I box, therefore I am

Ever tried a box joint (also mistakenly called a finger joint by Triton)?  Some regard it as a poor-man’s dovetail, but it is a legitimate joint in its own right, and can be used as a stunning joint, with the added bonus of significant glue area. You can pin the joint for even more strength, and if you take that one step further, the wooden hinge I made recently is another version of a box joint.

There are a number of plans out there to make a jig.  Some of them even offer the ability to have a couple of sizes of fingers.  Generous.

If you are fortunate enough to have an LS positioner on your router table, they are a pretty simple operation, but even that has some limitations.

They can be a stunning joint can’t they!  And those with variable spacing, or a central key pin are even more interesting.  As you become inspired by the joint, don’t you find yourself wishing someone like Incra would come up with a jig, incorporating their typical clever engineering, and insatiable appetite for precision?

Yeah, well, they did.  And it is a stunning looking tool at that.  Works on both the router table and the tablesaw, utilising the mitre slot.

I don’t have too much to add to the topic yet, other than these initial photos which just start to reveal the qualities of the jig.

On the tablesaw, this is one of those occasions where a dado blade really comes into its own.

The jig is currently available on pre-order through Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  The initial shipment is almost completely accounted for already, so if you are keen, be quick.

As I mentioned, I’m not going into a lot of detail as yet, but that is destined to change.  And you can talk to whomever you like on the blogs and forums, but at the moment I have loan of THE first pre-release model (the one that starred in the photos and video) to put through its paces, and there isn’t another one currently in the wild.  Just another Stu’s Shed exclusive!

It certainly has some very cool innovations – look forward to getting to know them better and to bring them to you as well.

In the meantime, have a gander at the following Incra video – it explains a lot.


Old Joints

Had a wander around a bit of a bric-a-brac / (unrefined) antiques shop recently, and found some interesting old boxes.  These boxes are not jewelry boxes by any stretch of the imagination, but not every box needs to be a work of art to fulfill a need.

I do see these boxes (from 40 to 80 years ago), and feel we have really lost a lot with the development of modern packaging and materials.  Sure they have convenience, low cost, low weight, easy recycling, but a cardboard box of whiskey has no class compared with a wooden case.  Note the particularly fine box (or finger) joint on this case of Johnnie Walker.  The fingers are about 3-5mm wide.

Johnnie Walker Case

This second box is older, and serves quite a different purpose to the above case.  It is a WWII ammunition box, and is designed for robustness and strength.  The fingers in this case are angled as you can see in the photo, so it appears to provide a bit of a wedging action when lifted (ammunition is notoriously heavy).  There is nothing pretty about the box – it is completely functional in application.

WWII Ammunition Box

Gifkins Dovetail Jig

It has been a while coming for me to write about the Gifkins Jig, and you’ll have to be patient with me a little longer, so I can put together a decent sequence of photos of the jig in action.

However, with my recent project that used the Gifkins to create the dovetailed joints, I found it to be an incredibly easy system to use – surprisingly so.  I had used one a few years ago for a few test cuts, but perhaps my woodworking was not at a point where I could really appreciate how easy a task it made it, or perhaps my woodworking was not at a stage where the rest of the construction would do a dovetail justice. However, by whatever road I have arrived at the current point, I can now really appreciate the benefits of the Gifkins.

Gifkins Dovetail Jig

Gifkins Dovetail Jig

The jig pictured here is the current model, now using an aluminium body, and comes with two stops as standard.  In addition in the foreground is the finger joint template, and the associated router bits for the two templates.

To the left of the template is the variable space upgrade set – a method by which you can achieve variable spaced dovetails despite it being a fixed template jig.

Mulga Box

Mulga Box

This box, recently pictured on the site was the result from a Gifkins Jig.  I am planning on having many more examples from a number of different projects this year!

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