Woodworking questions (dovetail/box joints and router/table saw)

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To all those out there that woodwork regularly...I'm trying to get my feet wet a bit. I do have 2 quick questions:

1) What's the most efficient way to either dovetail or box joint a larger stock (think like toy chest size). I know there are dovetail jigs out there but they all seem to max out at maybe 12". Is there a point to dovetailing or box jointing such a large size piece of wood? This is one image I found searching:



2) Should I invest in a router/router table first or a table saw? I gather there are things that both could do but one may excel at. I feel a router may be more versatile? Obviously I think for the serious woodworker, having both would be idea.

Appreciate any insight....
 
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For box joints A simple Jig on you're table saw will do a perfect job for any size joint you desire. For dovetails you can cut the wings with the hand saw and the center with a table saw but a good jig and a router is the way to do it easy..
 

richc

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For box joints A simple Jig on you're table saw will do a perfect job for any size joint you desire. For dovetails you can cut the wings with the hand saw and the center with a table saw but a good jig and a router is the way to do it easy..
Is there a jig you'd recommend for a newbie? i'm in the same place as the OP.
 

PatMcD

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I made my own. Basically a pin the exact same size as the dado blade and it will come out perfect.
 
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To all those out there that woodwork regularly...I'm trying to get my feet wet a bit. I do have 2 quick questions:

1) What's the most efficient way to either dovetail or box joint a larger stock (think like toy chest size). I know there are dovetail jigs out there but they all seem to max out at maybe 12". Is there a point to dovetailing or box jointing such a large size piece of wood? This is one image I found searching:



2) Should I invest in a router/router table first or a table saw? I gather there are things that both could do but one may excel at. I feel a router may be more versatile? Obviously I think for the serious woodworker, having both would be idea.

Appreciate any insight....
the jigs maxing out at 12" doesn't much matter because you'll be making your case out of smaller boards that will fit in the jig....unless you have some connection to a secret stash of wide old growth lumber or are going with pricey imported species. Just lay out box joint carefully and then when you glue the boards together into the size you need for the chest you're good to go.

you could go ooooold school and work with a backsaw and chisels. I'm guessing you don't want to invest that kind of time in the project though as you've already mentioned power tools...nothing wrong with that. I've done some hand-cut dovetails for a few projects and found it very satisfying, but time consuming.

Others have linked to the simple box joint jigs for the table saw and that's probably the way to go BUT....

there's more that goes into making a box like that than just cutting the joints. where are you planning on getting the lumber and how are you going to 4 square it before cutting the joinery? if the boards are at all warped then the joints aren't going to line up the way you want and you'll have a world of problems. you can spend time at a lumber yard carefully picking some good S2S material that is as flat as possible and acclimate it to your shop and that will help, but if it decides to move on you you might have trouble getting good tight joints.

if you had a full cabinet makers shop you would most likely:
  1. joint a face flat
  2. joint an edge perpendicular to that flat face
  3. plane the opposite face parallel to the jointed face
  4. rip the last edge square
some people do it in a slightly different order but that's the basic steps. if you can find good un-warped lumber that has been surfaced on at least the two faces you can get by without the big tools. If you can find good un-warped lumber surfaced on all 4 sides even better.

I personally think that one of the first power tools that should be purchased for a shop is a good bandsaw. it's a lot more forgiving than a table saw or router and very versatile. you could even cut 99% of a box joint on the bandsaw and cleanup the remainder with a chisel....

last word of semi-wisdom if you're new to woodworking: a tablesaw (and to some extent bandsaw) is very good at making nice clean cuts which means if something goes wrong they might be able to put you back together. on the flip side a router makes everything it touches into hamburger.
 
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