How to Make Box Joints with Only a Router | Woodworking Jig

Today we’re going to make a box joint
jig for the router. Not the table saw, not
the router table but the router.
You can you use a bigger router like this.
You could use a smaller router like this.
You can’t use this router this router. It’s
crazy insane. It’s got some crazy
technologies. We’re gonna talk about this
router in a future video. I made a box
joint jig for the table saw a few months
ago and there were a lot of “but I’s”. But
I live in the UK. Dado stacks are not
available. I don’t have a good table saw.
I want to use the router, David how can I
use a router to make box joint jigs?
Today we’re gonna do that. For this
method you can make any size fingers
that you want as long as you can find the
router bit at that size. So the first
thing we need to do is take the plate
off of the router and we’re gonna make a
board that mounts to the router. The
really important thing about this
board is that this side of the board needs to
be parallel with this side of the board.
I’m gonna make this base out of
1/2″ plywood. So I’m gonna rip it
down to ten inches wide
then we’re gonna crosscut it just to
make it smaller and more manageable and then
drill a little hole for the bit to pop
through. Now we need to attach it to here
but to figure out where to drill the
holes we’re gonna use the plate that we
took off and we’re gonna set it on there.
Center the circles there and we can mark
out where we need to drill. We not only
need to drill through but we need to do
a counter bore so the screw will sit
below the surface.
Got that last one in there. Now we got a
little router table. Now that we got the
base mounted to the router we’re going
to make the sled. The sled is basically
the cut off of this but we’re gonna put
it on there this way and we’re going to
glue and screw rails on the bottom here.
That’s gonna run right along this. That’s
the reason this side needed to be
parallel with this side so this runs
true. Well take this off of here and
we’re just going to kind of line that up
where we want. It needs to be able to
slide like that so that needs to be nice
and tight. So I’m gonna throw some clamps
on there. It’s a little too tight but
that’s better than two loose. That means
we can finesse it. Now this is
probably overkill but woodworkers
overkill everything. I’m just gonna throw
some screws in there. I’m sanding
everything real smooth. We’re gonna put
some wax on there.
I got the first part of my fence cut and
we’re just gonna glue it on right there.
Got that fence clamped on there but I’m
also going to run a couple screws in
from the bottom. We need to be able to
run this through the bit. I’m just going to
slowly. For this front fence I want it a
little taller than this. I don’t
necessarily want it this tall but
something a little bit taller will give
us a little bit more clamping room and
stability for pieces that we run through
there. So I’m gonna go cut this one down
I’m gonna cross cut it to width and then
rip it – I don’t know… that much?
I realized before I can really move any
further I got to figure out a way to
keep it from doing this business. So
I’m thinking about making some legs
maybe out of 3/4 inch plywood and have a
front leg that goes down to the bench
but then the back leg is even longer so
it fits into the vise. Then it’s nice
and secure and stable. Pocket hole screws
for the win! Now I can screw my
router in there. There we go, we got some
air space for that vent there. Our sled
right along top and we’re good to go. This is
the front of our fence. We need to cut
the kerf into this fence here. So we can
figure out how big to make our pin. So
I’m just gonna hold this up against the
fence nice and tight and run it through
the bit.
Now we’re gonna make a little key that’s
gonna fit right in there.
And we’ll have to sneak up on that cut
over at the table saw and I’m gonna use
a piece of hard wood and not plywood for
that key. That’s gonna do it. It doesn’t
need to be that long so we’ll make it oh
let’s say that and well we’re gonna use
this scrap piece here. Now we’ll glue
that guy in there. Set that up against my
back fence, move this over until that
kisses the bit and then clamp this in
place. I have a couple pieces of scrap
here and we’re gonna make our test cut.
So I’m just going to bump that up against
