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A simple join for a beginner

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rocketmagnet

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Hi all,

This is my first post here, and I am looking for some advice.

My background: I have some, but not a huge amount of experience working with wood. I made some fairly complex shelves and sliding drawer
from 12mm ply. I designed them on the computer, and had the pieces CNC cut for me. (See attached photo). I also have a lot of experience in
the robotics industry as a mechanical engineer, designer, software developer, electronic engineer, and CNC machinist (in a small company,
you have to do everything).

My project: For my next project, I want to do everything my self, no more CNC. It's a kitchen worktop that sticks out into the room a bit, like
a breakfast bar. It's got some 18mm ply shelves in it too. The top and end piece will be made from 40mm solid beech worktop.

Now, I don't anticipate any major problems cutting and joining the ply shelves, but what I'm a bit intimidated by is the right angle join
in the 40mm wood. I would like to join this nicely, with no visible screws or dowels.

Ideally I would like to cut the two pieces at 45 degrees, but then I'm not sure how to join them together properly.

I would be pretty happy to make a half blind dove-tail, but I don't have access to the equipment necessary to do that. Perhaps a sliding
dove-tail isn't too crazy? The main problem here is trying to balance my hand router on the top edge of the end piece.

I could hire a biscuit cutter to do a simple end on face type join, but that seems kind of nasty.

The tools I have available are: A plunge saw with guide rail, and a hand-held router. I would be very grateful for any advice in this
area.

Many thanks

Hugo Elias
 

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Shultzy

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I would make it a 45deg mitre with a row of biscuits, but if you haven't a biscuit jointer I would use dowels. Dowel jigs are fairly cheap, biscuit jointer are not that expensive and both would come in useful for other projects. .
 

custard

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Assuming you're confident of cutting accurate mitres with your plunge saw (running against a home made or manufactured rail), then I'd make a stopped groove with your router and insert a plywood spline.

If there's any doubt at all however about cutting accurate mitres then I'd go for a simple butt joint, reinforced with dowels or biscuits. Even though the idea of a mitre is appealing I see it isn't "balanced" by a corresponding mitre at the other end of the unit. Personally I think a single mitre like that may look a bit odd in design terms, therefore my instinct is to go with the butt joint.
 

Tomyjoiner

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If you are using your plunge saw then remember and cut from the back of your
Tops to leave a nice edge or tidy it up with a pass of the router, spend £10 an treat
Yourself to a biscuit cutter for your router an biscuit an glue them together. Also
You could make yourself a little jig from 1/2" ply or mdf for worktop connector
Bolts, id stick 3 of these in if i were u. In my opinion a but joint looks better on solid tops
But beware for movement in thickness over a few years you will find the and grain moving
Ever so slightly up an down. Im only talkin not even half a mill, nothin you might notice.if you do
The mitre its not as noticable as its end grain on end grain. Thats just my opinion though!
 

petermillard

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Assuming the top and the leg/end panel are the same thickness, then I'd do a bevel cut (long mitre) - you should just about be able to do this in a 40mm worktop with a plunge saw on a track, though make sure you clamp the track firmly! New blade wouldn't hurt, either... As for how to join it, dominoes would be my choice, but biscuits, a spline or dowels would also work, with varying degrees of difficulty/time consumption. A cheaper biscuit jointer might be useful if you think you're going to be taking on more complex builds in future - though possibly not as useful as having access to a CNC machine!

I built a desk for my son last year in Birch ply using a bevel cut & dominoes to join the end panel/leg to the top, and it's worked really well, very strong. Whereabouts are you in London btw? I'd be happy to cut a few domino mortices for you if you're within striking distance.

HTH Pete
 

rocketmagnet

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Hi guys,

many thanks for all of your sage advice. It is really helpful.

I hadn't considered the possibility that a single mitre might look unbalanced. But I think I'll still go with it because I don't like the idea of seeing the end grain.

What I'm not sure about is how to accurately cut the biscuit slots on the mitred surface. I guess a proper biscuit cutter would have some way to do this.
One way to do it with the router might be to clamp the two bits of wood back to back, as shown in the attached diagram.

Shultzy: I'm quite tempted by the idea of getting a biscuit jointer.

Custard: A stopped groove sounds interesting. But how can I accurately cut the groove? There's nowhere to clamp a fence.

Tomyjoiner: I'll remember to cut the wood from the back. I'll have some wood spare, so I'll use that to practice on first.

Peter: I'll definitely be using a new blade. I have access to a CNC machine, but it's *very*expensive. They were going to charge me more than a grand for this project! I live in Hackney so it's not a million miles away, but neither is it striking distance.

So, I guess my remaining questions are: How to I accurately but the biscuit slots or stopped groove in the mitred surface?

Hugo
 

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