Picking the right joint for this toy box...

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Forum topic by BinghamtonEd posted 09-25-2013 02:56 PM 1493 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2298 posts in 2364 days

09-25-2013 02:56 PM

So for Christmas, my mother-in-law has requested a toy box to keep my daughter’s (and future grandchildren’s) toys in. Box will be made of quarter-sawn white oak, and will be modeled after this one :

My question is in regards to joining the front to the sides. My first instinct is to cut a dado in the sides to accept the front. My only concern here is the seasonal expansion of the top and bottom rails of the front. The sides are solid panels, and the grain run vertically. I’m concerned that expansion of the rails may jeopardize the joint.

Possible solutions : – Make the stiles full height. I don’t like this option because the end grain will be visible at the top. Don’t want to do mitered corners, either. – Cut the rail such that it sits flush with the sides, and only the stiles fit into the dadoed sides. This seems like the best option right now. I could cut the dadoes just a hair on the deep side so the rails bottom out on the sides before the stiles bottom out in the dado, to make sure the rails sit flush with the sides.

Comments or suggestions? Open to other ideas as well.

Thanks guys!

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

3 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2845 days

#1 posted 09-25-2013 04:44 PM

There won’t be enough movement of the rails to matter. Dado the sides, option one, and it will be together forever!

Sometimes we take this wood movement thing too far.



-- " 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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268 posts in 3740 days

#2 posted 09-26-2013 04:23 AM

Hi Ed,

I Made a pair of these benches for my sister in law a few years ago and the are as strong today as the day I delivered them. I used 1/4” plywood for the middle sides and back. The plywood floats in a groove in the rails. The top and bottom rails have are mortise & tenoned into the legs. The sides are flush to the legs but not attached. Thought long and hard about this as well, but the M/T joint was so strong, didn’t need extra strength. Top is solid oak with soft close hinges so fingers don’t get slammed when the chest closes. I put three strips across the underside screwed in to keep the top from warping. Just make sure you make the holes on the outside larger so the too can expand without cracking.

I’m sure you know these things but doesn’t hurt to mention.

Good luck with the project and I hope you get plenty of babysitting for your efforts!


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11608 posts in 2375 days

#3 posted 09-26-2013 08:42 AM

I would cut a dado for the front panel but through mortise the rail tenons, maybe wedge them.

-- Rick M,

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