the pin and wish me luck!
And that is a really good fit on the
first try which is kind of unfortunate
because I wanted to show you what
happens when you don’t have a good fit.
If it is too loose you move the pin away
from the bit and if it is too tight you
move the pin towards the bit. What
that does is even though the the grooves
that we cut are all the same size
it changes the size of the pins here. So
now I’m just going to take some screws
and screw the back fence to the front
fence to make this permanent and then we
can remove the clamp. I want to put a
stop so this can’t go any further and I
don’t blow out the back of this and
hit my thumb with the bit someday.
Because that would kind of suck.
Now we should have a nice little safety stop.
Yeah so now that can’t ever go through
Next thing we need to do is set the height of our bit
and it wants to be just slightly taller
than your piece. Like just a hair The
trick is you need to mark the top of the
four pieces that you’re going to make.
And this mark always faces towards the
bit. So we’ll butt it up against that pin.
We’ll run it through.
We’ll flip it over. We’ll butt it up
against that pin and run it through.
So we have our two long sides cut. Now to
get the short sides started I need to
take one of these long sides and flip it
this way.
Mark towards the pin. Remove some of that
dust, We’ll talk about that in a second.
That’s gonna go over the pin right there
and then we’re going to run this through.
Mark towards the pin. To create that
first cut. Once we have that first cut we
can then put that over the pin. So we
need the long side to get the short side
started and we’ll have to do that when
we flip it over and we’ll also have to
do that on this one and then this one.
So obviously the dust collection trick
is to have a Dan in your shop who can
get in there. I might experiment with
some drilling some holes in there and
then getting some suction underneath. I
mean minus is dust that was really easy. Do
you know what else is really easy? Making
a website with Squarespace I know, I know,
you don’t want to hear about Squarespace
right now because you you’re enjoying
the box joint jig but that was so
pleasurable to use and so is
Squarespace. I use Squarespace for my own
site and I use Squarespace for my podcast
site. I used to be a web developer so I
know the pains of making a website.
Squarespace takes away all that pain. You
don’t have to worry about back-end code.
You just set up your site with
Squarespace. You pick one of their
beautiful templates and you’re good to go.
It works on mobile phones, tablets and
desktops. That’s called responsive design
which makes it readable on your phone.
Nice big text and then reconfigures
itself for a tablet and then for the
desktop. Squarespace does all that for
you automatically. You can sell both
physical and digital goods which I do. it
works really well. You can take
credit cards, you can take PayPal, all
that standard stuff. So we are going to
finish this box up. I’m going to take it
over to the table saw and I’m going to
cut a little groove so we can put a
bottom in there and while I’m doing that
you should go set up your Squarespace
website. Let me know in the comments down
below the link to your new Squarespace
Website and I might feature you next month. We’re
actually gonna use this next week to
build a walnut toolbox it’s gonna be the
sexiest walnut toolbox you have ever
seen. One thing to keep in mind is the
bit length. This is the bit that I
originally wanted to use but it did not
come up far enough for me to box joint
three-quarter inch material so I had to
find another bit that was a little bit
longer. I’m gonna try to find a quarter
inch bit on Amazon and I’ll post a link
down below. Also make sure that this base
top is made out of 1/2″ plywood. if
this was 3/4 inch plywood I don’t think
that bit would come up far enough for
3/4 inch material.
You don’t need plans to build this but I
will have drawings up on my website so
you can see what size mine is. This red
zebra wood box, I think I’m gonna throw
it up on ebay. I think so. We’ll see, if so
I’ll have a link down below. The zebra
wood did come from my friends at Kencraft.
You’re gonna want to check them
out at As always
have fun, be safe, stay passionate and
Make Something! Dan, my energy is back!

