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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Farmington, new hampshire
    Posts
    35

    Default making box joints

    hello,

    I'm going to try my hand at making some hives, I have a dado blade, but my question is what size should I make my box joints or does it even really matter, i have some hives that are 3/4 and othersd that are 1" the only thing that seems to be consistene in all of them is the 5/8 rabbit frame rests. My stacked dado blade set only goes to 3/4 of an inch and I really dont want to buy one that extends it to and inch but will if i have to.

    Thanks in advance.

    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Greenville, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,366

    Default Re: making box joints

    It doesn't matter. Smaller means more cuts, that's the only real difference. After you eat enough sawdust, try a few boxes with rabbets.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: making box joints

    Or T&G/Dovetail ... though dovetail fairly well requires a router table (it could be done with a tablesaw, but I think the "cut-count" for making the slot would get a bit ridiculous lol)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,489

    Default Re: making box joints

    The width isn't important other than attempting to avoid a very thin "finger" on the bottom. 7/8" works fine, so will 3/4".

    You should realize that most dado sets won't cut a full 7/8" without spacers -- most will produce 13/16" max unless you put some spacers in. Not a problem, just make sure you set the stack up CLEAN each time -- sawdust trapped between the blades and chippers will make the slot wider!

    Make sure you don't attempt to cut more than your saw can handle -- I have trouble because I have a belt driven saw without a really adequate tensioner, so it tends to slip under load, I get lots of chipping, and it burns. Will also trip the breaker, but if I get the belt properly tight, it cuts like a dream.

    A jig is fairly easy to make, although you may have to re-work it a time to two, and watch that you get the offset for the matching pieces right. Once you have it set up it doesn't take long, and the boxes are self-aligning for the most part. Do check for square after you put one nail in each side (8 in total) and square it up before driving more.

    The only other think I suggest is that you obtain a verified, true square (combination or die square, not a cheap one at Lowes or HD). You MUST have the blade, table, and slide all exactly square, or your boxes will have high corners and rock.

    A good sharp hand plane is nice too, for trimming down edges and "adjusting" slight mis-alignments. Don't run over any nails with it.....

    Peter

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: making box joints

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    A good sharp hand plane is nice too, for trimming down edges and "adjusting" slight mis-alignments. Don't run over any nails with it.....
    I think, considering the amount of time & work that was involved in turning my cheap, garbage, chipped-blade hand plane I bought from HFT into a "good sharp hand plane" (think, days), I'd cry myself to sleep the night after I hit a nail with it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: making box joints

    As someone else suggested if you will try the rabbet joint, and I use 3 screws on each front and back side in case I ever want to take it apart, you will find that it will hold just as well and is a whole lot faster and easier. This will mean that your side pieces will be a bit shorter to make them the same length.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,489

    Default Re: making box joints

    Try taking apart a rabbet joint and then a fully nailed box joint some time. I ran an 8p nail into a knot the other night and just about killed myself getting that stinking box joint apart to save the other three parts -- the knot was large but tight, and I forgot I was going to leave that nail out, it split and a big chunk fell off the corner.

    Believe me, box joints are MUCH stronger nailed up, I nearly beat the box to death getting the nails to stick up enough to pull, and had to break one out, it would not pull. Ive knocked rabbet joints of similar size apart in a couple hammer blows.

    I need to sharpen my hammer again.

    Peter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,492

    Default Re: making box joints

    I inherited a bunch of old boxes. My initial plan was to fix them up and use for my beehives. When I get closer to the plan, I soon figured out that most of these boxes are junk - almost all boxes had damage at the joints (finger joints, I do not know the name, typical joints). Upper joints were always rotten and the rest of the wood popped out (not flat). I think this "finger" joint (forgive my ignorance of proper English names) creates a huge area exposed to the weather. It makes it sensitive to the elements. Large surface area holds water and good place for mold etc. I build a couple of boxes without any "joints" - I just cut proper length and assemble planks using waterproof liquid nails and screws. One plank was just attached to another at 90oat the edges. I removed any traces of glue from inside the box and paint outside. I also assembled a few classical boxes. So, it 10 years, I will report if any difference between those boxes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,806

    Default Re: making box joints

    There are more variables contributing to the decay of boxes than the joint. This has been discussed many times in this forum. You must also consider the quality of the wood when the boxes were made, and the type and frequency of preservative, (paint, stain, wax dip etc). It is not always the joint that causes the failure.

    cchoganjr

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