Mitered Spline joint for case of tv stand

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Forum topic by willy66 posted 06-23-2011 04:14 PM 2429 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View willy66's profile


44 posts in 3165 days

06-23-2011 04:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question joining modern tip jig traditional

Hey folks,

I’m constructing a media console and would like to use a spline-ed miter join to construct the case (all four corners). It will be constructed out of 1” thick hardwood (not sure what yet). I’m not clear as to how deep the splines should be into the miter. Also am looking for tips on how to make the splines themselves. I was thinking make them overs-sized and then trim the excess. Would love to dovetail the case, but not so confident in my skills, but like the look of the splines contrasting the rest of the case. Im gonna cut the splines in with my biscuit jointer and a cool jig I found on Fine Woodworking’s website.

Any and all advice is welcome.


-- -Willy, White Plains, NY

6 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4780 days

#1 posted 06-23-2011 05:00 PM

I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but the way I do it is to make the cut as deep as possible without going all the way through the joint. Of course, you can make it shallower if you want the exposed portion of the spline to be smaller.

As for making the splines, I do just like you said…. I make them oversized, then trim and sand flush.

Now for the bad news, and this is just my opinion so take it with a grain of salt: Miter and spline construction is great for small, decorative boxes, but I wouldn’t trust it for a large case unless you can figure out a way to add additional reinforcement, like glue blocks, to strengthen the joint.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View willy66's profile


44 posts in 3165 days

#2 posted 06-23-2011 05:35 PM

I was worried about strength myself, so thanks for the input. I will actually be able to add some substantial glue blocks. That way I could make the splines a little deeper if I like.

Thanks Charlie!

-- -Willy, White Plains, NY

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4306 days

#3 posted 06-23-2011 05:43 PM

Ditto what Charlie said. If you’re planning on putting a back on the case, it should help strengthen the joint, along with your glue blocks. Make sure your glue block grain is running the same direction as the case lumber, especially if you make them go all the way across the joint.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3832 days

#4 posted 06-23-2011 06:05 PM

Willy, I’ll add my vote to Charlie with one caveat. If you use dominoes or a floating tenon on your box…prior to splining…it may give it the necessary strength. I have used my Domino system for just such situations and it has performed perfectly – I get easier joint alignment..more glue area….and a much stronger joint. If you do not have a domino…you can make your own tenons with a slot cutter and some “tenon” stock. Also…I would add that you can use a lock mitre bit to get more strength and you can still spline this after assembly.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Viktor's profile


466 posts in 3981 days

#5 posted 06-23-2011 06:06 PM

In terms of strength splines are not much different from finger joint (or thanks to modern glues dovetail joint) with comparable cross section. Just add more splines and/or make them thicker.

View Angela's profile


205 posts in 3458 days

#6 posted 08-02-2011 03:26 PM

I’m not sure if you’ve finished your project yet but I was researching this website regarding splines when I came across your posting. I’m working on a TV stand with miter edges. If I were to do it over I would have used a router lock miter joint bit, but I didn’t. I was researching to discover how to enforce the corners. I thought of biscuits but then I ran across an article in a book by American Woodworker called Woodworking the right technique by Bob Moran. They recommend splines over biscuits. On page 14-149 there are clear illistrations for each step on splines.They suggest cutting the spline close to the inside of the joint -3/16” and a typical goove for 3/4” stock is 1/4” X 1/4”.

The one thing I was wondering about is what would be the best type of wood to use for the spline. The book talks about making the spline snug fitting but it will still have to expand and contract.

Well just thought I’d add what I’ve discovered.

-- - Helping other woodworker's

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