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Tablesaw Box Joints Washington DC

Box joints have alternating pins and sockets. To fit together, one piece has pins where the mating piece has sockets (Fig. B, page, 70). The challenge is to cut pins and sockets that are virtually the same size, with paper-thin tolerances for fitting the joint.

The Home Depot
(202)526-8760
901 Rhode Island Ave
Washington, DC
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(301)839-9600
6003 Oxon Hill Road
Oxon Hill, MD
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(301)345-6774
4700 Cherry Hill Rd
College Park, MD
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(703)534-9580
6210 Seven Corners Ctr
Falls Church, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(703)642-3660
6555 Little River Trnpke
Alexandria, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(301)891-1106
3301 E West Highway
Hyattsville, MD
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(301)324-0180
150 Hampton Park Blvd
Capitol Heights, MD
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(703)823-1900
400 S Pickett St
Alexandria, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(301)805-8149
10301 M L King Jr. Hwy
Lanham, MD
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(703)619-5124
7710 Richmond Hwy
Alexandria, VA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Tablesaw Box Joints

Tablesaw Box Joints

A shop-made jig with micro-adjust guarantees perfect joints.

by Tim Johnson

Box joints are the savvy woodworker’s alternative to dovetails. Strong, great-looking and quickly made, box joints are an especially good choice when you have a large number of items to produce. To make them, you need your tablesaw, a miter gauge, a dado set and a simple shop-made jig (Fig. A, below). I’ll show you how to build the jig and use its micro-adjust system to dial in perfect-fitting box joints. 

Box joints have alternating pins and sockets. To fit together, one piece has pins where the mating piece has sockets (Fig. B, page, 70). The challenge is to cut pins and sockets that are virtually the same size, with paper-thin tolerances for fitting the joint. Fortunately, the jig can make paper-thin adjustments. It also automatically positions both pieces so their pins and sockets are correctly offset.

Design Details

Pins and sockets can be wide or narrow to suit your project. To size them appropriately, you merely adjust the width of the dado set. For example, to cut 1/4-in.-wide pins and sockets, use a 1/4-in.-wide dado set. The blade’s height determines the length of the pins and sockets. This length matches the thickness of your box pieces. Flat-bottomed dadoes are a must for good-looking joints. 

It’s best to start with your box pieces oversize and trim them to final width after you cut and fit the joints. Box joints usually turn out to be wider than the sum of the pin and socket widths because of the fit-tolerance between each pin and socket. Starting oversize allows you to compensate. 

Photo 1: Set the blade height using a piece from your project. Place the piece on the jig’s carriage and raise the blade. 

A scrap piece held on top tells you when the blade is exactly even with the workpiece. Before moving on to the next step, make sure the miter gauge bar slides smoothly without any side-to-side play. 

Photo 2: Clamp the adjustable fence temporarily to the carriage and cut a slot through both pieces. After cutting, thickness-plane a 12-in.-long piece to exactly fit the slots’ width. Cut this piece into three keys. Trim one key to two-thirds the size of the slot’s height. 

Photo 3: Use three hardwood keys to position the adjustable fence on the carriage. Glue one key in the fence slot. Fit the second key in the carriage slot and sandwich the spacer key in between. Securely clamp the fence to the carriage while butting the three keys snugly together. Drill pilot holes and fasten the fence. Remove the clamps and the two temporary keys. 

Photo 4: Micro-adjust blocks allow you to fine-tune the jig by paper-thin amounts. Attach one block to the carriage base. Butt the second block against the first, with two pieces of paper between them. Fasten this block to the adjustable fence. The space between the carriage bloc...

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