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About cutting the top off of a jewelry box

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Forum topic by Jerry Bowen posted 03-14-2012 06:32 PM 1916 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jerry Bowen

9 posts in 924 days


03-14-2012 06:32 PM

One of the first things that I wanted to try to do after buying my Incra jig was to make jewelry boxes. I pursuit began about a year ago. The summer in West Texas was one of serious cought, I tell you this set up the way my summer went. Normally I spend a lot of time during the summer keeping our large yard up, mowing, trimming etc., but because of the drought, we just had to let things go but it did give me plenty of time to work in the shop, I should say, work in the shop during the mornigs before it got so hot, that I could not stand it in the shop which is a large tin building.

So, the quest begain, and there has been quite a learning curve, part of my problem is that my expectations far exceed my ability to esecute. The learning and experimenting provided many many hours of woodworking pleasure. The first was centering the set up so that the dovetail cuts were perfectly centered. Many e-mails were sent back and forth between myself and Mark Mueller about this issue. The problem did eventually get resolved, and in my case I accidently discovered that there is small hole in the plate of the router lift that happens to line up almost perfectly if not perfectly with the center of the router collet. When a center line is marked on the workpiece using an incra gauge and then lineing it up with the center of that hole and setting the fence to that positionk, you are very very close to being perfect.

The real challenge was my inability to properly cut the top off of the box to create the lid I assume that anybody reading this understands what I am referring to, if not let me know.

After many triail and error attempts that did not work for me and after being rather frustrated, one day I took a piece of scrap three quarter inch plywood and used it to lay flat on the top of the table of the saw use it to hold the box snug against the fence while makeing the cuts. Wa La, finally the problem that had existed went away.

However, there was still one more issue to deal with, I had been setting the saw blade very low, just at a height that would not let it completely cut through the sides and ends of the box, and after making the cuts, I would use a knife to finishish things up, the problem was that I have been using oak for the sides and walnut for the ends and cutting through dovetails by the way. Well, with the blade set so low, I was burning the oak, by the way I am using Freud Premium Fusion Combo blade which I had purchased to use to rip oak and it does do a treat job of fipping oak whne the blade is set high. The answer to lthe burning problem with the blade set low was to set the blade about an inch in height and make the side cuts on the oak, and then lower it again when makeing the euts on the walnuts. This allowed the cut to be executed properly, and there is no bunning on the oak.

So far I have not completed a jewelry box to my satisfaction, but I do have several almost finished boxes that i use to keep odds and ends in. The dovetail joints made on the jig are very nice, you must remember to always have a fresh backing board behind eash se of cuts, watch the marks on the template, just common sense stuff, but like anything else if you deal with the little details, the big issues are pretty much eliminated. My problem has been finding and learning about these little details, until then, over looking them will and have, caused my projects to be less than my expectations. But for me at least, finding out about these little things has been what has intrigued me so much with wood working.

Jerry

-- Jerry's Stuff


10 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5655 posts in 2084 days


#1 posted 03-14-2012 07:12 PM

As you are discovering, the joy is in the journey. When I find a method that works, it seems to recede from the the front of my thoughts and becomes just another habitual process. Then it’s on to the next little…..or big challenge.

-- 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

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KenBee

108 posts in 1291 days


#2 posted 03-14-2012 07:22 PM

There are several different ways to cut a box lid. The most preferred way is with a band saw, then the table saw and I use my router table with either a slotting bit or a slitting saw. When I saw the top off I don’t go all the way through, but leave enough so that I have to finish cutting it with an Exacto knife. That keeps it from binding up as I cut each side. The slotting bit has a 1/16th kerf and the slitting saw is playing card thick. I don’t often build boxes that need to have the lid cut off but when I do that is my preferred method. Most of my boxes have flat lids or I build the lid separate from the box.

-- If it won't fit get a BIGGER hammer.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5655 posts in 2084 days


#3 posted 03-15-2012 12:36 AM

Ken,
Please explain to this old fart what a “slitting saw” and a “slotting saw” is. Sounds like something I could use.

