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Recreating an end table box - joint discussion

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Forum topic by david_larch posted 814 days ago 934 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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david_larch

94 posts in 886 days


814 days ago

I have been wracking my brain about this end table since I stumbled upon it at modernconscience.com I want to try and re-create the box portion, I already have the Eames leg bases. My question stems from the mitered corners. This is solid walnut with what appears to be some sort of very small reinforcement or concealment of the endgrain. I like the look of the mitered corners and mitered (battered?) face. I cant figure out how to do it. I’d love to hear some suggestions. I wondered if I just mitered all four pieces and biscuited them if they would hold up to the everyday use.

I am not affiliated with this company, but I have purchased from them in the past.

Edit: I posted pictures from Modernconscience.com without asking. They are a great company creating reproduction Eames Dowel Bases and Custom Furniture.


8 replies so far

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david_larch

94 posts in 886 days


#1 posted 813 days ago

Anybody like chatting about joints?

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KnickKnack

965 posts in 2150 days


#2 posted 813 days ago

It took me a while to work out what you were talking about – I kept looking at the picture thinking – “that’s a dovetail”, “that’s a dovetail”. Although, in fact, it looks like a faux dovetail since the grain doesn’t seem to match.

But I think you’re talking about this bit here, yes?

That’s interesting – I’ve not seen it before, but I like it – those corners are usually pretty sharp and fragile.
Presuming you have the 4 sides with their 45°s on them, could you not just “scim off” the few mill from the 2 faces with a router and, post (or during?) glue-up add the small piece of square cross-section?
Or perhaps I’ve misunderstood the question?
Oh, and I’m not sure you should really take any joint advice I have to give anyway! lol

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

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Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1434 days


#3 posted 813 days ago

Wow. There’s a lot here.

I agree with KnickKnack—that’s a little 1/4 square piece laid into a rabbet cut after the box is joined.

My experience with biscuits is that they are problematic in miter joints because they can be snug, and getting snugger by the nanosecond, and there’s no easy way to pull the joint together. Multiply that times four, and you’ve got a pretty good run on a boxful of kindling sitting on your bench.

I think the strength of this structure would come from the back, and that should be designed carefully to take the load. It could be as easy as a dado in all four pieces and a piece of 5.2 ply, or solid stock, installed in the glueup.

You actually can get a fair amount of glue purchase on a miter joint. I usually coat both surfaces (TB II) before clamping up.

If you wanted to reinforce the joint, you could step beyond the given design with exterior splines. If they were a darker species, and the 1/4×1/4 pieces were the same species, that might be an interesting look.

Now as for the faux dovetails, my gosh KnickKnack you’ve got a great eye. I’m curious how they were done and whether in fact that was a net gain over actual (factory) dovetails.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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CharlieM1958

15623 posts in 2802 days


#4 posted 813 days ago

Yes, as far as the inlaid corners on the miter joints, it’s just like Lee described. Build the box first, then cut rabbets to receive the corner piece. Make the rabbets a hair smaller than the corner inlay material so you can sand it flush later. I do this on small boxes quite often. It’s cosmetic in this case, and doesn’t really add to the strength of joint.

I also agree with Lee that if the back is well constructed you really don’t need any further reinforcement of the miters.

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

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KnickKnack

965 posts in 2150 days


#5 posted 813 days ago

Build the box first, then cut rabbets to receive the corner piece

I think I’d be cutting the small rabbets (baby rabbit = a kit?) before assembly, on the basis that having those pieces to push against would make glue up easier – the 45°s have something to slide up to and stop?
Usual caveat about my providing joint advice.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

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david_larch

94 posts in 886 days


#6 posted 813 days ago

You guys are awesome.

I was in fact talking about the tiny piece in the corner. I had not been able to figure out if it was adding anything or concealing a joint I am not familiar with. I likely wont add that piece, even though it is a cool detail it is a little fussy for me.

I also had not thought about the back adding strength to compensate for miters not being super strong.

I am picking up some wood in about a month for a few projects and wanted to make sure I have thought everything through before I build a firewood pile.

I sure do appreciate your comments. Any other insight is appreciated, as well.

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CharlieM1958

15623 posts in 2802 days


#7 posted 813 days ago

KnickKnack, I understand the logic of your approach, but here is my thinking: By doing it as you suggest, you are still left with the problem of a long joint to glue up perfectly, or else you will have a visible gap. Cutting the rabbet and gluing in the corner after assembling the box ensures that the joints will be perfect (as long as your corner stock is square). Not only that, but any imperfections along the miter joint will be hidden.

David, if by “fussy” you mean it’s too busy looking for your taste, that’s fine. But if you mean it seems like too much trouble, I can tell you it’s probably easier than trying to have a perfect long, exposed miter joint.

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

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david_larch

94 posts in 886 days


#8 posted 813 days ago

You certainly have a point there, Charlie! Something to chew on, I suspect you are dead on there.

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