Peter…Perfect Splined Mitre Joints in Five Minutes Without Clamps
When I posted "Arnie's Tea Box" http://lumberjocks.com/projects/50187 one of the comments (Roger) was that these boxes make a great venue for displaying my marquetry. I totally agree but that meant streamlining the process of making the box. First was to come up with a jig to make the corners perfect every time quickly.
Here is what I came up with.
Disclaimer: I'm not a jig person so my jigs are usually utilitarian and often "throw away".
This photo shows the parts disassembled. Dimensions are irrelevant and I didn't take any so even I don't know them.
Here the base piece has been turned right side up. The groove is for the pin in the top part. The cutouts at the apex are to insure that no glue contacts the jig.
Assemble the top part onto the bolt and adjust so that the spaces on the sides fit your stock width. Then slide the pieces of your box together until they match perfectly.
Now remove one piece without moving the other. Coat the end with hot hide glue….Oh yes, this is a commercial for hide glue, sorry. But please bear with me.
Slide the piece back in and as the jig does most of the work, simply squeeze the top of the joint for about 15 seconds or so.
This is the joint removed from the jig about 30 to 45 seconds after the glue was applied. It's already strong enough to hold together.
A minute later it is strong enough to have it's spline grooves cut.
A little more hide glue on the splines and slip them into place.
In the time it takes to walk over to the band saw the splines are glued well enough to trim off.
The glue is easy to rub off with your finger. It will ball up like rubber cement. You can throw it back in the pot if it's not too contaminated with sawdust. Then you can sand the joint and you're done. The elapsed time between this photo and the one where the pieces were dry fitted is under five minutes and with the splines now in place the piece is strong enough to continue to handle and work with.
Of course in real life it is not necessary to get things done this quickly. Pieces can sit while others are fitted and glued, but this is how fast it can be done.
This joint is perfectly square, both vertically and horizontally, despite the fact that if you look closely, my "hot off the miter saw" cut was not.
I made a jig. Who would have thought.
Comments, questions, critiques are always welcome.
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