Mitered Corners

Still on the build of a box to hold the cremation ashes of my Father-In-Law for burial. Getting stock from the odd shaped boards was the start but after stickering it and letting it sit for a weekend (while I worked my real job) I came back to address the next steps.

The boards were never well taken care of or protected. The ends sat on concrete floors near open doors for as long as I remember before they were given to me. The faces saw rain and dirt and snow and I never really thought much how beautiful the wood under these layers of crap could be. They had too much sentimental value to him, even though he had given them to me. I was convinced I would just have to move them around the lumber rack forever. It is actually more of a relief getting to build something meaningful from them.

Trimming all the ends square and removing the rot and bug holes was the next step

Then I planed both sides of the boards, first with my #4 then with a #81 scraping plane. I wasn't going for flat as much as clean, and once I scrubbed the scruff off I was super impressed with what was underneath. Some curly figure as well!

All the boards set I took the long board that would yield all four box sided and plowed grooves on the top and bottom.

 I cut them to rough length and shot one end of each side square. I like using my #6 to shoot end grain, it has just the right amount of mass and length.

I used the tablesaw to make the mitered cuts. I find I get my best chance of success shooting my reference edge square (the edge that rides along the fence.)  Your table saw has to be well set up and maintained with the fence set square and then I raise the blade all the way up and then measure the 45 degree tilt using the black reference body from my small combination square. Then I lower the blade down to a reasonable cutting height and set my fence.

For these cuts I cross cut using the fence as the guide, I do not use the miter gauge or any sliding table. I run the miter on one end of matching sides, then creep up on the outside length I'm after with multiple cuts, readjusting the fence each time. I make sure I hold the board edge tight to the fence and control were my fingers fall (away from the blade!)

Once I dial in the cut on the first board, following with the second is easy and the two sides should match up perfectly.

I measured for the top lid and bottom panel and cut rabbets for the grooves. You've gotta work cross grain first and then the long grain to keep the tears inside your eyes.

I find fitting panels like this fiddly, seems I always miss one of my dimension and have to creep up on the perfect size. Fortunately it's not difficult to make the adjustments with hand tools. A couple swipes of a plane here, a little work with a chisel there and everything fits.

Once I had the basic box dry assembled and held together with blue painter's tape I realized a design problem I hadn't anticipated. I'm pretty sure I've figured my way out of it but I'll show you next time. Until then. . .

Ratione et Passionis


  1. Nice stuff buddy! A fitting tribute for your Father-in-law. I can't help but notice you are shrinking my friend! Good for you!

  2. Very nice progress. It is wonderful seeing the grain wrap smoothly around the box.
    And, yes, you have solved the "design problem" by now. What a fine use for that long remembered wood.


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