Wall-mounted Console #2: Choosing a joinery method

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Blog entry by builtinbkyn posted 02-14-2019 04:29 PM 770 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Filling a need or ...... Part 2 of Wall-mounted Console series Part 3: Procrastinating »

I’ve been kicking ideas around for how to best join the miters of the case for this wall-mounted console. My initial thoughts were hidden dovetails. I happened to watch a YT video of someone cutting them and thought they would be ideal method of joinery for strength. They are also traditional and require all hand tool work which I feel is part of the fun. I think I could pull it off, but then Kenny got me to thinking about expediency and the fact that all that work would be “hidden”. Man Kenny got me to thinking. Whew that could be dangerous ;p

So I checked what Tage would do for mitered casework. He has a few methods. The hidden DTs are one method he illustrates, but he also shows various ways of using splines as well. One of the spline miters he shows in the book are cut with the table saw and not hidden. It looks pretty straight forward. I could use the same species to somewhat hide the presence of the spline, but that’s not what I really want to do. So I made a jig to use with the router to make hidden splines. I had to see if these could be done accurately. Obviously the initial miters need to be accurately milled to 45 degrees, but the jig also needs to be very accurate to form a perfect 90 degree corner and a carcass that’s in plane and not wracked.

There’s been a piece of 4/4 pine in the garage left there for probably 20 years or more by previous owners. This was a good test piece for me to use as the walnut I’m using for the case of the console will end up being around 7/8” once I’m done milling. After shooting the miters clean on the sled, I tested the slot milling with the jig and low and behold, the jig cut the slots for the spline perfectly perpendicular to the miter and the edge. So this is a viable way to proceed.

However reading further about using splines, Tage suggested these are better suited for plywood and MDF joinery and not so much for hardwood, but he actually didn’t explain why. Looking further, he uses another method which looks interesting and can also be done more expediently with a router and jig – full blind multiple splines. I kind of like this method as it seems to combine a little of both methods – the hand tool work of the hidden DTs with the accuracy of the router/jig method.

Guess I’m going to make the jig for these and test it.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

6 comments so far

View pottz's profile


4501 posts in 1287 days

#1 posted 02-14-2019 04:45 PM

im interested to see what you come up with.i dont know why the splines wouldn’t work with hardwood though?

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View AandCstyle's profile


3198 posts in 2560 days

#2 posted 02-14-2019 04:53 PM

Bill, I have done the full blind multiple splines and it is super easy and seemed quite strong. I used System Three T 88 epoxy for the slower setting time on a waterfall slab table. Obviously, the splines need to fit tightly in the mortises. Have fun.

-- Art

View builtinbkyn's profile


2918 posts in 1243 days

#3 posted 02-14-2019 04:59 PM

Larry he makes the statement- “The spline miter is a relatively strong joint, especially when using veneer-core plywood – you have 50% long-grain to long-grain glue surface.” Then states – “A spline miter is not a good choice for solid wood if strength is required of the joint.” The pics he illustrates the joint with in the book are of solid wood and not plywood lol

I love this compilation of books he put together. He illustrates and explains everything well. Even I can understand what he’s showing :p I highly recommend them above any other books on woodworking. They’re certainly the most complete and thoroughly explained/illustrated of any that I have.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View builtinbkyn's profile


2918 posts in 1243 days

#4 posted 02-14-2019 05:00 PM

Oh that’s good to know Art. I’m going to give them a go on my test subject.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View EarlS's profile


2587 posts in 2651 days

#5 posted 02-14-2019 06:36 PM

You could go with a hidden spline and then use exposed splines that are perpendicular to the joint and either use the same species or something different for a design element.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View HokieKen's profile


8721 posts in 1441 days

#6 posted 02-14-2019 06:41 PM

...but then Kenny got me to thinking about expediency and the fact that all that work would be “hidden”. Man Kenny got me to thinking. Whew that could be dangerous ;p

- builtinbkyn

My work here is done.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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