Wine Cork Display Tutorials #4: Miter Keys

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Blog entry by FaTToaD posted 12-16-2010 06:16 AM 9163 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Assembly Part 4 of Wine Cork Display Tutorials series no next part

In this final section of the Wine Cork Display Tutorials I will show you how I cut and glue in the miter keys.

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LJ Project of Finished Displays

Here you can see my miter key jig. Since I cut so many miter keys for the wine cork displays and the boxes I make, I decided that a nice, large, dedicated jig would save me a lot of time. It works really well, I’ve used the heck out it.

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The first thing I do is figure out how far from the edge I want my keys to be. I take into account how deep the rabbit for the back and the dado for the glass is so I don’t cut into them. I also make sure the saw blade height is set accordingly and will not cut completely through the box.

I use a ruler to set the stop block the distance I want and then clamp it in place with a C clamp.

Once my stop block is in place, I rest the box securely in the jig, turn the saw on, and slide the jig forward to make the cut.

Now, I’ve seen videos of people making this cut then pulling the jig back through the blade with the box still in the jig. I use to do this until the box shifted once and basically ruined that project. So, after I slide the piece through the blade, I left the box off and slide the jig back the front of the table top.

After I move the jig back to the front, I flip the box forward and place it back in the jig to make the cut on the next corner. I do this for all four corners.

Here you can see the kerf left by saw, nice and clean. A flat tooth blade is really the only way to go. I have an ATB+F blade I picked up from Lowes, it works great.

Once the cuts have made on all four corners on one side of the box, I flip the box around and make the same cuts on the other side. This way all eight miter keys are evenly spaced from the outside edge.

Now, on some of the boxes that are a bit deeper, I make another set of miter key cuts at a shallower dept. This is up to you, experiment and see what you like.

Here’s what I did on the two larger ones.

Here’s all three displays I’m currently working on with all the miter key slots cut.

Next I cut some strips for the the keys themselves, walnut in this case. These strips need to be the exact width of your saw blade for a nice snug fit.

A test fit to make sure everything is ready to go.

Once you have your strips cut, you can cut them into smaller pieces to fit into the slots. I usually cut them by hand with a dovetail or backcut saw. I cut them so they are about a 1/4” longer than needed so I have room to slide them around.

All the pieces are cut, lets get to glueing them in!

I start by getting my glue out and putting a big helping of it on a piece of scrap wood. This way I can “dip” my pieces in the glue. This just seems quicker to me. I also use a small applicator bottle to put a little glue in each slot.

Going one corner at a time, I start by placing a small amount of the glue in each slot with the squeeze bottle.

I then dip an edge into the glue and spread a little around the top and bottom with my finger.

Next place the piece firmly into one of the miter key slots. I like to make sure a little glue squeezes out both sides so I know I’ll have a good bond.

Repeat for the remaining slots on that corner.

Once you get one side complete, spin the box and do the rest. Here’s all of the boxes with the miter keys glued in.

Once the glue has dried, I cut the excess off with a flush cut saw.

I usually trim one side the of the box, then flip it over and do the other side.

Once all the keys are cut flush, you can sand the outside and get ready to apply your finish!

For the back, I just cut a piece of 1/4” plywood that fits snug into the rabbit in the back.

As for the finish, I usually used BLO followed by a wiping varnish on the redwood. On the oak, usually just wiping varnish or poly.

I hoped you enjoyed these tutorials. I think it was a good learning experience for me to actually document my process. If you have any questions feel free to message me. Thanks for looking!

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-- David

2 comments so far

View Grant Davis's profile

Grant Davis

824 posts in 4679 days

#1 posted 12-16-2010 03:15 PM

Those are pretty cool David, thanks for posting

-- Grant...."GO BUCKEYES"

View Michael J's profile

Michael J

103 posts in 3978 days

#2 posted 12-16-2010 08:03 PM

Very nice Job on the tutorial!

-- Mike Minneapolis, MN

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