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    Secrets to Mitered Box Making

    Dovetailed boxes are beautiful but let's face it: dovetails are difficult to cut. And although mitered boxes often catch a lot of flack, perhaps for being "too easy," they've actually got a lot going for them. Mitered joints require only a quick setup on the tablesaw, and once set up, the cuts are repeatable. From an artistic view, mitered joints are beautiful, with only long grain showing around the sides of the box. Miters are inherently weak, so you'll need to add joint reinforcement, but splines or keys add an additional element of beauty to a perhaps otherwise plane box.

    Here are five tips from furniture maker Gary Rogowski that will help ensure your boxes are beautiful, strong, and sure to please. For even more on Rogowski's techniques, be sure read this free download on Making Mitered Boxes.

    Making Mitered Boxes--Techniques for Grain Matching and Strong Corner Joints

    1.) Resaw for Continuous Grain
    Sides resawn from thick stock on the bandsaw will produce a box with four matching corners.
     2.) Use a Tablesaw Sled
    Keep a sled exclusively for cutting miters. Use a stop block when cutting the second miter to ensure matching parts are cut to the same length.
     3.) Use Band Clamps or Clear Tape
    Once you have verified that the joints are tight, crank down on the band clamps, but not so much that the webbing crushes the corners. Another trick used by box maker Doug Stowe is to use clear packing tape wrapped around the box as a clamp.
     4.) Two Methods for Strengthening a Joint Before Assembly
    If you want to produce a series of mitered joints that are uninterrupted by splines or keys (mentioned in the article donwload) consider using a concealed biscuit or a through-spline. Either method will reinforce the joint just fine. As an added bonus. splines or biscuits will make it easier to align the miters during glue-up.
     5.) Splines Add Beauty and Reinforcement
    You can use a shopmade tablesaw sled to create kerf cuts into which splines can be glued. Consider using a wood species of contrasting color.