Bridal chest #2: Side prep, box joints, and assembly

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Blog entry by Craftsman on the lake posted 07-18-2014 07:03 PM 1734 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Prep / glue-up Part 2 of Bridal chest series Part 3: Cover and cedar »

In the previous installment I prepped the wood and glued it up. This time it’s a little after prep, box joints, and glue up.

With the biscuit joiner the glue ups became pretty well aligned. I had to do just a little planing and scraping.

The the old reliable ROS and mirk sandpaper to it. I find it easier to pre sand panels before assembly. Then redo and finish them up after.

After a little thinking, I made a box joint jig for my router. The sides are 3/4” thick and the fingers and spaces between them are 3/4” too. The jig moves over and a ‘finger’ slips into the previously made slot. This keeps them all the same spacing. It’s roughly made but now that I know how I’ll make a permanent one should I ever do this again. By cutting the side and front clamped together and offset by 3/4”, I was able to cut two at a time and ensure they fit together properly.

And sure enough they did fit. I had to bang them together a bit but they went together pretty good considering the number of fingers that had to align!

All four sides assembled. Routing this joint was nerve wracking. One slip and they all have to be cut off and start again with a slightly smaller chest. Whew!

Here’s a candid shot before sanding or any touchups. Not bad for a simple jig and my first large box joint on such a large scale like this. And no, after i got it knocked together I didn’t disassemble it to add glue. it’s tight enough. I will be putting some inside corner braces so that and the bottom should be plenty to hold it.

Next installment: Bottom, Cover prep, and maybe the skirt might get accomplished. Can only do so much in one day. Hard to judge the degree of progress.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

9 comments so far

View jinkyjock's profile


488 posts in 1748 days

#1 posted 07-18-2014 07:20 PM

Looks like you jig worked fine.
Nice tight joints, don’t think I would have dis-assembled either.
Just a thought,
have you thought of some “secret” nailing on the inside with small brads.
Looking good.
Cheers, Jinky (James).

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2659 days

#2 posted 07-18-2014 08:10 PM

Looking good so far. But where’s your ear protection? Routers aren’t exactly quiet.

-- Brian Timmons -

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3477 days

#3 posted 07-18-2014 08:29 PM

yea dan , these are going to be the cats meow, your daughters will love them..i love the box joints.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2822 posts in 3612 days

#4 posted 07-18-2014 08:33 PM

Jinky, I’m doing a 3/4×3/4” brace in each corner on the inside with screws. Overkill I know. I don’t really know what I’m doing. All my stuff is made to ‘worse case scenario’. When you’re not sure that’s the only way to go.

BTimmons. All picts are staged. 10 second timer on then get into position. But, this router isn’t loud at all. The only thing that I put my earmuffs on for is the planer. That thing winds up something awful. Everything else isn’t that loud.

Thanks Grizz.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2864 days

#5 posted 07-18-2014 11:54 PM

Have you considered drilling down from the top a couple of inches (and up from the bottom) and pinning those box joints with a short dowel? I do this a lot and it is a very stout joint.

You should do a blog on that box joint jig as I don’t remember a shop made one for use with a hand held router. Cool!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 1803 days

#6 posted 07-19-2014 12:29 AM

BRAVO !!! It’s great to see someone singing the praises of the box joint. I don’t know about you, but I’m up to my eyeballs in dovetail BS. :)

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3477 days

#7 posted 07-19-2014 12:36 AM

the box joint is a beautiful joint, but it can come apart, but if you pin the joints as is being suggested by andy, then this joinery will not come apart, drill down into 3 or 4 of the joints on all corners and your guaranteed that your joinery will not fail.

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2822 posts in 3612 days

#8 posted 07-19-2014 12:31 PM

The pinning of the first few…. I will do that. What’s the harm right? thanks for the comments.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View stefang's profile


16063 posts in 3508 days

#9 posted 07-19-2014 05:45 PM

Excellent work and a very nice blog with great photos.

I have to agree with John about the dovetails. Yes, dovetails are more difficult and if you want to show your craftsmanship with them that’s ok too, but I like that the box joints look the same on both sides of the corners. This is just a personal preference and I’m not against dovetails in any way. The pinning idea is good. I do that especially with box joints that have only a couple of fingers, but I think in your case it’s a great option since you aren’t gluing.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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