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  • Focus Project - Mitre Boxes by Gerry Coon

Focus Project - Mitre Boxes by Gerry Coon

The mitre boxes are made from the one piece of timber. They can be any size or angle. On this occasion I used a board 400 x 180 x 19mm.

Step. 1

Mitre the long edges of the timber. This can be done by ripping either side of the board on a table saw with a tilting blade set to 45°, or on your jointer with the fence also set to 45°.

A Lock Mitre Bit set in a router table is ideal for this. Alternatively the sides can be butt-joined and screwed, if you have limited equipment.

Step. 2

Crosscut the board through the middle and rip one of the halves up the middle to create the sides.

Step. 3

Being long grain you can just glue the mitred sides to the base. I prefer to use biscuits to ensure accurate positioning. Note that I have mounted a Parrot Vise onto a board that I can fix to my bench with hold-downs. This is a real asset in my workshop.

Step. 4

After cutting the biscuit slots, the sides are glued to the base of the box. Cut a spacer to ensure the sides remain parallel when clamping. Any of the Titebond glues work well in this situation. It’s best to sand the components before assembling them, take care to wipe off the glue that squeezes out after clamping.

Step. 5

After the glue is dry fine sand the mitre box, paying particular attention to sealing the end grain.

Step. 6

Mark out the angles you want to cut. I use a Japanese Try Square (49N0502). A Digital Angle rule (DAR-200) would also work, particularly if you want to mark out unusual angles. Mark out all the way down the sides as well, this gives you a line to follow if you are hand sawing the slots.

To cut the angled slots on a table saw you need a very fine saw blade. CMT make a range of thin kerf blades that range from a 1.3mm kerf in the 160mm blades to 1.7mm in the 250mm.

Alternatively, this is a great chance to get some good hand-sawing practice in. Use the saw that you intend to use with the mitre box. I use a fine tooth Japanese saw.

This is a great test of your sawing skill. Use a piece of wood clamped across as a guide. If you have trouble following the line, set a mirror up in front of your work to guide you behind the cut.

To personalise my work I have inlaid mother of pearl in the form of constellations. You can choose something of your own to give your mitre box that little bit of detail to set it apart from the everyday.