What To Do With This Board? #11: Spline-al Tap

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Blog entry by Mean_Dean posted 05-21-2015 11:04 PM 1082 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Glued Up! Part 11 of What To Do With This Board? series Part 12: Top to Bottom Review »

Hey Guys!

Well, I goofed up a bit with the end of yesterday’s entry. I forgot that the next step in the process is the splines procedure, so that’s what we’re doing today!

But first, I got the end-piece glued onto the box, at the lid handle end. It didn’t come out perfectly, as there is a small gap showing, which you will see in a later photo, due to the kerf of the blade, when I cut this piece free. I didn’t take the kerf into account, and that’s a mistake. But I’ll not make that one again!

So, without further adieu, on to the splines!

I made a spline-cutting jig awhile back, to cut spline slots in boxes with 90-degree corners. The jig has an aluminum runner on the bottom of its fence, so it rides in the miter slot. I did this so that the jig wasn’t dependent on the tablesaw’s fence to keep the jig’s kerf in the exact same spot always.

I made a story stick to locate the spline slots on the box carcase. The story stick is the same height as the box sides, and contains the layout for the spline slots. It’s far faster and easier to use the story stick to set the location of the jig’s stop block than trying to use the box itself!

So, using the story stick, I set the stop block for the first spline slot location.

I then placed the box in the jig, and set the blade height. The higher the blade, the deeper and wider the spline slot will be.

After everything was ready to go, I cut the spine slots.

I lowered the blade for the second set of spline slots, making them narrower when viewing the box. I like having wider and narrower spline slots on boxes, as it adds visual interest.

Then, using some already planed spline stock, glued the splines into the slots. The Freud rip blade, that I used in a previous installment of the blog, cuts a kerf exactly 1/8”. My planer planes all the way down to exactly 1/8”, so after cutting the spline slots, and planing the splnes, the splines fit into the slots perfectly.

In this photo, you can also see the end piece I glued on at the beginning of this installment. You can see the small gap between the bottom of the end piece, and the top of the box side. At this stage, I have cut away the middle section of the end piece, that I had left on to aid in gluing it on.

Because the splines will show endgrain, they will pick up more of the stain, and will appear a little darker when stained. That should provide a subtle contrast with the rest of the box.

Well, that’s all for today. Tomorrow I have to help a friend move, and it’ll be an all-day event! So our next installment will be Saturday, where I’ll cut away the spline waste, and see what other trouble I can get into!

See ya then!

-- Dean

3 comments so far

View BobAnderton's profile


210 posts in 2210 days

#1 posted 05-22-2015 03:36 PM

I like that tip of setting up the spline jig using the story stick. I’ve always used marks on the box itself and it’s hard to tell when you’ve got those marks on top of the slot in the spline jig. Good one.

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

View MrFid's profile


793 posts in 1324 days

#2 posted 05-22-2015 06:03 PM

The volume goes to 11 on your box it looks like.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Mean_Dean's profile


4932 posts in 2567 days

#3 posted 05-24-2015 05:47 PM

Bob, I’m glad you found the tip useful! I can’t take credit for it, though, as I found it in a box-making book!

The next installment of the blog will be today. It was supposed to be yesterday, but I was too sore and tired from moving my friend. But we’re back to work today!

-- Dean

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