Hide Glue for Beginners #6: Perfect Splined Mitre Joints in Five Minutes Without Clamps

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 1128 days ago 5704 reads 33 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Pressing with Hot Cauls Part 6 of Hide Glue for Beginners series no next part

When I posted “Arnie’s Tea Box” one of the comments (Roger) was that these boxes make a great venue for displaying my marquetry. I totally agree but that meant streamlining the process of making the box. First was to come up with a jig to make the corners perfect every time quickly.

Here is what I came up with.

Disclaimer: I’m not a jig person so my jigs are usually utilitarian and often “throw away”.

This photo shows the parts disassembled. Dimensions are irrelevant and I didn’t take any so even I don’t know them.

Here the base piece has been turned right side up. The groove is for the pin in the top part. The cutouts at the apex are to insure that no glue contacts the jig.

Assemble the top part onto the bolt and adjust so that the spaces on the sides fit your stock width. Then slide the pieces of your box together until they match perfectly.

Now remove one piece without moving the other. Coat the end with hot hide glue….Oh yes, this is a commercial for hide glue, sorry. But please bear with me.

Slide the piece back in and as the jig does most of the work, simply squeeze the top of the joint for about 15 seconds or so.

This is the joint removed from the jig about 30 to 45 seconds after the glue was applied. It’s already strong enough to hold together.

A minute later it is strong enough to have it’s spline grooves cut.

A little more hide glue on the splines and slip them into place.

In the time it takes to walk over to the band saw the splines are glued well enough to trim off.

The glue is easy to rub off with your finger. It will ball up like rubber cement. You can throw it back in the pot if it’s not too contaminated with sawdust. Then you can sand the joint and you’re done. The elapsed time between this photo and the one where the pieces were dry fitted is under five minutes and with the splines now in place the piece is strong enough to continue to handle and work with.

Of course in real life it is not necessary to get things done this quickly. Pieces can sit while others are fitted and glued, but this is how fast it can be done.

This joint is perfectly square, both vertically and horizontally, despite the fact that if you look closely, my “hot off the miter saw” cut was not.

That’s it
I made a jig. Who would have thought.


Comments, questions, critiques are always welcome.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

21 comments so far

View degoose's profile


6976 posts in 1956 days

#1 posted 1128 days ago

Very simple … cool idea….

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ For lovers of all things timber...

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 1680 days

#2 posted 1128 days ago

It’s so good i’m planning to use it. Hope you don’t mind.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View gfadvm's profile


10591 posts in 1292 days

#3 posted 1128 days ago

This I can understand! Nice jig Paul.

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

View SPalm's profile


4759 posts in 2484 days

#4 posted 1128 days ago


But you have to include the time to heat up the glue. Which I have no idea how long it takes. So, how long does it take?

Nice jig,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View larryw's profile


281 posts in 1264 days

#5 posted 1128 days ago

Great idea Paul, keep’em comin’.

-- "everything is beautiful, but not everyone sees it" ~confucius-551-449 b.c.~

View  Box 's profile


4937 posts in 1910 days

#6 posted 1128 days ago

Great jig…simple and effective. Thanks.

View Randy63's profile


230 posts in 1494 days

#7 posted 1128 days ago

I think this jig would be valuable for anyone building mitered boxes. A little sanding jig for touching up miters on a sanding disk is also a good idea if anyone is having trouble with perfect miters. I think the idea of boxes as a venue for you marquetry is excellent. There have been some fine examples of marquetry boxes here at LJ, and I’m sure you could make some wonderful additions to that collection. I couldln’t agree more about the use of hot Hide Glue, it has the strength and many more convienences the modern glues don’t.

-- Randy, Oakdale, Ca.

View rance's profile


4125 posts in 1762 days

#8 posted 1128 days ago

It looks like it does a great job Paul. You may just become a jig-man. :) I’m puzzled in how you insert the bottom or the top though. Rabbet I assume? If so, how do you account for expansion? Hey, thanks for sharing.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View shipwright's profile


4843 posts in 1400 days

#9 posted 1128 days ago

Thanks all.

Steve you plug it in in the morning or before 15 minutes before a gluing session and unplug it when you leave the shop. If you’re using it much, it’s always hot.

Rance I used a floating PW bottom in Arnie’s Tea Box and the top is my favorite substrate, MDF, dimensionally pretty stable. I don’t anticipate any problems. I won’t use that top style again though – too hard to glue in nicely.

LittlePaw Fill yer boots. Glad to help.

Thanks again.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View sedcokid's profile


2663 posts in 2200 days

#10 posted 1127 days ago

Your blogs are great!! Keep’em a comin!!!

Thanks for sharing!!

-- Chuck Emery, Michigan,

View lightweightladylefty's profile


2594 posts in 2314 days

#11 posted 1127 days ago


Thanks for sharing your brilliance with us. This is such a great learning place.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View lanwater's profile


3075 posts in 1536 days

#12 posted 1119 days ago

Very interesting jig.

Thanks for all your blogs thay are quite informatyive.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Bertha's profile


12951 posts in 1295 days

#13 posted 1119 days ago

Hide Glue.

Time to bring the pot back out. I haven’t fussed with it in a while. The time feels right.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View BoxBuilder's profile


91 posts in 1732 days

#14 posted 1110 days ago

Good to know there is someone else out there who uses hide glue!! I started about 2 years ago & wish it had been sooner. Great jig BTW!

-- Richard, Pennsylvania

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7622 posts in 2654 days

#15 posted 1110 days ago

GOLLY! Had no idea that Hide glue dried SO FAST!

I’ll have to look into that stuff… a little more…

You have a Pot (electrically heated?)...
Can you leave the glue in the pot at all times?
How long does it take to get the glue liquid?
We know it dries FAST… How strong is it for the long haul?
How about water problems?

COOL little jig! Nice job!
Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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