How to Make Waterfall Corner Joints | Rockler Skill Builders

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waterfall joints in cabinetry are very

popular these days and that's when the

grain flows around the corner of a

carcass obviously done with a miter

joint now cutting a miter joint

accurately seems kind of easy but when

you're thinking about it in terms of a

wide panel you can get a little bit

tricky so I'll show you how we approach

that let's go over to the table saw so

we've created our glued up panel to cut

the waterfall joints out of I'm going to

cut aside the top and then another side

so that the grain can flow right through


now you might notice this really large

crosscut sled reason why I'm using that

is it helps make the cuts more

controllable in addition to the sled I

have a hold down cleat here which holds

the board tightly to the surface I have

a hold down clamp here does the same

thing on this edge and then I have

another cleat that holds it tight to the

fence all of those things take those

problems out of consideration for me so

I can just concentrate on making a good

cut one feature of this crosscut sled is

that it has a saw kerf that indicates

where the saw blade actually cuts so I

marked the length of the panel and then

slide that mark right up to the kerf

last thing I do before I cut is to make

some marks on the panel so that I could

easily reassemble the panel in the order

they were cut another way to make this

cut more controllable is to wax the

bottom of the jig so it slides easily

across the tabletop


now with the pieces all cut up square

I've got my two sides and my top I'm

going to now lean the blade over to 45

degrees then I'm going to raise it up

through the jig then I'm going to make a

complete cut cycle so that I have the

clear curve here and a registration mark

for my 45-degree angle should work






there's a lot of ways to glue together

miter joints but some of them lose their

functionality as you start getting

bigger and bigger projects like this

console so in this case I'm going to

glue my clamping cauls right to the

walnut but I'm gonna take advantage of

the characteristics of this hide glue

which is both brittle and water-soluble

so I'm going to glue the clip there

calls down will clamp the case together

square across using those those calls

and then afterwards I'll take a hammer

and a chisel break it loose use some hot

water and a scratchy pad clean it all

off raise all the grain and then we're

ready to go

I put on a single wiggling of hide glue

I don't put on too much because

otherwise the call will be harder to

remove later on

one of the challenges about gluing

together a miter joint is sometimes that

joint wants to slip especially when you

have glue on it so in order to prevent

that we're going to use a biscuits on

this miter joint I'm going to do three

of them one registered off of each side

and then one dead in the middle and

it'll allow me to glue it up perfectly

with any furniture project dry assembly

is a really important step you need to

test it out because let me tell you glue

up is hard to reverse and speaking of

glue I'm going to be using type on three

in this case because it gives me a

little bit longer open time and this is

a big project it'll make that easier

when I've got it clamps up like this in

a dry assembly the next thing I need to

do is measure from corner to corner why

am i doing that see if this carcass is

square if the measurements are not exact

then I can take a clamp and squeeze one

way or the other and square it up

because that's important it has with

nearly any glue joint the way to success

is to have a thin uniform coat of glue

on both surfaces you might want to cheat

only put it on one side you're gonna

regret that decision this is how you get

a perfectly solid glue joint in this

case I'm not gluing the biscuits they're

simply for alignment purposes there'll

be some glue that joins them but it's

not essential to this operation they are

essential to me getting the joint

perfectly aligned however you can see

why a longer open time with tight bond

three is a big advantage here you can

see that this is essentially end grain

it's a little bits not not a hundred

percent in grain but that's one of the

reasons why it's so important to get a

good coat of glue on both phases

now with this last clamp this end of the

cabinet it's glued up I'm gonna move to

the other end and do exactly the same

thing and then it'll be ready to go this

is it the last clamp joint fits together

tightly I'm gonna measure for square

that looks great

once the glue is cured we'll come back

take the clamps off and then we'll break

off these clamping cauls what I have to

say I've made this task a lot easier now

we have to get these clamping cauls off

of the carcass now remember that we used

hide glue which we're counting on it's

brittle nature to fracture before the

fibers of the wood pull up oftentimes

what actually happens is that the

plywood will fracture and you'll leave

behind some pieces of veneer when you

when that happens you just sand it

smooth but you're not done then you

still have to come behind with hot water

and a scratchy pad to dissolve any of

the hide glue that has seeped into the

wood fibres then go through your sanding

staining everything's good so to get

started you want to hold the chisel flat

to the carcass and what you're really

counting on is this wedge shape that

will force the plywood up and fracture

the glue start near the end and give it

some wax

so here's the results we scrubbed away

any excess height glue with a hot water

and a Scratchy we sanded it smooth and

now you can see how well this grain

flows right around the corner really

demonstrating it well so if you're

building a cabinet in the near future

and it has some you're using wood that

has some really lovely grain why not

consider a waterfall miter joint I think

you might find it very attractive and if

you're doing that don't forget our tip

of the temporary clamping cauls

they work great I'm Rob Johnstone from

woodworkers journal keep on making