Small box making, best tool?

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Forum topic by papaG posted 12-02-2009 03:11 AM 1621 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 3065 days

12-02-2009 03:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: router tablesaw question

For 1/4” finger joint construction, dado set or router?
Will be working mostly with poplar, some oak and some walnut.
Last week read an article that said dado sets, with the teeth set at a reverse angle, made cuts with much less tearing/chipping (like the Freud Pro Dado set) are there any other sets like this?

7 replies so far

View scrappy's profile


3506 posts in 3398 days

#1 posted 12-02-2009 07:44 AM

I made a router table and made a finger joint jig for it. Very simple design and easy build. Used it to cut pieces small enough to make a bracelt.

Here are the links.

On the Woodworking Channel, just go into the router workshop and watch the video for making a desk set. He explains his jigs very well.

Hope this helps.


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

View papaG's profile


5 posts in 3065 days

#2 posted 12-02-2009 12:32 PM

Thanks Scrappy. What little I have worked with the router, it seemed to splinter about the same as the dado did. My daughter bought the Rockler table saw jig for making box joints for me as a birthday gift. It gave me about the same results and seem to be mush faster. Thank you for the video link. I am about half way through them, but it is 2:15 AM so best warm the girls feet now. I don’t dare show her that bracelet you made, I’ll never get any boxes finished until she has one of those. that is beautiful! Did you ever find out what species of wood it is? Merbau can contain a “gold” fleck that runs through the grain. Can’t really tell from your photo, does it have the gold flake in it?


View SNSpencer's profile


133 posts in 3081 days

#3 posted 12-03-2009 01:52 AM

Router, or Dado you can solve the blowout/chipout by using a backer board for the cuts. Depending on the wood, I sometimes do this with my dovetail router jig setup as well.

-- Jef Spencer - Refined Pallet -

View scrappy's profile


3506 posts in 3398 days

#4 posted 12-03-2009 08:27 AM

I also use a backer board. It helps a lot with stopping chip out.

papaG, according to RoseWood, who is from Indonesia (where the crate came from) he thinks it is swetenia mahogany. It doese have a beautifull color to it, and I have more! Just have to plane it down.

Also used same wood on the sides of this box.

Glad I could help.


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

View TheDane's profile


5402 posts in 3630 days

#5 posted 12-03-2009 04:51 PM

I went the tablesaw/dado route. I bought a Woodcraft aluminum jig from a guy on eBay, and picked up a Freud box-joint set (1/4” and 3/8”) when Rockler had them on sale last year. There is a learning curve to getting the saw and jig dialed in, but I got pretty proficient once I figured out how to use machinist keys for setup gauges.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Ed's profile


19 posts in 3079 days

#6 posted 12-06-2009 07:41 AM

I just switched from using a tablesaw/dado setup due to excessive tearout. I now use a router jig and cover the end of each board with blue painter’s tape before routing. Tearout in both red and white oak is minimal, even in 1/4” box joints and dovetails.

I have only routed larger joints in poplar and walnut, so I can’t say how those woods work with 1/4” cuts. But if they work as well as oak, I won’t be going back to the tablesaw.

-- Ed

View papaG's profile


5 posts in 3065 days

#7 posted 12-07-2009 06:40 AM

Thanks guys for the input. I am hoping to get a Freud 8’’ DADO set for Christmas. Its teeth are angled back a few degrees and that is supposed to dramatically cut down splintering. If Santa . . . er Mrs Santa, leaves one I will post my results with it.

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