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I'll be building a small box soon, and one of the things I'll be drawing inspiration from is this photo I found online:

I like the leg design of this box a lot, but it occurs to me that this is effectively an end grain to long grain joint (butt joint), or certainly no better than a miter joint, so it could benefit from some reinforcement.

My stock will be in the neighborhood of 1/2" thick, so there's not a lot of room to work with.

I thought about maybe some sort of mitered box joint (completely invisible once assembled), but I don't have the time or the skill to cut all of the necessary mitered box joints by hand. If I can't think of anything better I might try my hand at putting together a mitered box joint attachment for my table saw box joint jig.

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    I would create the box with a corner lap joint and hid the intersection with the legs by creating a 'v' groove at the back face to meet both side faces. – Ashlar Feb 21 at 3:26
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    Hi Adam, you've asked some interrelated things here but as a start have you seen this previous Q, What are the different grain directions, and how do they affect joint strength? As you can see from that your perception that glueing end grain to long grain is no better than a mitre joint is very much not the case. – Graphus Feb 21 at 8:10
  • @Graphus This box will be an urn, so I really don't want it to fall apart, and expect it to follow the family around for a long time. That post does say that miter joints should be reinforced with splines in such a case. Though, this does make me think of a way to do splines that would be visible but the leg would make a sort of bridle joint with them. I think that could work. – Adam Tuttle Feb 21 at 17:48
  • There are about a dozen ways to reinforce the corners of a mitred box if needed. But isn't your proposed design specifically not a mitred joint? Ergo it's already a stronger option. (Not just stronger, but actually strong.... strong enough for the glue to tear off long grain from that surface is plenty strong enough for a box like this.) – Graphus Feb 22 at 8:24
  • But let's say you do just make a plain mitred box with the corner legs glued on, this in itself is already a reinforcement. Say you want to go further for peace of mind. Size your end-grain surfaces first. Then additionally you can spline. You can use keys. You can use dowels at least five ways. You can also glue in reinforcing blocks inside (decorative as well as functional). Any one of these could be enough by itself to make the corners practically unbreakable. – Graphus Feb 22 at 8:32

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