Joints #3: Woodsmith Tip Rabbeted Miter Joint test

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Blog entry by robscastle posted 04-05-2015 06:50 AM 3502 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: How to shorten timber using a tenoning Jig Part 3 of Joints series Part 4: The Reverse Glue Joint Aug 2015 »

If you are a Woodsmith Tip person every now and then a Woodsmith Video tip is posted.

Over the Easter Break I received the Rabbeted Miter Joint video tip and thought I would give it a run.

Some differences between my set up and that shown in the video demonstration.

I do not have a left tilting saw so the cut is inverted on one section.
I used a stop block instead of a rubbing strip
I did not use an outrigger
I did not switch blades from a Rip blade to a Crosscut Blade.
I used some recycled timber from a bed frame, unjointed or thicknessed.

Here is my initial plan and setup.

I used a setup block as you need to switch between 90 deg and 45 deg then return to the initial 90 deg depth setting.

The first 90 deg depth cut is at the width of your timber(more on the width later) and square, being about 3mm x 3mm
Do this on two pieces and four ends

Now cut the 45 deg angle.

You should have a profile like this.

Now return to 90 deg and cut the other two pieces but with the kerf inside the profile of the first, you are now going to leave a step.

Set the saw back to 45 deg and raise the blade so it cuts below the step only.

Like this.

Put them together and the profile will look like this.

Check each miter and if all is OK you have done well.

I thought all was good and wanted to see how accurate it was so I applied a band clamp and took some more pictures.

Joint 1

Joint 2

Joint 3

Joint 4

I wondered why there was an overlap on joints 1 and 2 so I checked the timber width with a vernier
The rail between Joint 1 and 2 was 22mm approx and between 3 and 4 21mm approx
Joint 1 2 side

Joint 3 4 Side

Squareness check.

I tried to get a shot with light showing between the square and the timber frame but failed!

Attempt 1

Attempt 2

Attempt 3 ( and give up)

But as you can see it clamps up OK


The Rabbeted miter joint does work there is a bit of setting up then back and forth but using only a table saw a satisfactory joint can be produced.

With jointed and thicknessed timber I would expect no overlapping and an perfect joint for your project

-- Regards Rob

7 comments so far

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4420 days

#1 posted 04-05-2015 11:53 AM

An interesting joint Rob. This is not a very good looking type of joint for fine work, but I can see it’s value in some applications because it will keep the joint locked into place at the inside corner. Great for rougher framing is my impression, but maybe I have missed the point.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3775 days

#2 posted 04-05-2015 01:04 PM

I saw that tip and felt is was a good theory that would be fussy to achieve. Your experiment bears this out. Clamping mitered corners with no slipping has not been a problem for me. I use ratchet straps to clamp up all my boxes. I have one of those band clamps but never use the corner blocks that came with it.

Thanks for testing this and sharing.

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

View Grumpymike's profile


2480 posts in 3401 days

#3 posted 04-05-2015 07:28 PM

I played with that joint using some oak scraps that were all milled the same … And I used the rub stick as shown in the video … ‘They’ just stick on the piece with double sided tape and cut … I had a problem with the rub stick not being square and causing a bind … and the shoulder cut wouldn’t come out square making a bad joint. To cure this hold the work piece against the miter gauge and butt the rub piece against the fence … now adjust for the cut.

Then on my fifth try I got a perfect joint and six and seven were just about as perfect and good enough to use in a project.

With all the fuss and frustration, I don’t think I will be using this joint. When I want to illuminate the miter slippage, I have used “kicker blocks” to hold everything in place till the glue sets and I unclamp it.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View robscastle's profile


7880 posts in 3290 days

#4 posted 04-06-2015 12:38 AM

Thanks guys for the feedack and own impressions

The joint was one that I saw and wondered why you would go to so much effort but WS sent it to me so I thought I would “give it a try out”

Some custom responces:-

Mike: YesI agree it certainly bland apperance and even using in rough framing as I did why would you bother.

gfadvm: again yes can only agree and i have never met a uncooperative joint a stap wont pull into line !

Grumpymike: The binding situation was the reason I opted to set my miter gauge and fence accuratley.

Would I use it … I would not as I have “other” tools available to make lock miter jonits but the ability is there with just everybodies First Best Friend the Humble Table Saw,....I couldnt live without my table saw !!

It was an interesting trial on a quiet Easter Sunday arvo.

I guess I should finish it make a base and turn it into a workshop tray for something, otherwise it was destined for the Too short for anything scrap bin. Thanks all!

-- Regards Rob

View Grumpymike's profile


2480 posts in 3401 days

#5 posted 04-06-2015 06:00 PM

Hey Robert,
You know, as I was puttering with this joint again, it dawned on me (Zap! Picture a bolt of lightning) ... The whole idea of this lock miter joint was to keep it from slipping around during glue up … Right? ...
There is a spline in the miter!! it can’t slip if the spline is somewhat snug.
Duh! I think I had a blond senior moment …
A regular miter with a spline will work just as well with out all the frustration and fidgeting of the lock miter.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View robscastle's profile


7880 posts in 3290 days

#6 posted 04-06-2015 08:24 PM

Grumpymike You are correct ! A very common way to strengthen and stabilise miters, and make a feature of contrastingt imber if you wanted to.

Also going the other way a hit with a biscuit cutter will provide the same and hide the insert.

-- Regards Rob

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5138 days

#7 posted 04-08-2015 04:19 AM

Yes! I recently saw a show where they did this! Looks like a familiar procedure!

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

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