The Box Joint Machine (Another Stumpy Design) - Part 3

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Blog entry by William posted 04-11-2012 02:12 AM 4386 reads 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project really should have been done and over with in two blog installments. My back had started getting the better of me yesterday though.
So, back in the shop today,

It was time to start cutting fingers.
I had problems to start with. It was a bear to get the fingers just right. All my test pieces were either too loose or too tight. With some careful measuring though, I knew this had nothing to do with the machine, and everything to do with my cheap dado set. I bought it at Harbour Freight a long time ago. It has served it’s purpose, being made in China, I realized today that a quarter inch on it, supposedly just the outer blades, is not a quarter inch. So I had to start playing with shims to get it right on the money. For my set, the two blades plus a thirty thousandths shim was just right. For those with better dado sets, I’m sure you’ll have less problems.

The only other issue I had was that at one point in my testing, the machine started to advance kind of funny, throwing my finger spacing off. It took some investigating to figure out what was going on.
I guess through vibration, the knob on the quick release had moved down, touching the top of the block. This allowed just enough looseness out towards the middle of the lead screw to allow the threads to skip. Adding a nut under my knob eliminated this problem. The nut is not actually ncessary. You could easily just make sure the knob is up. Since I plan on using this a lot though, it is better for me to use the backer nut to hold it up.
That being said, if you go watch Stumpy's episode covering this machine, you’ll see his template piece across the front that allows for a different way of making box joints with this same machine. Looking at it, it is fool proof, so I’m sure it works fine. I have no immediate plans to make that template piece though. After getting comfortable with the machine today, I truly love the crank advance mechanism on this machine and that will be the way I use it. I can always make the template at a later date if I change my mind.

So the machine is complete! There is only one other thing to show, proof!

Quarter inch box joints in three quarter inch scrap wood.
The machine is easy as pie to use. For the test pieces that you see in these two photos, I cut two pieces at a time. I’m thinking with a little careful setting up, all four pieces could be cut at once. It is that accurate. The only thing I do still need for this, as I stated before, is a better dado set. Father’s day is coming though and I am dropping hints to the family like crazy.
Also, you may notice if you look closely at the photos, I need to use a backer when cutting these to prevent so much tearout.

Don’t forget, if you want to build one yourself, you can go to the Stumpy Store to buy these plans and plans for other things you see on Stumpy's Show.


9 comments so far

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2869 days

#1 posted 04-11-2012 02:37 AM

Way to go William. A very nice build.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View foneman's profile


112 posts in 4123 days

#2 posted 04-11-2012 02:39 AM

Nice looking jig and great looking joints. Definitely something I want to build when I get a little extra time.


View William's profile


9949 posts in 2871 days

#3 posted 04-11-2012 02:51 AM

Thank you both.

I built this one in about ten hours total. So it isn’t a hard or lengthy build. You could do it in the evenings if you need to.


View DIYaholic's profile


19623 posts in 2704 days

#4 posted 04-11-2012 03:02 AM

This “Joint” is jumpin’!!!

Looks fantastic. Nicely done. Stumpy is grinin’ ear to ear!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2871 days

#5 posted 04-11-2012 03:13 AM

Thanks DIY.
I need to build something else, but I’m on a roll. I wonder what other shop made tools I can make.


View foneman's profile


112 posts in 4123 days

#6 posted 04-11-2012 03:24 AM

I think my biggest problem will be finding the parts locally. Probably have to order them online..


View William's profile


9949 posts in 2871 days

#7 posted 04-11-2012 03:31 AM

I feel your pain foneman.
A lot of things I need for my woodworking hobby just are not to be found in my town. I have to order a lot of things online.
Here’s where I got my parts.
T-Track (Incra is what I used. I did order it online)
Drawer Slides (Home Depot)
All-Thread (Home Depot)
Nuts, Washers (Home Depot)
Screws, glue and such I already had on hand, as most wood workers do.
Epoxy and Thread locker (Wal-Mart)
Knobs (I had on hand, but bought online. wing nuts can be used instead though)
Wood I know you can get.
The only part you may have to search for is the bronze sleeve bushings. I found mine at a local hardware store. Since some towns no longer have traditional hardware stores though, you may have to call around.

That’s it. Most of the parts are pretty common and not too hard to find.


View StumpyNubs's profile


7604 posts in 2829 days

#8 posted 04-11-2012 01:07 PM

Everything but the T-Track can usually be bought at a home center like Home Depot, Menards of Lowes. Even the bronze bushings and knobs.

You could also make your own T-Track. Just adapt the design to use a thicker board on the back and cut a dado where the T-Track goes. Then cover it with two strips of 1/4” material like hardboard. It would save you a little cash too!

Glad you like it, William!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2833 days

#9 posted 04-11-2012 02:17 PM

looks like a winner William. Nice build.. and Stumps: your idea for homemade t-track is right on.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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