How do I fit a top and bottom into finger jointed box?

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Forum topic by mporter posted 139 days ago 713 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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209 posts in 1083 days

139 days ago

I have alway made my boxes with a grove cut by a table saw in the top and bottom of of the side pieces. This grove would allow a piece of plywood to fit into it as a bottom and a figured piece of wood to fit into the top grove for a top. Glue it up-cut the top off on a table saw and presto a box! Well you get the idea.

My question is, I am making a box with finger joints and figured out today in the shop that I can’t cut these grove with a table saw because the grove will now show on the ends. How do I get around this problem? The bottom I can fit in with a rabbet cut with a router bit, but this won’t work for the top. Any suggestions?

8 replies so far

View Tommy Evans's profile

Tommy Evans

90 posts in 679 days

#1 posted 139 days ago

I haven’t worked my way up to boxes yet. LOL, so bear with me. How about if you run the fingerjoints up the corners to a space where you would then cut off the top. Does that make sense? Stop the fingerjoints short of the top the distance you want the top to be cut. If I understand what you mean…

Seems to work in my head, but that’s not saying much!

ooops, forget my answer, the picture in my head just disolved…...

peace, T

View bondogaposis's profile


2239 posts in 856 days

#2 posted 139 days ago

You have to make stopped grooves on the sides that show, 2 sides won’t show because they will be covered by the fingers. The easiest way to do that is make the stopped grooves on a router table, rather than the table saw.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Luke's profile


233 posts in 1192 days

#3 posted 139 days ago

Woodsmith has a few projects with finger joints and they recommend making a small wedge shaped plug for the box bottom. Because its end grain the plug barely is visible. For higher-end type projects this may not be aesthetically pleasing.

View jordanp's profile


865 posts in 446 days

#4 posted 139 days ago

You can cut a stop dado/groove with a hand saw/stair saw, by cutting in two places along the grain defining your dado width then paring out the waste with a chisel. Define the stopping point with a chisel cut before you start sawing.

You can do the same thing with a plough plane and marking the stoping point with a chisel cut.

The groove will typically be more shallow by the chisel cut/stop, so you will probably need to do some additional paring there to get a uniformed depth.

-- Jordan - Rockwall TX - ”Here’s what im talking about: tweaked nuts:” - Stef

View jordanp's profile


865 posts in 446 days

#5 posted 139 days ago

Any almost forgot

Mark your saw lines with a marking gauge, then on the waste side of the line take a marking knife and cut down the line giving you a nice V shaped grove to rest the saw blade in. A gents saw or dovetail saw does well with this task.

-- Jordan - Rockwall TX - ”Here’s what im talking about: tweaked nuts:” - Stef

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

567 posts in 1277 days

#6 posted 139 days ago

View bannerpond1's profile


205 posts in 404 days

#7 posted 138 days ago

Like bondogaposis said, stop dadoes on the router table. Forget sawing through the finger and putting in a plug.

-- --Dale Page

View gfadvm's profile


9578 posts in 1195 days

#8 posted 138 days ago

I use stopped dados done on the router table. Those solid carbide spiral straight bits are nice for these.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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