How to Make a Finger Joint Jig

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Finger joints, also referred to as box joints, are a suitable alternative to more-difficult-to-produce dovetail joints. Finger joints are strong and durable, providing plenty of surface area for gluing. They are primarily found in drawer construction, and a simple jig makes the job of producing them fast and easy.

Things You'll Need

  • Table saw
  • Dado cutter
  • Scrap piece of 3/4-inch plywood
  • 10-inch-long piece of hardwood
  • Wood glue
  • Safety glasses
  • Hammer
  • Brad
  • Cut a scrap piece of 3/4-inch plywood to an approximate size of 10 inches long and 4 inches wide. Use a table saw to make the cuts.

  • Rip, or make a lengthwise cut in, a 10-inch-long piece of hardwood. You can do this on the table saw by positioning the rip fence to trim off the hardwood strip to the exact width you want to make the finger joint. Typical sizes are 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch, but it depends on the size of your project and personal choice.

  • Crosscut the ripped hardwood, making one section 4 inches long and the other 6 inches long. You will use the 6-inch piece later as a gauge block, while the 4-inch piece will become a key component of the jig.

  • Unplug the table saw, remove the blade and install a dado cutter in its place. Adjust the dado cutter so that it will cut a groove exactly the same width as the ripped hardwood. You can use the 6-inch-long gauge block to determine the dado cutter setting.

  • Adjust the cutting height of the dado so that it matches the depth of the finger joint you want to produce.

  • Hold the 4-by-10-inch plywood piece against the table saw's miter gauge and make a single pass through the dado cutter. Make this pass somewhere between a quarter and a third of the way from one end of the board. The exact distance is not critical.

  • Put a little glue along the edges of the groove you just cut and insert the 4-inch-long ripped hardwood in the groove. Nail in a brad to secure the piece. The 4-inch hardwood is now a finger extending from the 4-by-10-inch back piece.

Tips & Warnings

  • A dado cutter is adjustable and uses a series of blades to quickly cut wide grooves in wood.
  • Wear safety glasses while using power tools.

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