A jig‘s primary purpose is to provide repeatability, accuracy, and interchangeability in the manufacturing of products. It is a tool used to control the location and/or motion of parts or other tools. My father set up jigs throughout the restoration. We had a jig to cut insulation, I jig for all the wall and outlet switch heights. Having the right jig will make a task easier and faster to complete.
My vision for the top box of my headboard was a waterfall affect, the top corners joined at 45 degree angles. Kendall helped me accomplish the cuts, but he didn’t clearly explain the ramifications of that decision. Given the weight of the wood and the end grain glue up that would be needed, he felt some type of additional anchor support would be needed to hold the two sides together. Glue alone he felt would not be enough. What he didn’t provide was the clear cut method on how that would be done.
If he had explained in advance the difficulty of the waterfall I could have altered my vision and allowed the corner to overlap at 90 degrees and used my Kreg jig to create pocket holes that could have been plugged. I reached out to the Kreg company about this dilemma and they confirmed that their product could not be used. The angle produced by their jig would be too shallow of an angle not leaving enough wood for the threads of the screws to grab. I had to figure something out or start this portion of the project over. I have enough oak to create a new top and the original top could be cut to make the new sides at the lengths that would allow for anchoring at 90 degrees. Covid-19 isolation gives you time to think, so I pulled another MacGyver and developed my own jig.
First step was finding the angle that would allow the screw to enter the thickest part of the angle. That was accomplished with my angle tool. I transferred the angle to my miter saw and cut the block of wood that was my outlet jig. I thought about buying the Kreg micro drill bit, but for practice purpose used my existing 3/8″ Kreg bit. I drilled a small pilot hole, just deep enough for the tip of the Kreg bit to fit in. I took the depth collar off the Kreg bit and laid it flat against the angled side of the piece of wood I cut and carefully drilled a hole through the block of wood. The end result was a “jig” drilled to the angle I needed. From there it was trial and error as to where to place the block on the board being drilled and where to set the collar on the Kreg bit so that only the tip broke through the top piece of wood. I realized quickly I needed to clamp my jig in place, so I flattened out the top on my miter saw. Once I got a combination that worked I took a piece of 3/8″ oak dowel rod and practiced plugging the hole. That worked like a charm. The large Kreg bit also worked fine, so I decided to forgo buying the micro bit.
Now it was time to go live. Kendall felt that I only needed screws in the front because the insert for the back of the box would support the back angle. However now that I’m working solo I’m not building the box in the same order we did the dry run. The insert will be the last piece I install as I will do it as part of the final assembly in my bedroom. I need to keep the pieces as light as possible if I have any hope of carrying them upstairs by myself. For that reason I drilled four evenly dispersed holes on each side. Everything was working as practiced until I got to the last hole and the collar on the Kreg bit loosened and I drilled completely through the board, which meant there wouldn’t be a shelf for screw head to rest on. Not to be deterred I moved my jig over a bit, re-tightened the collar and drilled another hole.
Now I was ready to glue and screw the angles together. When I was trying to find an example on how to attach mitered corners I stumbled across a video from the Woodworkers Guild of America that showed how to make strong mitered corners by using a process called sizing. I followed the video precisely, diluting my Titebond III glue 50/50 with water. I brushed it on, let it dry 2-3 minutes as instructed.
Once dried enough I applied the full strength glue and inserted my biscuits, which were there just to help with alignment. Months ago I had bought Bessey angle clamps. I used one to hold the top corner together and then proceeded to put in the screws working my way up from the bottom. I used 3/4″ Kreg screws for hardwood. I was going to call it a day, let that side dry before tackling the opposite end, but it went so well that I did the other side immediately.
Once I had let it set a bit, I smeared glue in the holes, put more at the end of the piece of dowell and inserted them in each hole. I came back about an hour later and cut off the excess.
At that point I should have called it a day and let the glue up set over night, but I was on a roll and the bright light at the end of this project tunnel was starting to creep in so I decided to insert the bottom shelf. During the dry run, Kendall had me connect the bottom to the sides first, followed by the back, and then the top. It went in easily, so easily I forgot to snap a pic. I was going to let it go for the day, but at about 10 pm I returned to the basement and proceeded to sand and stain it. I am elated with how this is turning out. Having the box completed made me realize that I like the look of the polycrylic bottom shelf better than the sides and underside of the top that I treated with Danish oil, so I’ll now apply the polycrylic to the entire piece. I’m being optimistic that I can actually have the piece finished by the end of the weekend.