Planing Thin Stock for Miter Keys/Splines


TomInNC
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I'm start a few quick box projects for Christmas, and the boxes will have keyed miter sides. I made the same boxes last year, and I am just now remembering that my process for making the miters keys was... not efficient. My first attempt at making the key stock involved using double-stick tape to attach a strip to a sled that ran through the planer. The issue that came up with this approach was that when I needed to remove the stock from the sled to see how close I was to the fit on the box slots, it was almost impossible to remove the stock, and when I did finally pry it loose, it snapped into pieces. At the time I was running way behind the Christmas deadline, so I gave up on finding a good solution and just used the planer to get the stock down to about 1/4 or so; at this thickness it could be removed from the tape without snapping. Then I hand-sanded the keys the rest of the way down. 

Short of getting a drum sander, is there a smarter way to make stock that will give a good fit with the slots?

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Before my drum sander I used a scrap piece to adjust the table saw fence and just made thin cuts there.

I remember this video from Marc. I've done versions of this and it works pretty well. The shellac sealer and CA dab at the tip is the ticket. a tiny dab at both ends would add some security. The planner would need to break both glue bonds before it could get sucked into the cutter head as it would have to stretch the wood along the grain which is difficult.

I had an 1/8" veneer sled work well for me using carpet tape that i threw some saw dust on to reduce the stickyness. It held ok with some pressure but popped off easy.

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On 12/7/2022 at 12:09 PM, Chet said:

I used a hand plane, cheaper then a drum sander and faster then hand sanding, before I got my drum sander which is what I use now.

Granted, this was before I had a proper workbench, but I tried using hand planes and couldn't come up with a smart way to hold work that thin. If I remember correctly, I clamped one end of the strip to my outfeed table and took a block plane to it. Because the clamp was in the way, I ended up with a pretty severe taper. That's when I ended up sanding the thick part down to 1/8.

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7 minutes ago, TomInNC said:

Thanks for the video. In terms of using this approach to hit an exact thickness, would you just keep taking the strip off and test fitting? Or would it actually be worth taking some dial calipers out for this?

Yep both work if you skip the back dab of CA glue just lift the rear up and test there and keep going. I'd get the planer setting dialed and then run a boatload. I have a few hundred LF of spline material in my shop between walnut maple and cherry so i don't have to make it just grab and go.

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That method works really well too. I tried that after the first time you posted. I could have sworn there was a better way. I think the other method used the ledge created by the saw kerf as a push block so you cut the entire strip off instead of leaving it dangling. So essentially same way just flip the board over.

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I bought one of these, and it's probably the most stupid purchase I can remember doing.  It's a PIA with a Biesmeyer fence with no fine adjuster.

Don't buy one.

https://www.rockler.com/thin-rip-tablesaw-jig?sid=V91072&gclid=Cj0KCQiAkMGcBhCSARIsAIW6d0BWDx6pThr5pxkYfP3dYj9ZaBCsKiTlNvyUP9RofpCnlj8XHxSpGWQaAnzkEALw_wcB

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On 12/7/2022 at 10:58 AM, Tom King said:

I bought one of these, and it's probably the most stupid purchase I can remember doing.  It's a PIA with a Biesmeyer fence with no fine adjuster.

Don't buy one.

https://www.rockler.com/thin-rip-tablesaw-jig?sid=V91072&gclid=Cj0KCQiAkMGcBhCSARIsAIW6d0BWDx6pThr5pxkYfP3dYj9ZaBCsKiTlNvyUP9RofpCnlj8XHxSpGWQaAnzkEALw_wcB

+1.  I have one in a drawer somewhere.  DRO and a sacrificial push block handle this for me.  Like others I will plane or drum sand to final thickness if they are really thin.

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On 12/7/2022 at 12:03 PM, wtnhighlander said:

I can recommend this method of cutting exact kerf-width strips. It works like a charm, for any blade you use.

 

It just doesn’t get much simpler than that. Now to figure out how to save it to when I need it. 

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