shoe shine boxOn a previous video, I re-made the Lynn Sabin adjustable Box Joint Jig and adapted it to the router table. I had put off doing this as I already had one that worked fine on the table saw, but after many, many requests I decided to make a router table version unit of all our European subscribers who cannot purchase dado blades in most European countries. After building the jig and trying it out, I found I really liked this version. It seems much less dusty to operate that the same jig on the table saw that is using dado blades or even the dedicated Freud - Box Joint Blade Set, and the joints are nice and crisp with cleaner edges that what I was getting on the table saw.

I decided the next step should be to actually make project of some sort so I can really try out this jig and see how it really performs. As it happens, I had been in an Antique Store a few weeks earlier and had seen, what I called a shoe shine tote. A lovely little box, with box joint corners and some sort of a sole deck on top of the lid that could double as a handle.

I didn't have any plans and just went by what I had remembered when I saw the tote in the store. The only thing that really stood out for me was that the box joints appeared to be 1/4", which was perfect for this new router based, box joint jig.

I stared off my planing some lumber down to 3/8" in thickness. I decided to make the top and the bottom slightly thicker and used 1/2" thick boards for these. I just felt there might need to be a bit more support on the top and the bottom than on the sides.

I gang cut the right and left sides of the box to 8" high and 12" long. The front and back sides would be 7" wide and also 8" high. The tops I would cut to size after the sides were cut and glued, I wanted to cut the top and bottom to an exact size and with the pins being a bit "proud" (sticking out so they could be sanded flush later) I was not certain of sizes so would cut them later.

I wanted to cut all box joint sides at the same time and knew it would take 2 passes. I also knew that one side of the box joint needed to one join more or less than the opposing sides so I used my 1/4" plastic marking gauge to set the front and back sides -1/4" offset from the sides.

After this was done I simply secured the pieces in the box joint, making sure that all the bottoms were sitting exactly on the bottom of the jig base ... and began the cutting. When all the box joints were cut on the one side, I eased the pieces our of the box joint and flipped them upside down making sure not to mix up the offset sides. I placed the uncut sides in the jig, double checked the offset to make sure it was exact ... tightened down all the sides in the jig and did the whole process again,this time working from right to left on the router table. This way it saves me from having to re-set the jig carriage each time.

When it came time to dry fit the sides, I found them very snug, in fact, too snug to really get any glue into, and that would be crucial. To fix this, I used one of my old used metal files that happens to exactly 1/4" thick, and pulled it ONCE through each slot. What this did was to make the joints much easier to come together, an more receptive to including gluing the joints up, which of course make them quite strong.

Next I glued the sides together, working with only 2 sides at a time. I have found in the past trying to glue up all sides at the same time is poor as the some of the glue is already setting up by time I get to starting to put the joint together.

After all the sides were glued up and squared, I was able to mark for the top and bottom pieces. I decide to rabbet the top and bottom, which was easily done on the table saw.

The final step of course that takes this project from a box joint box, to a shoe shine box is the wooden sole that is afixed to the top. I had previously selected a small piece of slightly figured maple for this and cut out what looked to me a nice shape, on the bandsaw.

To make the box joint stand out, I decided to color the box with a darker dye finish, and after that I used 3 coats of Osmo to give the box a nice luster.

I think I may have found yet another version of this jig that I like better on the router than on the table saw and am looking forward to more projects in the future for this great little jig

Copyright - Colin Knecht