Arbitrary Scrollsaw Finger joints

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Blog entry by rance posted 10-14-2012 07:32 PM 4507 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Task at hand: Make a top for this cover using thin Luan. I thought finger joints would work to keep it sturdy, and to not require cleats on the inside. BTW, this is a cover for my CNC controller so looks is not a priority to me on this one.

The top is cut to fit, but just barely oversized:

Place the top under the carcase, keeping track of mating edges:

Slide the carcase back:

Then tilt it up so the mating edges are aligned. I used double sided tape to secure it:

Take it to the scrollsaw and arbitrarilly cut fingers. I say ‘arbitrary’ because I did this by eye. You might want to at least get the count right(unlike I did) to make it symetrical. The length of the cut is equal to the thickness of the material you are using.

You can see how the two edges line up perfectly, even if you have variable-spaced fingers:

Remove the waste using a Rip blade(because it has flat-top teeth) in the TS. Set the height to the thickness of the material you are using. In my case, this is done for all four sides of the carcase AND the lid. Note also the backer to prevent tearout in this short cut.

A test fit came out perfectly… Well, except for that one missing finger I (wrongly) ajusted for.

Ooops. :)

You can see that I adjusted my scrollsaw & TS cuts so the pins would be slightly proud for sanding purposes:

Glue it up and pin it in place while the glue dries. The pin nails are easily removed once dry.

You can see an adjacent corner after it is sanded flush with the surface. Also note the irregular finger spacing you can easily achieve.

No, I’m sure I’m not the first to come up with this method. I thought about what I needed, and it seemed to be an acceptable solution.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

8 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

22311 posts in 3432 days

#1 posted 10-14-2012 09:07 PM

Great way to do it. Nice going…...........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View GenerationWW's profile


521 posts in 2576 days

#2 posted 10-14-2012 10:01 PM

I enjoyed the read, looks like a effective method!

-- list your handcrafted treasures @ for free!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10520 posts in 4379 days

#3 posted 10-14-2012 10:51 PM

It looks like it’s working just FINE!

Thank you for the testing, review, & results.

Nice to know…

I coulda tried that about 2-3 years ago… didn’t think of it… LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View patron's profile


13646 posts in 3668 days

#4 posted 10-14-2012 11:05 PM

looks good

i like the eyeball method too

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View shipwright's profile


8267 posts in 3125 days

#5 posted 10-15-2012 12:10 AM

You could make some crazy hinges with that idea.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2824 days

#6 posted 10-15-2012 12:24 AM

This is a very fine trick and I may have to try it. It would seem to me that the quality of the joint (if you really want quality) depends upon a very fine blade and making that freehand scroll saw cut exactly straight and in at 90 degrees. Perhaps a sliding backwards mitre gauge with a stop could be used.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3487 days

#7 posted 10-15-2012 12:43 AM

Thanks guys. Yeah Paul, I’ve considered hinges too. Go for it. :)

Gene, the scrollsaw instructor at WoodCraft in Springfield(Nate Johnson) CAN cut straight lines with his scrollsaw. I’m getting better, not there yet. I am imagining(even as I type) a miter gauge that could easilly be built to do just that. And with a stop too. It would have to be calibrated for drift for each blade. I use a #2 blade, the smallest I could find. I susspect that Shipwright has smaller blades for his Chevalet (I spelled it correctly for the first time without looking it up). I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3017 days

#8 posted 10-15-2012 01:50 AM

That was an innovative way to join those edges. I’m with Paul; could make some very unique wooden hinges – and I know someone who is REALLY into wooden hinges :)

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

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