I'm building a trophy. It will consist of two boxes...one slightly smaller than the other and stacked on top of one another.

I'm looking for suggestions on how to join the corners of the boxes so that the veneer is the only thing exposed on the 4 corners and top.



The simplest way to do this is with a simple miter joint. Miter all sides of your panels at 45°. You'll need a tablesaw to do this, or a very accurate circular saw with a straight cutting jig (i.e. a track saw). To visualize it, each panel will end up looking like a squashed flat top pyramid if you lay it down on its outer face.

It will be very difficult to get the miter perfect, especially if the boxes you're creating are rather large. Any gaps will be obvious since the layers of ply will be visible underneath the veneer. The corners will also be fairly sharp and fragile since you can't sand or rout them down without exposing the plies underneath. If the biggest dimension of the boxes is 11.25" or smaller, I'd just use a 1x12 instead of plywood.

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Then use a square block or beam at each corner on the interior when you're gluing and clamping the corners.

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Alternatively you could do this with a router and a router table to create a lock miter joint, and then the blocking inside the box would be unnecessary:

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Image source

  • @Tester101 Thanks for the edit. You pulled the images right out of my brain! – Doresoom Aug 20 '14 at 11:02
  • Thanks. The picture with the additional wood in the corners is a great idea. Any tips on getting the miter perfect? I always find this challenging and was considering trying a router to cut my 45s. – Craig Aug 20 '14 at 13:15
  • @Craig, A router table would help with the accuracy of the miters. See my recent edit. You could also do this with a simple 45° chamfer bit instead of a lock miter and still use the blocking. The corners might get a bit tricky with that lock miter as well - that part's hard to visualize. You might have to try it on some scrap wood to get it right before moving on to your final workpiece. – Doresoom Aug 20 '14 at 13:25
  • Thanks for all the feedback. Much appreciated! I am going to try a 45° chamfer bit this weekend. Good thing is that I do have more than I need at moment so can afford a mistake or two. – Craig Aug 22 '14 at 15:17
  • Yes, locking miters are difficult to adjust, both in height and fence distance. An alternative would be a splined miter, or even biscuits (the small ones.) – TX Turner Jan 6 '15 at 14:59

I would approach this a little differently. First I would make the box using a join that best fits the tools you have (Butt, dado, miter or dovetail). Once the box is together, sand so all the faces are smooth and the joint can't be felt. Now, get some veneer sheets (thin sheets of wood) and attach according to the instructions. Some will have adhesive backs, some you will need to glue.

  • Thanks for the suggestion...it's a god one. But I would like to use the maple veneer plywood I have left over in my garage already. – Craig Aug 22 '14 at 15:13

If you can make a precise miter, it does this fine. The trick is in making it precise enough, and gluing it without allowing it to slip.

There is a family of standard joints, either originated by or made famous by the Stickley company (who were trying to get quarter-sawn faces on all 4 sides of an oak leg), that help with the slipping-when-gluing aspect by adding a key to the surface.

A picture would be delightful here but I'm uncomfortable with the rights status (for me to post it here) of anything I can find, so go have a look around the web with that in mind.

I have also seen this done by making a VERY precise V-groove that does not QUITE go through the face veneer at each joint location, and then gluing and folding - the face veneer is continuous on 3 corners, which helps hold it from slipping and also looks "seamless." You'll have to judge whether this is within your tools and skills or not.

  • Thanks. Any suggestions on how I can cut a precise miter? I always find this challenging. Was considering trying to use my router to cut the 45s. – Craig Aug 20 '14 at 13:16

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