View Full Version : A question about making joints

David Somers
12-31-2013, 4:23 PM
OK....I admit I live in Washington State where this question could be taken as a question about smoking previously illegal substances. But in this case I was curious about many of the joints I see used on lasered boxes made from wood and other materials.

It always seems like the joints have been done as through joints, meaning the fingers in a finger joint go all the way through their receiving holes. Is there a reason for this other than the ease of making it?

It would seem that you could make blind joints on the laser if your material were thick enough to accomodate some variance in the cut depth of the receiving hole? I realize variances in the materials and the dynamics of the laser itself is going to cause variations in cut depth, especially in woods and other organic materials. But I would think an 1/8 or thicker wood or ply would have enough consistency to permit you to cut in about half that depth to make the receiving part of the blind joint?

I don't mind laser cut finger joints, but they do make the box look....well....lasered? If you could make blind joints the boxes would look more finished and perhaps more traditionally made, and less....lasered while still letting you take advantage of the laser to do it and have an easy, accurate assembly? I make that sound like looking lasered is bad and I don't mean it that way. But it does become a bit cliche'd? Having some other variations to work with might be nice while still allowing you to assemble something quickly with these nice joints?

And as always....keep in mind I am a laserless laddie so far....less than a newbie who is nibbling around lasers before committing to one. That is why you folks get oddball questions from me.

And more importantly! Happy New Year folks! I hope you all have a most excellent 2014 and a fun night!


Joe Hillmann
12-31-2013, 4:33 PM
Your way would probably work but would take much much longer to make. When you cut with a laser you vector cut so the laser only has to trace the outline of the hole. To go in a depth and remove the material inside of the outline you would have to rastor engrave it which means the laser has to go back and forth over the area many many times.

If you laid it out so all the holes are in line on the x axes it could probably be done with a minimal increase in time.

David Somers
12-31-2013, 5:37 PM
Thanks Joe! This may be something interesting to try someday when there is an excess of CO2 in a glass tube in a specially made Chinese enclosure in my garage! Curious to hear if anyone else has played with this. The fingers joints do like nice. But they are ubiquitous. Would be nice to see some variations.

Happy New Year Joe!


Joe Pelonio
12-31-2013, 6:50 PM
Hey Neighbor!

It's worth a try, but a lot of extra work and requires a very small chisel to remove the material. I would not try to raster out the are, that would take many passes and char the wood. You would need a lot of wattage to do it on acrylic. Cutting half way through is easy with experimentation to find the right speed/power settings, then just vector color mapping to cut out the piece but only halfway on the joints in one run.

Would you believe I just got an order due Thursday morning? :rolleyes:

Joe Hillmann
12-31-2013, 8:32 PM
I have seen some wine bottle boxes with sliding lids that have the groove where the lid slides that look as though the groove was cut the way you describe.

David Somers
12-31-2013, 9:12 PM
Joe and Joe,

If someone hasn't tried this and reported back by the time I throw money at Scott and Carole at Rabbit I will do it and let you know how it goes! One of my problems with not actually having a laser in hand is that while I am getting decent idea what the machines can do from following the forum, I don't have any real world experience to help me gauge what is practical and what is not. The fact that I am not looking to be a production shop either probably doesn't help me when it comes to gauging time well spent versus wasted time. This will be interesting.

On the surface it seems doable, but I can see where the time spent doing it might be better spent setting up your drill press with a mortising jig instead. Curious now to play with this and see how it goes someday! Too many ideas...not enough experience! <grin> I wonder how many of us chuckle as they read my questions! <bigger grin>

Joe Pelonio! Hey neighbor! You are pretty close over there in Sammamish! I have a long time close friend and co-worker living over in Klahani who is leading the charge to get Klahani annexed by Sammamish and not by Issaquah. So I am getting to know more about Sammamish and Issaquah politics than I thought I ever would! My fingers are crossed for him!

Good luck with your new order!! I hope that doesn't mean you have to slave the New Year away!! You should at least get to sleep in a bit!! <grin>


Glen Monaghan
12-31-2013, 10:52 PM
I did some favor boxes for my daughter's wedding and fit the sides into the bottom piece this way. I tried both rastering and vectoring the groove in the bottom piece that received the sides. Ended up rastering them (more time in the machine) because I got a better result with less manual cleanup (less time overall) but, really, the answer was that the laser wasn't the right tool or approach to making blind holes/slots. In retrospect, I should have set up a template and probably could have routed them in less than a tenth of the time it took to laser them.

Chuck Stone
01-01-2014, 9:20 AM
I do a lot of boxes and I know what you mean about them looking 'cliche' .. there
are many products out there that look the same too. (For that matter, there's a lot
of work out there that looks the same .. in that people don't clean their pieces when
they finish cutting)
I did try some blind joints at one point, but rastering was just not the way to go.
And vector cutting gives you the nice edge, but you still need to go back and remove
the material manually. Just not worth it for my products.
Best I can do is sand the edges (I round them over anyway) and minimize the charred
edge. The tabs are still there, just not as 'in your face' as they could be.

01-01-2014, 1:49 PM
ok...............what the heck is a whisky stone??


Ross Moshinsky
01-01-2014, 2:16 PM
Route the female part and laser the male part is what you'd want to do.

David Somers
01-01-2014, 2:25 PM

I think they get chilled and dropped into your whiskey glass to cool it without diluting it?


It is that feeling you get after one too many whiskeys.

John Bion
01-01-2014, 3:01 PM
If someone hasn't tried this and reported back by the time I throw money at Scott and Carole at Rabbit I will do it and let you know how it goes! and ..... This may be something interesting to try someday when there is an excess of CO2 in a glass tube in a specially made Chinese enclosure in my garage!Dave

"Not yet a laser user" but sure sounds like it is getting close now :D We are looking forward to it.
Cheers, John

Chuck Stone
01-01-2014, 8:09 PM
ok...............what the heck is a whisky stone??

Yep.. David hit it. You freeze them and use instead of ice. Cools the whiskey down to
cellar temp without diluting it or freezing your taste buds. Whiskey drinkers love them or
hate them. Some think they're a fad, others say this is where 'on the rocks' came from.

But in a personalized box, they sell pretty well for the holidays, wedding parties and such.