Box Joint Bracelet Tutorial

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Blog entry by scrappy posted 06-24-2009 08:58 AM 7003 reads 32 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have been asked to do a tutorial on how I made my Box Joint Bracelet

Box Joint Bracelet

I will be trying to go Step-By-Step and not leave anything out. I know I am missing a couple of pics but will try and explain things as good as I can.

The first thing I would like to address is SAFETY There are many ways to do almost any process, depending on how you were taught/learned. Please be VERY carfull when useing your tools. I would hate to see anyone get hurt.

Onward: I only used one piece of wood for this because I was not even sure I could do it. Didn’t want to mess up my small stash of purpleheart or ebony etc.. You can use one type of wood or like Ampeate suggested use multiple woods for a good contrasting collection of colors. My next one WILL be made with different woods for a more stylish look. ( it might even have some inlay or segmentation ).

I found a design for a Box Joint Jig on the WoodWorking Channel Video Library It is a very informative site.

Here is a pic of my jig.
Box Joint Jig

As you can see, it is nothing more than a piece of plywood with a 1/4 wide by 3/16 tall stip of whatever you want to use for your jig, run down the center. It has a hole for the router bit to stick up through and you set it up by spaceing the bit the same distance from the Strip as the strip is wide ( also the same as your bit size. )

You could use a different size bit and make your jig to the same scale ( 3/8 bit, means a 3/8 strip and space…etc)

If you have never made a box joint , what you do is cut a series of slots in your corasponding corners that are the same width as what your spaces are. You alternate the slots so that the top and bottom of your sides will be even. You do this by starting one piece with a “peg” and the other piece with a “slot” In order to get your slot at the edge of your board you need a spacer. The easiest way to make your spacer is to take a piece of squared off lumber and run it against your Strip putting a grove all the way down it. Turn it around over your Strip and the edge of it is flush with your bit. In the picture below you can see my spacer board sitting over the Strip in place.
Box Joint Jig 2

With these pieces being as small as they are, DO NOT TRY TO HOLD THEM BY HAND WHEN CUTTING! Your fingers will be WAY too close to the router bit. Safety First!

I made a small jig to hold the pieces.

Piece Jig

All this is, is a piece of wood with a notch on the end the same width as your pieces ( mine is 3/4 inch) It has a hole drilled in the end to accept a bolt. This tightens up against the block and your material to hold it in place.

Strip In Jig

Lets talk about your material size. In my bracelet I used a standard 1/4 inch bit and space to make the sections. This means that the piece of wood starts out at 3/4 inch wide. THIS MUST BE VERY ACCURATE! If not your joints will NOT fit. Also used 1/4 inch thick, this can very depending on how thick you want your bracelet. Made my starting strip of wood 1/4 X 3/4 X about 12 inches long. Depending on how big you want your bracelet will determine how many links you will need.
Strip of Wood

With the material in the holding jig, I cut the first slot in the center of the board.
Strip In Jig

Makeing First Cut

First Cut Finnished

Then cut the piece off at 1 inch long. Insert into cutting jig with the notch up.

Ready for Second Cut

With your spacer CLAMPED in place Make the second cut at the edge of the link.

This will move you holding jig over so the notch is to one side.
Second Notch

Remove the link re-insert into holding jig with center notch up again, nut with last cut away from the router bit. this will make your last cut on the opposite corner.

When done your pieces/links should look like this.


Make as many of these links as you need for your length. HINT if you are using one piece of wood….KEEP THEM IN ORDER! that way your grain will run around the length of your bracelet. ( beleive me it is harder to line them back up later.) You can even number them to help keep them in order.

