How To Make Box Joints

The box joint is an amazingly simple, effective, and attractive way of creating a joint in carpentry. Unlike butt joints which are held together solely by glue, box joints gain most of their strength from their construction. By forming a series of 'fingers' that interleave with one another, you create an incredibly strong joint which will stay together for years.  The final benefit of this perfect joint is that the box joint is very easy to make; this easy-to-follow guide will give you all the steps.

You can make a box joint in a number of ways.  Whether you bite into the wood with a saw and file the edges, or use your table saw's box joint jig, it's simple to make the box joints.  Of course, if you have a box joint jig then the entire process is much faster!  If you do not have a table saw with a box joint jig you can use a dovetail jig and a file - or a manual saw and a file - to create the desired result.

When you are creating the joints, you first need to measure the depth and width of the fingers.  The size of the fingers is entirely up to you and will be decided by how you want your finished product to look; however, if your joints are smaller than half an inch you may lose some of the strength in the joint.  You should be very careful when creating these joints to get the sizes and positions exact.  Any mistakes can be fixed later on, but the finished product will look rather misshapen.

When you have finished the joints, dry fit them together to make sure everything lines up properly. When you have confirmed this, apply a thin layer of glue to the joints and slide them carefully together.  Be careful to wipe away all the excess glue on the inside and out to keep the smooth check pattern clear.  Once you have applied the glue to the joint, hold it firm in a clamp until the glue has set.  Remember to place paper towels around the wood so that the joint can be held firmly, but won't be damaged by the clamp itself.

Once the box, drawer, or single joint has been finished you should lacquer the wood to improve its presentation.  Once this has been done, your box joint is complete!


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