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How do you mask your miter keys?

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Forum topic by Cato posted 1041 days ago 1363 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Cato

641 posts in 1910 days


1041 days ago

I have been building a few boxes for gifts with different joinery on several of them.

When using mitered joints and installing a couple of miter keys for strength how do you mask them off when finishing so that you have a contrast between the keys and the box?


11 replies so far

View Pick's profile

Pick

30 posts in 1631 days


#1 posted 1041 days ago

Just make them out of a contrasting wood, and then use a clear finish.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2420 days


#2 posted 1041 days ago

Cato, +1 on Pick’s comment. I will usually use maple to contrast with walnut or cherry, for example.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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Cato

641 posts in 1910 days


#3 posted 1041 days ago

Pick- with the finishes I am using on curly maple for instance I am dyeing the maple brown and then finishing with a topcoat of amber shellac and I was trying to figure an easy way to keep the dye and amber shellac from coloring the miter keys.

Since the miter keys are the thickness of a saw kerf it seems like it would be hard to accurately tape them off, so I was wondering how others did it.

View tom427cid's profile

tom427cid

294 posts in 1068 days


#4 posted 1041 days ago

Hi,
When I am trying to highlight something-before staining I will (very carefully) paint the part with thinned white shelaq. two light coats seems to provide a good barrier so the stain won’t penetrate the part that I want to contrast.
Hope this helps.
tom

-- "certified sawdust maker"

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

5392 posts in 2026 days


#5 posted 1041 days ago

I cut everything first, insert the keys and bring them level. Then, remove the keys and stain the box, re insert the keys and glue.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5252 posts in 1196 days


#6 posted 1041 days ago

The keys should essentialy be end grain, so they will absorb more stain than the face grain on the sides of the boxes. So there should be a noticeable color difference even without masking. However, as stated above, I usually use a contrasting wood with just an oil finish.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2697 posts in 1884 days


#7 posted 1041 days ago

Unfortunately, taping for stain usually doesn’t work. The stain generally runs under the tape, and you end up with a mess. That is simply the nature of stain. If it didn’t soak in, it wouldn’t be stain.

As others mentioned, because the keys are end-grain, they will take the stain darker.
It would be difficult for the keys to be lighter though.

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2697 posts in 1884 days


#8 posted 1041 days ago

I just thought. (Wow, that’s a first!) If you want a lighter key, tape carefully around them. With a small artist brush, seal the keys with the finish you are using. Then tape the keys and stain, being careful not to use excessive stain close to the tabe. The sealer should help keep the stain from soaking in.

I would try this before possibly ruining a nice box.

Good luck

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View Cato's profile

Cato

641 posts in 1910 days


#9 posted 1040 days ago

thank you all for the responses on this.

Kent I was kind of thinking along the same lines as you have suggested, or maybe making a set of dummy keys to put in while I dye the box carcass and shellac it, then remove those and tape around the key slots and glue in the lighter keys.

View speakerscott's profile

speakerscott

47 posts in 2436 days


#10 posted 1040 days ago

Cato,

I’ve been working on a table design where I’d like to highlight the inlay. The method I see for Federal period pieces is to get a very fine tipped brush and put clear finish/light finish on the inlay. I’ve yet to actually attempt this…so we’ll see how it goes.

Scott

-- Scott, Austin-Texas...

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

4983 posts in 2310 days


#11 posted 1040 days ago

Could you cut your mitre slots after you’d stained the box? Then slide in your keys and finish them as required.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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