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Box Makers - How Do You Size Your Spline Stock For Your Boxes?

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Forum topic by helluvawreck posted 856 days ago 1730 views 2 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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helluvawreck

15392 posts in 1463 days


856 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: box making boxmaking splined miter joint making splines sizing spline stock miter joint

I would appreciate your help on this. The past two weekends I have been jumping into boxes starting at the ground floor with the idea of getting all of my jigs ready and determining whatever else I need to get that I don’t have already in order to be an efficient box maker. I made 6 miter joint boxes with two 1/8 thick splines in each corner. I was very pleased with how my boxes turned out. However, I was dissatisfied with how I went about making the spline stock. I ripped a piece of wood so that the off fall piece was my spline stock. With 6 boxes I didn’t need that much stock – maybe two or three pieces 1/8 by 5/8×15 or 20 inches long – more than I needed. Naturally, you would normally move the fence parallel to the blade and lock it and your ready to rip however many pieces you want. However, when you want the off fall instead of the ripped piece it involves a little more trial and error on every piece.

I am not in the habit of ripping that small of a piece. It goes against my grain to have a small piece like that trapped between the blade and the saw. However, if that is the way most box makers do it I suppose I need to get used to it. I didn’t did it the way I described above on these first six boxes but it’s not an efficient way to do it.

How do you go about making your spline stock in a safe and efficient manner?

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com/

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau


27 replies so far

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2557 posts in 2029 days


#1 posted 856 days ago

I do what you described initially with the fall off on the open side. I try to make them a little thicker and then run them through the drum sander to get an exact fit. One thing I try to do is to keep all the little slices I cut off woods being used for other things… then I can drum sand them to size. I would NEVER try to rip a piece that small… it is just too dangerous and I like my fingers!
Rockler and others on this board have made jigs to size the strips. You might check them out.
Ellen

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

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patron

12955 posts in 1938 days


#2 posted 856 days ago

like ellen said

i usually save stock off falls
especially thicker stock
and if they are close then sand them
to the 1/8th i use for a blade
then rip what i need

for my sister judy’s box
i ran the key down the miter
and made my splines from wider pieces
and crosscut them to 1/2”
so the grain was across the miter
not running with it lest it break

you only see them when you open the top

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15650 posts in 2815 days


#3 posted 856 days ago

What you need is a thin rip jig that lets you easily repeat the size of your offall piece.

If you Google, or even search Lumberjocks, you’ll find quite a few designs for these. They are pretty simple to make, and I use mine all the time.

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

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helluvawreck

15392 posts in 1463 days


#4 posted 856 days ago

Ellen, I don’t have a drum sander. In fact the only powered sander that I have is an orbital sander which is not any use for smaller boxes. After making these 6 boxes I have certainly determined one thing – I need a belt sander of some type to sand my sides and top. I will probably get a belt/disc sander. For these first six I glued a sheet of sand paper to a piece of plywood and pushed each part back and forth face down on the paper. I started with 120 grit, then 150, 180, 220, and finally 320. That’s a lot of hand sanding with 24 sides and 6 tops. I sanded the boxes after they were built. The lids were lift lids with no hinges. While I was sanding I debated with myself all the while about getting a sander that very minute. I plan on having one before the week is over.

I don’t have room for a drum sander but I can scrape up the room for a belt/disc sander. I plan on sanding the boxes after they are assembled.

I’m the same way. I would not want to put a small piece between the fence and blade and have never done it.

Maybe I could build me a small feed through drum sander in my machine shop for splines. I might be able to scrape up most of the parts for one.

In one of Doug Stowe’s books I noticed him using a sanding disc and running a spline through between the disc and the fence and disc. He was leaning over and pulling the spline out the other side. To me it didn’t look safe at all. I could see that spline being kicked back. A part that small could go right through a man.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15650 posts in 2815 days


#5 posted 856 days ago

Here is what mine looks like. You set the movable arm whatever distance from the blade you want the thickness of your strip to be. Then you slide the jig back towards you, put your stock against the fence, and slide the fence until the stock just touches the arm, lock down the fence, and make the cut. Then you move the fence until the stock touches the arm again, and make the next cut. Your offall strips will be identical in thickness.

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

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15392 posts in 1463 days


#6 posted 856 days ago

I appreciate it, Charlie. I’ll check into that today.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com/

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

#7 posted 856 days ago

Here’s my approach to thin slices of exactly the same thickness every time.
Build this simple jig from scraps.
Place the right edge against the saw’s fence and adjust so the thickness is correct. The sawn material is tan, the jig is brown.
When the line is sawn the offcut is free and the spline is pushed past the blade.
As often as the material is placed in front of the push finger another spline of the same thickness is cut.

Regards,
Don

-- Will trade wife's yarn for tools.

View lew's profile

lew

9938 posts in 2352 days


#8 posted 856 days ago

Charles,
Before I built the drum sander, I put a fence on my spindle sander and ran pieces through to get the correct thickness. If you have a oscillating spindle sander or a spindle sanding attachment on your drill press, you might try that.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15392 posts in 1463 days


#9 posted 856 days ago

David, I plan on making the hidden joint on some of my boxes. The joint that I used on these first six boxes was the exposed keyed splines where you pass the corner of the box through the blade to make the slots. I built a quick corner slotting jig that worked well. Maybe I’m using the wrong terminology. The design for these first 6 boxes are the ones shown on the cover of Doug Stowe’s book, Basic Box Making. I made 6 of these with maple and walnut. I was pleased with how they turned out and will be putting them up on Lumberjocks. I used the design from Doug Stowes Lift Lid Box chapter. See cover at Amazon.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com/

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View stefang's profile

stefang

12541 posts in 1931 days


#10 posted 856 days ago

Hi Charles. I have seen some shop made thicknesser jigs made for a drill press with a small drum sander mounted in the DP and a little adjustable fence arrangement. The spline is inserted against the revolving drum. These can be very easy to make and remarkably accurate. Here is a link to it in FWW mag. I’m not sure if you need a subscription to read this.

http://www.finewoodworking.com/subscription/Workshop/WorkshopArticle.aspx?id=3420

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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helluvawreck

15392 posts in 1463 days


#11 posted 856 days ago

Don, that looks ideal for making the strips width and may also work for the thickness using the same idea but making the jig slightly different. It’s the thickness that I’m after. My splines were approximately 1/8 inch thick.

Another question would be: Should the thickness be what I would call a “slip fit” when put into a slot?

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com/

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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helluvawreck

15392 posts in 1463 days


#12 posted 856 days ago

Mike, that looks like it would work fine. Thanks. Actually the small drum sander that I was taking about making would be something using the same idea except with the drum in the horizontal position.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com/

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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helluvawreck

15392 posts in 1463 days


#13 posted 856 days ago

Lew, I don’t have a spindle sander. I don’t even have a belt/disc sander. I may get a belt/disc sander this week to sand the sides of the boxes after they are assembled and the top and bottom of the tops.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com/

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View patron's profile

patron

12955 posts in 1938 days


#14 posted 856 days ago

i’d go with the ‘slip fit’ charles
the tight ones i’ve done
sometimes don’t bottom out completely
leaving a void or to much glue
on the ends

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Triumph1's profile

Triumph1

833 posts in 1676 days


#15 posted 856 days ago

I use a drum sander also so I am of no help. You could also try to cut it a little on the thick side and then a couple swipes with a handplane to bring it into the correct thickness.

-- Jeff , Illinois Please...can I stay in the basement a little longer, please!

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