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All Replies on Splines for strength on a mitred jewelry box. Do I really need 'em?

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View Babieca's profile

Splines for strength on a mitred jewelry box. Do I really need 'em?

by Babieca
posted 12-04-2014 05:31 PM


22 replies so far

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

8236 posts in 2352 days


#1 posted 12-04-2014 05:33 PM

No, you don’t. They do add strength, but a jewelry box is a low stress application. The splines are merely decorative.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5177 posts in 2696 days


#2 posted 12-04-2014 05:37 PM

It doesn’t take much to knock apart an unreinforced miter joint,but if you glued those bottoms in, that should be enough.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Andre's profile

Andre

2217 posts in 2008 days


#3 posted 12-04-2014 05:41 PM

I don’t know! fill that box full of GOLD and she may burst! LOL!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

8236 posts in 2352 days


#4 posted 12-04-2014 05:48 PM



It doesn t take much to knock apart an unreinforced miter joint,but if you glued those bottoms in, that should be enough.

- Fred Hargis

A miter joint is 3x as strong as a butt joint. Check out the FWW test.

http://paul-flores.com/downloads/Joinery_Failure.pdf

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View levan's profile

levan

472 posts in 3182 days


#5 posted 12-04-2014 06:03 PM

If you want a clean look but still want to use splines for strength you can hide the spline vertically inside the miter before glue up. I would go ahead and put horizontals in this one for the added strength.
best wishes
Lynn

-- "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right". Henry Ford

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

1052 posts in 3020 days


#6 posted 12-04-2014 06:05 PM

Take a look at the beautiful boxes made by BritBoxmaker using his ez-miter technique. un-reinforced miters, and as far as I know they don’t fail. I think it should be fine.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View a1Jim's profile (online now)

a1Jim

117332 posts in 3780 days


#7 posted 12-04-2014 06:16 PM

Miters basically are butt joints which are not as strong as other joints the link above points out that it in the test on was surprisingly strong. I don’t think that is the norm.Butt joints with all end grain just don’t have the strength that other joints have. Do you have to spline a miter in a small box ? No but in my thought it’s a good idea .

Here’s a quote from the above link.

” Though the miter was surprisingly strong, structural limitations
make it hard to recommend the unreinforced miter for furniture making
tasks. When assembled, the joint is angled at the typical
45°. However, as wood expands and contracts over time, the 45°
geometry will change (see drawing, below), causing joint failure “

-- https://www.artisticwoodstudio.com/videos wood crafting & woodworking classes

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16281 posts in 4421 days


#8 posted 12-04-2014 06:19 PM

I only use splines when I want them for appearances. I don’t think they are necessary at all for decorative boxes.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8166 posts in 3000 days


#9 posted 12-04-2014 07:46 PM

Not necessary. I’ve done some destructive testing myself using hot hide glue on good fitting miter joints and if anyone puts as much force as it took to break them on a jewellery box they shouldn’t own nice things. That said if you want, for your own peace of mind, to reinforce them… vertical splines as mentioned above will get the job (over)done for you.
Just my opinion of course. :-)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Neptuno's profile

Neptuno

32 posts in 1520 days


#10 posted 12-04-2014 07:58 PM

I don’t think you need anything, if the joint is neat and tight. Mitered joints like that do not really classify as endgrain joints, as the 45º angle makes for a, lets say, half endgrain only. Be sure to size the 45º miters with diluted glue before the final glue-up, for much added strength, thus guaranteeing that the joint will not starve.

Adding vertical splines, or biscuits of that matter, would facilitate aligning the glue-up, specially if you are doing many boxes.

Pedro

-- We must all cross the line.

View timbertailor's profile

timbertailor

1594 posts in 1627 days


#11 posted 12-04-2014 08:14 PM

No. With today’s glues, the wood will split before the joint gives way.

Just consider them decoration.

P.S. Very diplomatically said, Paul.

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

View a1Jim's profile (online now)

a1Jim

117332 posts in 3780 days


#12 posted 12-04-2014 08:43 PM

Babieca
Obviously many folks commenting here make more boxes than I do and much more involved boxes too.. I’m a person who over kills most of my construction so it may not be necessary for you to do the same as I do.
End grain is end grain no matter what angle it is cut at. I do agree with that sizing of the end grain will add to is strength .I think the best way for you to resolve this for yourself is by gluing up a test miter for yourself and do your own strength test,to see what you think.

