March 31, 2023

Furniture Makers

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Basic SketchUp exercise – Designing a handy miter box

Here is a very small project with only two components, a base and a miter plate. And there are no shapes, only rectangular geometry and no joints. Nevertheless, it is surprising how many basic SketchUp skills and tools are practiced in making this simple piece.

I’ve attached a video of my SketchUp process to finish the design. I’m somewhat surprised that it required such a long time – 20 minutes from start to end, including a final print of a full-size template. The video has not been edited so it includes errors, fixes, surprises – the normal things that happen in real time.

Some backup information: I have been using this miter box (made more than 30 years ago) frequently over the last couple of weeks. I’m making period style window sashes for my redwood timber frame, and the molded muntins for the glazed windows require many 45° cuts.  I’ve used this miter box for many projects and it is especially effective for the odd-angled muntin joints in some period bookcase glass doors. I’m remembering how efficient, accurate, and productive this simple tool can be, without electricity and power tool noise.

Here is a picture of the sash for one of the windows. This is the inside face of the sash where the glass is placed and locked in place with 1/4 by 1/4-in. molded and mitered stops.

And here is the miter box. You can see all the varied (non-45°) angles for previous projects. This tool is simply clamped to the workbench. I use Japanese saws with very thin blades for these cuts.



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