Have you ever built a project that incorporated mitered corners, such as a picture frame, and wondered how to strengthen and beautify the mitered joints? The answer lies in adding a spline, which introduces a mechanical reinforcement to the joint, and at the same time adds an element of beauty, particularly when contrasting woods are used. As with any woodworking operation, there are multiple approaches that can be used to create a spline joint. If you are wondering how to make a spline jig, one common way is to use a table saw. This spline cutting jig approach can be effective on smaller projects, but it can be awkward to hold a larger work piece steady at a 45-degree angle.
For larger projects, a different spline cutting jig approach should be taken. If you want to make a spline cutting jig that can accommodate larger projects such as a table top or tall picture frame, then there are a couple of key concepts that you should consider.
Secure the workpiece before cutting slots. Constraining the movement of your project during the spline cutting operations adds not only quality but safety to the operation. The spline cutting jig should allow the workpiece to be clamped into the position while the cuts are made.
Bring the tool to the work. As the size of a project grows, it becomes desirable to leave the project in position, and bring portable tools to perform milling operations on the project, rather than trying to handle the project while using a stationary tool. In this case a hand-held router is used to create the spline joint while the workpiece is secured on the shop-made spline cutting jig.
Once you’ve created your spline cutting jig you’ll find countless applications for strengthening and beautifying your woodworking projects.