-- https://www.artisticwoodstudio.com/videos wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Babieca's profile

Babieca

178 posts in 1707 days


#13 posted 12-04-2014 09:04 PM

Thanks for all your thoughts.

I’m going to leave them out. If this leads to catastrophic (or even minor) failure, I’ll update. For future boxes I may go the vertical spline route.

View OldEd's profile

OldEd

39 posts in 1814 days


#14 posted 12-05-2014 05:08 AM

I do believe that the strength, or lack of same, depends on the wood. As was pointed out above, modern glues are very strong. “Properly glued” joints are strong – I’ve made end-to-end joints which have held up for the past ten years. HOWEVER – I was using a very dense wood: don’t know what it was, I got it as a gift from a friend of a friend, who brought back a few bf from somewhere in S. America.

I’ve also done it with pine – you have to prepare the material by soaking the end grain of both pieces in thinned glue so that it soaks it up and thus you don’t get a glue-starved joint, as was also pointed out above.

True, splines will add strength, but in small things, such as jewelry boxes, they can be a real pain to put in. And a correctly glued joint should withstand most normal stresses.

So go with it…

-- OldEd

View bannerpond1's profile

bannerpond1

397 posts in 2101 days


#15 posted 12-05-2014 05:16 AM

Splines are one more step in the process, but I have decided they’re worth it in ease of glue-up in making the miters fit perfectly with less clamping. The peace of mind that I’ve strengthened the joint is worth something. Most folks actually like the look of the spline because it shows it’s hand made.

The bigger the box, the more I’d lean toward using the splines.

-- --Dale Page

View Waldo88's profile

Waldo88

207 posts in 1499 days


#16 posted 12-05-2014 05:36 AM

For what its worth; I have a little walnut box with 1/4” sides that I made back in shop class more than 20 years ago, held together with nothing more than glued butt joints on the sides. As a 20-something I actually used to use it quite a bit and its been moved A LOT. Today its still as structurally sound as the day it was made.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8166 posts in 3000 days


#17 posted 12-05-2014 05:40 AM

A couple of folks have mentioned “modern” glues as if they believe that “old glues” were not as strong. Having used both I can tell you that about the only difference between “modern” glues and the hot hide glue that I use now is that I don’t need clamps as often and my glue doesn’t mess with my finish. Both are much stronger than most wood.

Sorry, just a bit of a sore spot.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View RHutch's profile

RHutch

7 posts in 3257 days


#18 posted 12-21-2014 11:34 PM

I’m with you. Could easily hijack the thread with this one.


A couple of folks have mentioned “modern” glues as if they believe that “old glues” were not as strong. Having used both I can tell you that about the only difference between “modern” glues and the hot hide glue that I use now is that I don t need clamps as often and my glue doesn t mess with my finish. Both are much stronger than most wood.

Sorry, just a bit of a sore spot.

- shipwright


-- Hutch, Rhode Island

View RHutch's profile

RHutch

7 posts in 3257 days


#19 posted 12-21-2014 11:37 PM

I’ve made some decorative boxes without taking the time to add the splines. I’m always wondering when they’re going to let go. I’ll never do it again.

-- Hutch, Rhode Island

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2687 posts in 3124 days


#20 posted 12-22-2014 12:58 AM

I have made well over a thousand small cedar boxes with mitered corners and no splines. In the 7 years I have been making them I have not had one come apart. I have also made larger cedar trunks and not used splines. I do install interior gussets in them though. I have made and sold about fifty of them. I once dropped one off of my bench onto a concrete floor and it hit on a corner with no damage. In my opinion splines in smaller boxes are decorative.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website> craftingcouple.com

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

3344 posts in 3311 days


#21 posted 12-22-2014 01:50 AM

I have had small boxes break when I dropped them (a lot more than once) and have considered splines in the mitered corners. In retrospect, it may be that the joints were starved, as I only glue them up and haven’t sized them first, even though I know better. As soon as I get my “honey-do” list and auto restoration objectives reduced, I’ll be making some more boxes.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2471 days


#22 posted 12-22-2014 04:19 AM

Yes you have to have them a mitered end joint is the worst joint.The splines add strength and a decorative add on.I have made thousands of boxes close to 6k or more wholesale retail everything.All the samples i gave the customers commented on later that mine held up and not others you have to do it if you want it to last.

Easier to have your insides sanded and finished before glue up equal to what you do on outside helps it not warp

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