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So I am working on a project that requires me to join multiple thin pieces of wood (10mm in thickness) together to form 45 degree angles (examples below). We would like to avoid brackets as this is a visual prototype that needs to remain as visually pleasing as possible. Also, we would like to avoid joining techniques that require special tools or equipment. If you have any suggestions, please help. Thanks!

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    Welcome to WSE. 10mm is thin! It is hard to determine how strong the joints have be. Can you give us some more info on the overall shape/design of the project and how it will be used. – Ashlar Apr 11 '17 at 0:23
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    If it is only a visual prototype, have you considered building it with a different material, such as cardboard or foam, and holding it together with tape or hot glue? You could also check your office supply store for "display boards" – rob Apr 11 '17 at 1:27
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    Is your intention to make this look like wood or are you planning to paint it? If a painted surface then, screw and glue; countersink the screws below the wood surface, fill with plastic wood, sand smooth and paint. Assuming that this is meant to be short lived and will not be subjected to any sort of loading or stresses. – Ast Pace Apr 11 '17 at 4:36
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    What kind of strength does this need? An appropriately prepared and glued joint will be incredibly strong at this size. – BrownRedHawk Apr 11 '17 at 17:51
  • "we would like to avoid joining techniques that require special tools or equipment." You're pretty much screwed then if you need much strength, if you're definitely making this out of wood. Glued butt joints won't give solid, dependable joints (even using tricks to improve the bond) so without further reinforcement this could easily come apart with handling or if it takes a light knock. – Graphus Apr 12 '17 at 8:22
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You could use a Splined Mitre Joint, such as shown in this question: Should I use one large spline or multiple smaller ones for a miter joint?

It doesn't require specialized tools over a handsaw or circular/table saw, and some chisels/sandpaper to clean it up.

  • I think for someone asking such a Question a circular saw or table saw might come under the heading of specialised equipment ;-) – Graphus Apr 12 '17 at 8:23
  • @Graphus A table saw would probably be considered specialized, but circular saws are inexpensive and easy to find. What are they using to make the mitred cut in the first place I wonder? – Zac Faragher Apr 12 '17 at 8:36
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A finger joint is relatively easy to make without requiring special tools, only a saw and chisels, and does not need too complicated woodworking. One of the other answers has a great suggestion of using a splined mitre joint, which also could be done without power/special tools.

However you could also use a simple dowelling system. Using a drill and careful calculations you could drill holes into both pieces of wood, then use a correctly sized dowel with wood glue to strengthen the joints. Easier would be to drill straight through both wood pieces, then cut off and sand down the exposed dowel end.(See diagram below)

Wood joining

  • Without a drill press, this technique is better suited to disposable chopsticks than dowels. The OP is probably not going to be able to drill a quarter inch dowel into 1 cm thick material. – piojo Apr 13 '17 at 4:29
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    Dowels are not merely limited to a quarter inch, there are many different sizes available, 4mm dowelling should work out ok. Using clamps, 2 people and possibly a small jig to help guide the drill bit (You can create this out of a wood block), you could achieve this without a drill press. (Granted, you do need very careful planning and precision for this though, it is not easy...) – Hammergold Apr 13 '17 at 6:07
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To keep the piece looking relatively clean it may be advisable to use a box joint to create a strong interconnecting joint. To visualize this just interconnect your hands with your fingers. Cut the pieces to allow for the extra length needed to make the joint. Trim and sand to complete the work. Hope this helps.

  • "interconnect your hands with your fingers" left a lot of options and it took me a bit to create the proper mental image. Googling for an image of "box joint" would be a welcome addition to this answer and make it much more useful. If you're not sure how to embed the link, just paste it in & someone will clean it up for you. – FreeMan Sep 6 '18 at 13:10

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