2 Questions on Mitered corner boxes

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Forum topic by JVallario posted 10-12-2009 04:31 PM 1272 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JVallario's profile


76 posts in 3144 days

10-12-2009 04:31 PM

Hi – Newbi here. Been searching the forums but didn’t find an answer to these

I noticed on a pine box with mitered corners the rounded corners are much darker when stained. Is that due to the wood type or something I did wrong? I admit I didn’t prep the wood with sanding sealer or wood conditioner as I wanted the stain (Red Sedona) to be rich. I have a small amount of Claro I want to use for a box to give my granddaughter and though I won’t be staining it I do want the grain to wrap around without dark areas.

Question #2 – A Woodsmith tip on TV said you can use clear box tape to hold mitered corners square instead of clamps. Has anyone tried this? Does it apply enough pressure?


-- John

7 replies so far

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3452 days

#1 posted 10-12-2009 04:39 PM

When you round the corners you are exposing the end grain. The end grain absorbs more of the stain and will be darker unless you seal that area before staining.

Some like to use the wood conditioner along with gel stains.

-- San Diego, CA

View rowdy's profile


375 posts in 3436 days

#2 posted 10-12-2009 05:10 PM

The tape method is the way to go! I have used it successfully many times for boxes, picture frames, and so on. For a box, for example, I lay out a long piece of tape, sticky side up, and carefully align the box sides, in order with inside surfaces facing up, on the tape with the mitered edge of each side piece butted up against its neighbor. Then I carefully wrap up the tape to bring all of the miters together. Done correctly this pulls all of the corners into tight registration. I usually add more tape and/or rubber bands to pull the corners even tighter, as necessary. Works well for me and is much easier than working with clamps. Hope this is useful to you.

-- Rowdy in Kechi, Kansas

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4211 days

#3 posted 10-12-2009 06:18 PM

What interpim said is correct. The good news, though, is that I don’t think you’ll have a problem with your walnut because it is fairly dark to begin with. I’ve done walnut boxes with rounded mitered corners, and never noticed a color variation.

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

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3152 days

#4 posted 10-12-2009 08:14 PM

Finish sand the rounded corners to a finer grit than the rest. So, perhaps 320 grit for end grain and 220 for the box sides. Stain doesn’t penetrate as much as you go up. Sanding sealer (thin shellac) and gel stain works too.

-- jay,

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3278 days

#5 posted 10-13-2009 03:00 AM

John, Intrpim and Charlie pretty well covered the finishing tips. You won’t have problem with woods like walnut, and Rowdy gave you a good tip on how to use the tape for the miter corners. It does work well, just make sure your corners are butted up tight and square before you bring the miter corners up to meet one another. Good luck with your boxes and we hope you will post some pictures for us. Welcome to Lumber Jocks.

-- John @

View JVallario's profile


76 posts in 3144 days

#6 posted 10-14-2009 04:22 PM

Thanks for all the great feedback. I’ll be sure to post my results as long as they don’t look better in the fireplace.

-- John

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3327 days

#7 posted 10-14-2009 08:48 PM

The thing to do John in order to get an even color is to pre-wet the end grain areas. If they are wet they won’t be able to absorb so much stain. If it gets to light a stain, then just repeat until you get the hue you want. It’s a good idea to try it on a test piece first to get an idea how wet it should be.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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