Miter-jointed display case WIP

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Blog entry by TimmyP posted 09-14-2011 01:12 PM 1469 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

I’m re-building a glass display case for a model of the USS Constitution. The top of the case is being a bit of a challenge, but I think I’m on top of it. Currently, I’m working on trying to get the new top to fit together using miter joints.

So after I cut my miters, and reading the forum postings about trying to get a better miter cut, I realized I have a store-bought device to help cut miters (of any angle) with a circular saw. The thing was bought probably over 10 years ago when a local hardware store went bankrupt. The problem, I’ve never even opened the box, much less keep the box in my shop! (out of sight, out of mind). Maybe on the next project I’ll think to pull it out.

So anyway, I cut my current set of miters by hand, either using a backsaw (sans miter box) or a dovetail saw or, ultimately, my tablesaw. The problem with cutting the miters using a handsaw is that I wound up with uneven surfaces on the face of the miter, due to different cutting pressures and angles. So then the next problem became trying to flatten out all those saw marks – and believe me, on the maple I was using, this was no easy task. So not only did I have the saw marks to flatten out, but also had to custom-fit each joint, since the overall project isn’t square. And to make matters worse, the miter I cut with the dovetail saw (which has an offset handle), didn’t get cut straight, so I had a lot of material to remove just to get the miter close to fitting.

Today I cut the slot in each board to accept the piece of glass that will be the top of my display case. I mitered the joints, so that the slots wouldn’t be seen from the ends. (I know, I could have made some marks on the tablesaw to show me where to start and stop the cut, had I used butt joints). Afterwards, I glued the first corner, but after letting it dry for about an hour, I put the frame on top of the display case, to see how it would look, and found that the angle the two boards make is much larger than 90 degrees (plus or minus a little bit).

So I’ve been thinking overnight how to get the miters come close to fitting – I think I’ll just glue it up the same way I cut things – clamp one side to the case, then glue the adjoining board, and just walk myself around it. However, the last piece can’t get glued in to place, because a piece of glass needs to get slide into the slots I’ve cut (for that matter, I’ve got to purchase said piece of glass!). I think, too, that to add some extra strength to the joints, I’m going to drill horizontal holes on each corner, about 90 degrees opposite the miter cut, to add a piece of dowel rod to help keeps things together.

Early Wednesday morning

The good news, my glued-up miter joint come apart with ease, so all I have to do is clean-up the dried glue, and give things another go.

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36 posts in 3463 days

#1 posted 09-16-2011 11:28 PM

So have started glueing-up the miter joints, and like I said previously, am using dowel rod to help strengthen the corners. So far, got one corner done with the dowels; will do the second corner tomorrow. I’m only doing one step every day, as I want to make sure the glue dries well before I do anything that might possibly knock something out of alignment.

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