Faster, Better and Safer
Part 1

by Dave Knipfer

I tried a new technique today that I think might be helpful to some of you ....   here are some photos and a description ...

One of my 'standard design' boxes requires me to form the box interior by hogging out nearly   7/8"   of material across a   3" wide part ......   until now I had done this with multiple and tedious passes across a dado blade ...

Today,   I started the machining on a new batch of   24 of these boxes .....   and when I got to that hogging-out part,   I just had to find a better way!

Basically .....   the technique that I came up with,   combines my tablesaw and bandsaw to allow me to essentially re-saw the bulk of the waste out without affecting the box sides .....

First ...   I used my tablesaw and a flat-ground rip blade to cut a kerf into the box interior.   For todays task,   I left about   0.050"   of extra material at the box bottom and the same spare material on the edges ....   just in case the idea was a huge bust.

Then,   I widened the kerf on one side only...   just enough to allow my   1/4"   bandsaw blade slide into it ...
Now,   its off to the bandsaw where I fixed a fence so that the blade rested at the bottom of that wider kerf .....   then,   I re-sawed the parts from kerf to kerf ...

When I was done with the re-sawing,   I had   24   boxes with the bulk of the interior waste removed very quickly... nbsp; and that bandsaw is much safer than any dado blade.

Now,   I need just one quick pass over the dado to remove the last of the waste...   and this part of the job is done.

I figure I saved about   10 minutes a box with this idea...   no big deal you say???   ...   well...   with   24 boxes,   that's   4 hours of time I'm not hunched over a dado blade...   and that a real saving to me!

Besides...   now I have   24 more pieces of firewood for those cold Maryland nights...   instead of more chips in my DC that I have to empty.

Those are not biscuit slots...   they are 1/8" wide by 0.220" deep mortises that I cut into the box bodies on my router table...   they will eventually mate up with a corresponding mortise in the box ends that I will join with a floating tenon and some epxoy.

I hope this idea is useful to someone out there.



You sparked my thinking.   I've not done any boxes yet - of any size, but have been contemplating doing so.   Now, I don't have a band saw, but with your demo here, I'm now thinking that for small boxes, I could get by with a coping saw.   Granted, there would probably be more work involved, but I think it may just work.   What would your thoughts on this be?
  Thanks for a good demo lesson!
Trisha, sure a coping saw works just fine for jobs like this.

I use my coping saw all the time...   mainly to cut out the waste on my dovetail joints...   it's actually quite effortless with a sharp blade and I say it is just fine if you lack a noisy bandsaw.

The problem you will discover Trisha is not the effort to do the work...   but the length limitations on your coping saw.

The box bottoms I show here are   8-7/8"   long...   easy to fit into my bandsaw...   but you'll need to find a coping saw with enough throat length to make the same parts.

Of course...   use your own asthethic and make them shorter if needed...   there is nothing sacred about   8-7/8"   long...   except that it allows me to get 4 boxes out of 1 standard piece of 36" long inlay.

Hey, Master, grasshopper here (for those of you too young to understand that, it's from an old TV show), it sounds like you're using a bisket.   Isn't a bisket just a football shaped floating tenon?

And, oh, yes, Master, cool idea!
Joe T
JoeT...   errrr Grasshopper...   please walk softly and quietly over the rice paper and I'll share the secret answer while you kung-fu slay the non-believers...

NOOOOO...   a mortise/tenon joint is NOT the same as a biscuit joint.

First...   tolerances...   a proper M/T joint is sized such that the joint needs glue only to hold it together...   there is no side-to-side slop...   while a biscuit joint has dimensional integrity only in the vertical direction...   you can move the sloppy thing at least 1/8" either way side to side.

Second...   strength...   a proper M/T joint resist all three forms of stress (bending, shear and torsion) as a result of it's close tolerances...   while a biscuit joint fails at shear stress much easier dur to it's sloppy fit.

Third...   well...   this one is more subjective...   but a fine WW making fine boxes (or furniture)...   would always use a true M/T joint over a biscuit because...   uhhhm...   well...   that what seperates fine WW from the rest of the herd???

Soooo...   just because this box uses a floating tenon versus a fixed tenon...   it's still a M/T joint and it's not a biscuit.

Ed...   errrr...   Grasshopper II...   geez I just have to stand in admiration of a guy who argues in logical terms armed with expermiental data on his side...

However...   you have neglected to include one important variable in your experiment...   time Grasshopper II...   time.

Since I create my boxes with every expectation they will last for at least 150 years...   your experiment needs a few more humidity cycles to hold weight in this court of WW!

I will grant that most probably my 3-1/2" wide boxes glued up as you did will PROBABLY last forever...   even without that M/T joint...   so MAYBE it is surperfolous...   and a guy making some for Holiday gifts could probably do without it...

But I'm just a conservative type WW who believes in doing it right and solid so that it WILL FOR SURE last forever...   hence the M/T joint.

Now...   I've already sent my sawdust to Tampa Tom so I'm coming up with something appropriate for you!

Now...   did you get across that rice paper yet without breaking it??

A little off topic but...   when you put those 5mm hinges on, do you chamfer the back outside edges?   If so, is this done after the hinge is installed?   I have been messing around with your technique and will say it is pretty cool.

You have to chamfer them Goodwood to allow clearance for the lid to open.

I make the chanfer on my router table after the hinge holes are drilled.

If you are careful and sneak up on the width of the chamfer...   you'll also get a built-in 95 degree stop for the lid in the open position.

Maybe next time I make a batch of these I'll take the time to show all the steps from raw wood to final boxes...   kind of like a 'build a box with Dave' series...   these are fun boxes and a great skill builder for those folks new at box making.


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