-- 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 bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2528 posts in 1007 days


#4 posted 03-15-2012 01:31 AM

I don’t think that the burning is from the blade being too low but rather the feed rate is too slow. Try pushing it through a little faster and see if that improves the cut.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View KenBee's profile

KenBee

108 posts in 1291 days


#5 posted 03-15-2012 03:06 PM

Hi Gene,

Are you not a member of The Routing Forum? You are you should know very well what a Slotting Bit and Slitting Saw are because bobj3 and myself have talked about them several times and it is a slotting bit, not slotting saw. In fact bobj3 is the one that introduced me and several others to using the router table to cut box tops off with a slitting saw. He also told me where to get the saw arbor and blades. It was my idea to use a slotting bit for boxes under 1/2 inch thick walls. Not only that I consider you as one of the better versed members when it comes to routing.

BTW Gene, If you are not who I think you are there must be two Gene Howe’s in Snowflake Arizona that are members of the Router Forum. :)

-- If it won't fit get a BIGGER hammer.

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7561 posts in 2304 days


#6 posted 03-15-2012 03:12 PM

Honestly, a “sanding board” makes a lot of problems with
this sort of cut a non-issue. Get 2 6×48” sanding belts,
cut them in half and spray-glue 3 or 4 of them to a piece
of flat man-made board. Then you’ll find it easy to cut
and sand those boxes to a perfect fit. You can make
the cut with a Japanese saw if you like and have minimal
kerf loss, then sand out the little imperfections. Easier
than you expect it to be.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5655 posts in 2084 days


#7 posted 03-15-2012 03:42 PM

Hey Ken,
Yeah, that’s me. Although, I can’t recall that thread. I’ll do a search over there.
I’m not surprised that it was bobj3 that knew about them….and probably owns several!
Thanks.

-- 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

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Gene Howe

5655 posts in 2084 days


#8 posted 03-15-2012 05:02 PM

Ken,
I did the search, ordered the arbors and blades.
Thanks.

-- 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 KenBee's profile

KenBee

108 posts in 1291 days


#9 posted 03-16-2012 06:10 PM

Gene, You are very welcome. The one thing you need to do before using the slitting saw on your router table is to make sure you use it with a zero clearance insert in your fence. If not the hole in your fence will cause the box to basically fall into the hole at the end of the cut. Actually I would ask bobj3 about that and he will post a picture of how it is done. His fence is a split fence and he has zero clearance inserts for many bits. What he did was to cut sliding female dovetails in his fence and male dovetails in the inserts and all he has to do is slide in the insert he needs for the various bits. That is something else I am in the process of doing also using 3/4 inch thick MDF.

Several is an understatement when it comes to the saw blades. He has them in many different sizes. In fact he has many of everything. Bob and I do a lot of interacting on the forum about procedures, tools and their usage. I am a beginning woodworker with just over a shade of one year experience and Bob has been a tremendous help in all aspects of using routers in woodworking. I as well as others have copied many of his ideas and like some he has no problem with that. In fact if you don’t understand something he will explain it step by step with pictures if need be. I copied his ski to plane my small stock up to 18 inches long using a router and a 2-1/4 inch diameter Drawer Lock Bit. I assure you a high dollar planer couldn’t smooth plane a board any better and without snipe.

I am also a retired Aircraft Airframe mechanic of 25 plus years and I apply that experience to woodworking. About the only difference is the material I am now using, wood rather than metal.

-- If it won't fit get a BIGGER hammer.

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KenBee

108 posts in 1291 days


#10 posted 03-16-2012 06:32 PM

Loren….

If you were directing your post at me I do touch sand the joints with 220 grit paper attached to adhesive backed acoustic foam rubber before I apply the glue and water mixture, letting it dry for at least an hour. The mixture makes the end grain stand up and when applying the glue to the joints during the final glue up works a bit like velcro, for lack of a better description, by interlocking the grain. That only works on end grain BTW.

-- If it won't fit get a BIGGER hammer.

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