Cutting Done


At this point is where I drilled the holes for the pivots. Put 2 pieces together in a vice and drill your hole for the pin to go into. I have some 1/16 inch brad nails that are just perfect for this. DO NOT INSERT YOUR PINS YET! They are VERY hard to get back out. You might even have to make a new link. ( I did ) haha

With the square ends on the links they will not pivot with the pins in place. You need to sand the edges and ends of your links to make them clear. I keep putting my pin PART WAY IN ONLY. and checking for clearance. Remember, If you are useing a finish that “Builds Up” n the srface of your wood you will need clearance for this also.


Sanded Close

You can shape your pieces as much or as little as you want providing you have enough play to allow movement.

At this point I applied 2 coats of hand wipe poly to all pieces.

When dried I tried the fit and sanded where neccesary to ensure ease of movement. ( tried to get this to act like a loose chain. Wanted it to feel like a real chain would.)

Inserted pins and added clasp.

Your clasp can be whatever type you prefer. Mine is a simple “lobster claw” type. I ran the pivot pin through the ring on the end in the midle of the notch. On the other end I placed a ring to hook to.



You Are Done!

I know I could have had better pics of some of the steps. Please feel free to ask for more detail if you do not understand a step. PM me or leave question here for everyone that might need an answer.

I hope everyone enjoyed this tutorial. And I hope everyone tries this out. There are a lot of ways to very this design and make a veriety of styles, colors, sizes….. etc. Please feel free to change my design!

Please leave all comments, concerns, questions and critiques. I would like to be able to help all those out there that are wanting help. So please don’t be afraid to ask.

-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

11 comments so far

View moshel's profile


865 posts in 3920 days

#1 posted 06-24-2009 10:14 AM


a question: can’t you make all the links in one cut? i mean, but the strip into squares, line them all together in the holder, make the first cut, rotate and make the second and third cuts?

and another question: can you please explain how you put the pins? do you add some glue or just inserting them is enough?

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4176 days

#2 posted 06-24-2009 11:50 AM

Very well done. Now I need to fingers capable of working with such small pieces.

-- Working at Woodworking

View bowyer's profile


340 posts in 3633 days

#3 posted 06-24-2009 01:30 PM

Thanks for the blog Scrappy, now I have more ways to spoil the daughters and Grand Princess!!!!!!!


-- If at first you don't succeed...Don't try skydiving

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3763 days

#4 posted 06-24-2009 01:43 PM

You did great! Thank you!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View PCorl's profile


65 posts in 3616 days

#5 posted 06-24-2009 01:55 PM

Great process, I will have to give it a try.

View Ampeater's profile


441 posts in 3984 days

#6 posted 06-24-2009 04:37 PM

Thanks for the blog. It is a very nice design.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

View bamasawduster's profile


321 posts in 3831 days

#7 posted 06-24-2009 07:01 PM

Great tutorial. You know I’m gonna have to make one now!! :-)

-- Gary, Huntsville. Two wrongs don't make a right, but three lefts do.

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 3667 days

#8 posted 06-25-2009 02:43 AM

Thank You everyone for the great comments.

moshel, You could modify the holding jig to handle all the pieces at once. You just have to make sure they are all set in tightly before running them through the router table. As for the pins, My nails have a very slight head to them. I cut the point off to get the pins the proper length then file/sand the head to be just a few thou bigger then the body of the pin. This lets it set it place with a good push,(I squeez mine in with pliers acros the hinge) to scared to hit this with a hammer. hahaha That makes them nice and tight. You don’t want the head too big. it will crack your hinge if it is too tight.

Hope this helps.

Thanks again


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3795 days

#9 posted 06-25-2009 03:26 AM

Wow… gotta make one too. That is neato.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View buffalosean's profile


174 posts in 3624 days

#10 posted 06-25-2009 03:30 AM

pretty neat. would have never thought of it!

-- There are many ways to skin a cat...... but, the butter knife is not recommended

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4564 days

#11 posted 06-26-2009 05:00 AM

thanks for sharing the how to. I too might have routed (or used the table saw) to make up one stick with the dado and rabbets and then cut them off afterwards.

Handy, and useful looking jig for routing small parts.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

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