plain miter joints for buffet/sideboard

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Forum topic by Rukus posted 09-04-2016 11:22 PM 657 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Rukus's profile


25 posts in 1605 days

09-04-2016 11:22 PM

hi all,

am planning to build a buffet/sideboard similar to the below link out of solid wood, except i wanted to go with miter joints all around the carcass/exterior rather than butt joints like this link has or anything more classic-looking like dovetails or finger joints.

i am worried though that the joints won’t be strong enough structurally given the loads this buffet will have to hold – lots of dishes, etc in the shelves, silverware in the drawers, and who knows what on the top surface.

am i worrying for nothing? or will plain miter joints be too weak? i’m hoping to not have to reinforce with dowels or splines or go into the various locking joints hidden by miters if i don’t have to.


5 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1122 days

#1 posted 09-05-2016 12:58 AM


The mitre joint is an end-grain joint. Typically this joint by itself is not very strong. Therefore reinforcing the joint would be my approach. I would probably opt for a splined mitre, which is a fairly easy joint to make, but any method of reinforcing the mitre would be, in my opinion, better than not reinforcing.

I ran across an article which suggests that polyurethane glue is a superior glue to PVA yellow wood glue for gluing end grain. However the argument, made by Gorilla Glue founder, is not based formal testing.

View Eugd's profile


65 posts in 1313 days

#2 posted 09-06-2016 12:20 AM

This might be helpful

View Rukus's profile


25 posts in 1605 days

#3 posted 09-06-2016 01:08 AM

thanks folks. Eugd, unfortunately I am going for a full solid wood design, i.e. no plywood, but that video was helpful nonetheless.

i know miter joints aren’t that strong alone, but was hoping someone could say all the fears are overblown re: the strength of the joint. looks like i’ll probably have to reinforce them somehow. I’m also going to use 2 part epoxy to glue the joints, allowing the edges one coat of epoxy to sit for 10-15 min or so before re-applying some more and putting the two edges together – this should mitigate the glue up the straw/grain issue somewhat. i’ll also probably go with some angle iron plates along each joint to support the miters and will likely use dowels as well to reinforce them from within the joint itself.

View bondogaposis's profile


5091 posts in 2553 days

#4 posted 09-06-2016 01:47 AM

will plain miter joints be too weak?

Yup, they will be too weak. You’re going to spend a lot of money on wood and invest a lot of time. How are you going to feel when it falls apart? Use better joinery than miter. Full blind dovetails will look like a miter joint but will have the strength of dovetails, if that is the look you must have.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Eugd's profile


65 posts in 1313 days

#5 posted 09-06-2016 02:57 AM

I know it was a idea how you could get the corners you were looking with a little strength, if you make the box inside out of plywood and paint or do a clear coat you will get some contrast and add a little stability then wrap it with solid wood to get the mitered corners you want.

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