Hand Work Hand Tool Blog

Hand Work Hand Tool Blog

Cutting and Fitting a Blind Finger Joint

comments (4) May 5th, 2012 in blogs

Jay_Speetjens Jay Speetjens, Contributor
thumbs up 2 users recommend

Curly maple TV shelf creates space for a Blu-ray player.
Parts and tools on my workbench ready for the rip cut on the finger joints.
Finger joints spacing based on a 30mm chisel.
Closeup of the finger joint rip cut.
I freehand routed out the bulk of the finger joint sockets.
Cleaning out the finger joint sockets.
Ready to complete the miter at the front or back corner of the shelf.
Sawing the miter with a dozuki nokogiri.
The miter cut made just to the waste side of my layout.
Curly maple TV shelf creates space for a Blu-ray player. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Curly maple TV shelf creates space for a Blu-ray player.

Panel Preparation

This little entertainment center project was constructed from a single piece of 4/4 curly soft maple which started out at a little under 6-in. wide and 8-ft. long. After removing 2-in. to 3-in. from the ends, I cut my stock into three equal lengths, and followed up by machining them flat, straight, and to a width of about 5-3/8-in.

I oriented the three pieces so that the annual rings all ran alike, with the plan to have the outside of the tree up in the final product. Additionally, I made sure most of the grain all ran in the same direction along the edge of the boards. Lastly, I arranged the boards so that the figure and grain on the face of the boards made for a pleasing composition. Once satisfied with the arrangement, I checked to make sure the edge joints were clean, straight, and square. The panel was glued up with yellow glue and a few pipe clamps. I like to remove excess glue with a thin putty knife and sight the panel to confirm that it is flat and free of twist when I set it aside to dry.

Handplaning the Panel

Once the glue was dry enough to remove the clamps, I scraped off any remaining excess glue. From there I planed the top and bottom faces in two steps. Initially cleaned up the faces and evened out any inconsistencies at the glue joint with a 60mm hiraganna. Because the maple was figured I started with light passes to verify the best direction to plane. Then I increased the cut to create a shaving with a thickness between 2 and 3 thousands, the thickness of a sheet of writing paper. With the panel clean and flat I used a 65 mm hiraganna to put the final surface on the two faces and both edges. At this point I am looking for the thinnest full width shaving I can get.

With the panel surfaced I cut my parts to length on a cabinet saw with the aid of a crosscutting sled. The top is 16-in. deep and 20-in. wide. The sides are 2-3/4-in., tall leaving 2-in. of height to accomodate a Blue-ray player.

posted in: blogs, how to, Japanese tools, hand planing, finger joint

Comments (4)

Jay_Speetjens Jay_Speetjens writes: Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit and Use by Toshio Odate is one of the few comprehensive English language texts on the subject. This work is replete with clear descriptions of a wide range of tools, from marking to sharpening including tangible information on their set-up and use. Woven into the text is a rich narrative of personal experiences as an apprentice and in later life, which illuminate the values and spirit of the shokunin, approach to their work and respect for the tools.

Posted: 8:21 pm on May 6th

Jay_Speetjens Jay_Speetjens writes: Although nothing presented here needs to be exclusively done with Japanese tools, probably 95% of my hand tools are. The last 5% is just a matter of time, well and money.

A kibiki is a marking gauge that is equipped with a small marking knife for scoring the line. A ryoba is a two bladed saw. One edge is set with rip teeth and the other crosscut teeth. Nomi are chisels. Hiraganna are smoothing planes. Typical or standard Japanese smoothing planes are 70mm. I like the feel of 65mm kanna. In hardwoods opting for narrower planes make the pulling of shavings a bit easier.

As far as saws are concerned there are several considerations. For saws other than replaceable blade types, blade length corresponds to teeth size. With replaceable blade saws most manufacturers offer several blade configurations for their main saw lengths.

If you are interested in learning more, Toshio Odate has a comprehensive book on the topic.
Posted: 8:17 pm on May 6th

3rd_gen_board_stretcher 3rd_gen_board_stretcher writes: I agree, nice shelf. Kinda lost me on the particulars though.

Posted: 6:57 pm on May 6th

NovaJoe NovaJoe writes: Nice shelf. Now if I only knew what Kibiki, Ryoba, Nomi and Hiraganna was...

oh, yeah, and is there a huge difference (read as functional) between a 60mm and a 65mm Hiraganna? And is 240mm critical when selecting the Duzuki?
Posted: 10:24 am on May 6th

You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.

Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking


Become a Better Woodworker

About This Blog

Get the latest from the hand tool world with tips, techniques, reviews and more.

Blog edited by Fine Woodworking associate editor Matt Kenney.