My first box with my first box mistake. How to properly do this?


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Oh, I've done that... small sides makes it harder, you need to do a stop cut. What are you using to cut the rebate? A table saw or a router or hand tools?

With the table saw, you need to get creative with sides that small... something like cut the rebate before you "cut the long side off the short side". Stop the cut a little more than the thickness early, then square it with a chisel.

Stop cuts are easier with the router, and easiest of all if you go straight hand tools. A cut that short would probably be faster with chisels than it would take you to set up the table saw or router table. Best of all, it gives you an excuse to buy a router plane!

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If you go the powert tool route, there are a couple of options:

- You could clamp the part down and plunge cut with a handheld router. If you can secure the piece, this will likely be the safest power tool option

- You could use a router table, with either a stright bit or a slot cutting bit. In both cases, you'll have to move the workpiece into an already spinning blade. The first time I did this, it wasn't nearly as frightening as I anticipated, but YMMV.

For hand tools, you're looking at a plow plane. If you cut the ends first with a chisel, starting & stopping the plane will be easier.

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I just had an idea that might be crazy. I haven't had time to think it through...

Make the four sides and dry fit them. Maybe use some tape or a band clamp, and maybe glue all but the last side. Then, use a router with a slot cutting bit and a bearing guide to cut a slot around all four sides. Instead of squaring up with a chisel, round the corners of the bottom with a rasp or jig-saw. Unless I'm missing something, it should be quick and easy.

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I have done it the way Beachwood said and it works good on thicker stock. You have either some chiseling to do to the sides or radius the bottom (or door panel) to match the radius of the bit. I prefer the router table method myself, as long as you remove small amounts it's smooth running. If you are still nervous clamp a block on the right side to support the stock (if your work piece is short enough). By having the block there you never have to fear the work piece moving, brace against the fence and the block and lower onto the bit.

The good thing is this is probably the last time you make this mistake :)

Nate

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... snip ...

For hand tools, you're looking at a plow plane. If you cut the ends first with a chisel, starting & stopping the plane will be easier.

Agree with the plough plane (but not the spelling :) ) although stop cuts are pretty tricky with hand tools. An alternative would be to mitre the top and bottom 'fingers', then the groove is hidden, and you get nice edges too.

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John

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So it's easy to see the mistake, when I cut the botton panel I cut all the way through the sides. How should I do this correctly when dealing with small sides like this?

Make a stopped dado on the end pieces on the router table, it is easy to do. Another less elegant solution, that you could use for the box you have in your hand. is to cut some short plugs to fill the gaps.

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although stop cuts are pretty tricky with hand tools. An alternative would be to mitre the top and bottom 'fingers', then the groove is hidden, and you get nice edges too.

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John

Definitely tricky, thus my use of "easier" and not "easy" in the suggestion. ;)

I do really like the idea of mitring the bottom fingers to hide the groove!

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Ryan, I've made quite a few more than one small box. Yet, this gift building season I did that mistake again. Got lazy on my thinking and just went for it. Maybe it was because last ones I made used the mitered dovetails for grooved sections. Welcome to the klub.

I am not fond of stopped cuts on router table, especially with thin stock. Used to do it for thicker material and usually felt ok, but these days I use plunge router with fence on top of bench. To accommodate small pieces you may have to put bit of thought to your work holding to allow full range of motion but after a few times it gets natural. I like being able to see the cutting taking place, rather than on the underside of the work piece.

I really do like the look of mitered dovetails, but it adds to complexity. Especially when using zebrawood. Even when I can see my lines, the lines of the wood make my brain drift to them or not trust my pencil lines. Fun.

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I'd cut all the way through the area with the notch on all four sides (tops and bottoms) and insert a horizontal spline. A different color wood like black walnut or cherry. That way the mistake becomes a special feature.

My last box has several "features". It has a moulding where the rabbeted bottom didn't fit as well as I had hoped, and black walnut inlay all the way around the top where that rabbet didnt fit either. I had used a rabbeted top and bottom so I would avoid having the cut thru area (again)

Great tips everyone thanks!

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