teach – it’s fun and rewarding. Woodworkinaspirations – glad I could help.

Scottsman – GO BUCKS——that’s my college team – the Buckeyes of THE Ohio State University. They are not all that good – but they are my alma mater. So that’s what we yell whenever we want to cheer them on. Google – script ohio and see what you come up with. It’s pretty fun stuff.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View lightweightladylefty's profile

lightweightladylefty

3138 posts in 3175 days


#10 posted 10-15-2008 06:22 AM

Betsy,

Here’s another thought I had about the tear-out. I have cheap, poor-quality tools and blades so I often have problems with tear out. I have sometimes used masking tape on the edges (especially fancy moldings or parts that I have prefinished) to minimize tear-out. It has seemed to help. Your solution of a sharper, cleaner blade and new fence is the correct solution, but for when that’s not possible (like not enough time to go get the blade sharpened, or I’m just too lazy to change it), the tape can help. Thanks for your good teaching.

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2615 posts in 3055 days


#11 posted 10-15-2008 09:15 PM

Nice Job Betsy!!! Thanks for this very nice blog.

-- Dennis Zongker

View Betsy's profile

Betsy

3338 posts in 3359 days


#12 posted 10-16-2008 02:31 AM

Leftie – yep tape works great. I use it a lot especially when I am cutting plywood or veneer. It’s a great, cheap way to get crisp edges. Thanks for the input.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com