100 Replies to “How to Make Box Joints with Only a Router | Woodworking Jig

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I have been thinking about making something like it but now I will use your very sensible design. Much appreciated.

  2. I really dig your new opening sequence!👍 Great shop project. Ever since you mentioned this on the Making It podcast I've been excited about this video. I had something just slightly different in my mind. Very excellent!👍

  3. My favorite types of videos you make are these kind. I have gone back to some of the other videos of jigs you have made to copy them for myself. Great work.

  4. Hey David, Love this idea and the video. I use squarespace for my domain name and website template.
    Thanks for taking the time to check it out!

  5. Very new woodworker here. I found this video to be very helpful and you explained everything amazingly. Thanks!

  6. Love it! Simple jig and beautiful results! It's little things like the mixed up sounds at 3:51 that's part of what makes these videos so great!

  7. Tight = towards, Loose = Away. Good to know home skillet! I'll definitely give this a go since I don't have a router table but still want to make box joints.

  8. Yes, Hallo David!! Correct, we do not have Dado stacks in Europe, and then you pull out a router we do not have in Europe either. Thanks a lot David, for making it impossible to do ANY wood work 😉

  9. I look at all sorts of YouTube videos every day, but I totally AVOID subscribing & liking them. Not THIS one! LIKED & SUBSCRIBED.
    Excellent video & tutorial which I'm going to use. Many thanks.

  10. Really cool idea! I’m saving this video for when I get a nicer router. I only have a battery one, and I don’t think this will work with that. Not strong enough.

  11. Gettin' "Jiggy" wid it! Lol. Geat jig man, thanks for sharing! Check out my squarespace website! !

  12. Great video as always, David! Digging the intro style. I saw your palm router sitting aside. Can you make this using one? I have a 1 hp palm router that I wouldn't mind using for a setup like this. I have a 2 1/4 HP one, but I want to use that on a router table.

  13. Perfecto!👍gracias a tu video excelente, genio hiciste crear nueva herramienta corta para router, cómo es audaz!

  14. Watching this now. Cannot thank you enough for this video. I still consider myself a beginner at woodworking. I have seen other plans and videos about how to make a table for a router, but because my engineering skills are not the best, I can never quite figure out how to adapt them to my specific router. This video and explanation are perfect! Thanks again!

  15. when you say, move the pin to or against the pit, do you start with new wood or what? please show on another video! thank you, my friend.

  16. I'm about to teach a bunch of kids how to make simple boxes. Now I'm considering making a jig like this for our router table we already have so they can add in finger joins. Great video man

  17. Me: I don't have a tablesaw to do finger joints, can I use just a router?
    Youtuber: Sure, use this method. 1st step, cut this board with the table saw, then the mitter saw and finally use the drill press.
    Me: 😒
    Still very cool video, but c'mon, the video start with questions from other users asking for alternatives to tablesaws among others.

  18. David this was perfect. I had been brainstorming how to build a box joint jig since I don’t currently table saw (I have a radial arm saw) or a real router table. This was what I needed to see and with a few mods will work perfectly for my setup.

  19. You could run a shorter bit if you drill the hole in the base plate bigger then have the collet and nut go up further closer (but not touching) the slide.

  20. Square Space… get it? You made a square space with box joints and a cool box joint jig and it was all brought to you by Square Space!

  21. I know I'm not the first to say this, but :"we're going to use a router, not a router table"… Proceeds to build a router table.

  22. I often think that there is nothing new to be found in the youtube woodworking space. You proved me wrong. Great Idea Dave.

  23. I love your videos, and one of my favourite things is a lot of your measurements are "I will cut this about…this long" or "I will rip this down to about, this wide" Which is usually how a lot of us actually do stuff when making projects with the plans just in our heads. You make projects really easy to follow and without all technical jargon and I would guess a lot less daunting for new woodworkers, yet they are still beautifully made. I guess i'm just trying to say you make it easier to "Make something"

  24. I’ve been terrified of trying to make box joints, because I didn’t want to have to buy a jig and because I don’t have a dado stack, but I truly think I have ran out of excuses after watching this video, thanks for creating awesome content as always!

  25. I just made pretty much the same thing for my router table. You get an amazing amount wood shavings everywhere. It didn't work properly until I bought a very good router bit.

  26. Your segway into the commercial was so smooth that I'm not even mad to be interrupted. Good job on the jig as well.

  27. I'm impressed with the build but far more impressed with the video. Clear, clean, crisp, not a lot of crummy music while you skilfully drill four holes with the drill press. Yep, very good. I subscribed and I REALLY want to see the walnut tool box.


  28. Brilliant work buddy, here in the UK dado stacks are frowned on by government and the health and safety brigade, so using the router is a perfect way to get that wider cut for box joints, thankyou for your excellent video, very helpful, regards Louie Ulster Workshop.

  29. That's a great jig, I'm starting into woodworking, I don't have that much space, so I'm thinking on making a flippable modular workbench table which can fit my miter saw and router, this gives me an idea on what else to add to the router module, thanks for the video

  30. I've seen many videos that show us how to make box joints, but yours is very special! Perfect work! Congratulations!!!

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