Best Box Joint Jig (Incra I, Woodhaven, Rockler & More)
If you regularly create box joints, (or a woodworker looking to give this strong, versatile joint a go), one of the best tools you can have at hand is the box joint jig.
However, with such a wide range of jigs currently available it can be difficult to decide which one to buy.
Well we’ve done the homework for you. Below you will find our table of results comparing 5 of the best box joint jigs on the market.
For a full, in depth review of each, plus a dedicated buyer’s guide, keep on reading.
Best Box Joint Jig – Top 5 Picks
1. INCRA I-BOX Box Joint Jig
2. Rockler Router Table Box Joint Jig
3. Woodhaven 4556 Portable Box Joint Jig
4. Woodworking DIY Tool Miter Gauge, Box Joint Jig
5. Drillpro Miter Gauge 27 angle, Box Joint Jig
- Best Box Joint Jig – Top 5 Picks
- Box Joint Jig Buyer’s Guide
- 1. TOP PICK: Incra I-Box Joint Jig Review
- 2. Rockler Router-Table Box-Joint Jig
- 3. Woodhaven 4556 Portable Box-Joint Jig
- 4. Woodworking DIY-Tool Miter-Gauge And Box-Joint Jig Kit
- 5. Drillpro Box-Joint Jig Kit
Box Joint Jig Buyer’s Guide
What is a box joint?
The box joint is a handy alternative to the dovetail. They are strong, aesthetically pleasing and actually easier to achieve than their more highly regarded cousin.
Box joints are made up of alternating pins and sockets. They essentially fit together in a system where one piece of material has the pins and the mating piece has sockets.
Box joints excel in situations where you need reliable, well made joints for a number of items. Fast, efficient production is the name of the game here.
However, there is a technique involved when cutting pins and sockets in such a uniform manner at speed. There is no room for error
Thankfully, there are tools available to make the work almost fool proof. In steps the box joint jig.
The jig makes it possible to make controlled, paper-thin adjustments on your work pieces, positioning them in a manner so that both the pins and sockets can be cut with perfect precision.
If you want professional box joints to look immaculate, the box joint jig is the tool you need to buy.
What to look for when buying a box joint jig
There are a number of issues you should consider when buying a box joint jig. It should not be ignored that there are videos/plans out there providing information on how to build your own one.
However, considering precision is so important when it comes to using one of these jigs, many woodworkers choose to buy one from the many reputable brands that manufacture them, (our top pick Incra I Box being one of the most popular choices).
Anyway, let’s take a closer look at what makes a good router table box joint jig.
You do not want to be restricted when it comes to the thickness of materials you can work with.
Again, the better jigs will be able to handle a range of thickness, with the top end being greater than what the cheaper alternatives offer.
- Related Content: Best wood chisels you can buy in 2018
First off you need to evaluate with what cutting tool will you be using your jig with.
Some box tail jigs will be compatible with certain table saw set ups, or will only work with a standard router table 3/4″ miter slot. You should check the specifications before you hand over any of your hard earned money.
For instance, you may find that the jig requires your table’s miter track to be of certain dimensions from the center of the bit.
Who really wants to be restricted in this way? The best box joint jigs will offer maximum flexibility as far as compatibility goes, and will work under all manner of work style configurations.
A sturdy build quality really should be prioritised as this is a tool you will want to carry on using for years to come.
It is also one of those tools easy to neglect when it comes to overall care, (haphazardly chucked into the tool box, or left loose in the back of the truck, you name it, the jig is likely to take a beating from time to time).
This all means you should opt for a tool with a good reputation when it comes to durability. While the materials used to build the jig are important, user reviews really will help ascertain how the jig holds up over time.
Precision Alignment – ease of control
We’ve mentioned the word precision a number of times in this buyer’s guide. The fact is, without reliable, repeatable precision cutting of pins and slots, your box joints will be sloppy and ill-fitting.
To achieve the best results your chosen jig must have a smooth-sliding, incremental backer sled, as well as precision-machined indexing keys.
When selecting the spacing (normally 1/4″, 3/8″ or 1/2″) you need to be sure that the resulting cut is spot on each and every time. Only a well made tool with offer that peace of mind.
- Related Content: An introduction to the box joint (AKA Finger Joint)
The price of box joint jigs does vary a lot. The incra i box jig for box joints is one of the most expensive on the market, however it is clearly a consumer favourite and is one of the most highly regarded jigs you can buy for this purpose.
Whether you buy an Incra or opt for something cheaper is very much down to personal preference and budget.
While the lower budget tools do achieve the same goal, the speed, repeat cut reliability and overall flexibility of a premium tool should not be ignored.
Router table box joint jig reviews
There are different types of box joint jigs; and their material quality, scope of functions, and quality of cuts differ.
Using quality box joint jigs improves the overall workmanship. Moreover, the well-made box joints improve the aesthetics of the final assembled woodwork product.
5 of the best box joint jigs are reviewed below.
1. TOP PICK: Incra I-Box Joint Jig Review
Incra I-Box Jig is an affordable, lightweight, and portable box joint jig designed and manufactured by Incra, a leading maker of woodworking tools.
It is designed to create intricate well-fitting box joints. Incra has also added additional safety features in this model, including a transparent blade guard that protects the worker from flying wood chips. Likewise, this model is designed for quick set-up.
It measures 21 inches in length, 15 inches in width, and 4 inches in height. It weighs about 7 pounds. It features a compact design that allows for greater versatility that permits the worker to use this model for advanced decorative joinery.
The Incra I-Box jig is shipped alongside an instructional DVD and user manual set. It is recommended that one watches the instructional DVD before using the jig as it provides the right instructions of how to set up the box joint jig, and also shows how one can get the most of the jig.
The user manual also describes how the Incra I-Box is setup on table saws and router tables. This means that this model can be used with either a table saw or a router table as its platform.
Once the Incra I-box Jig is set up on its platform, a stacked dado set needs to be fixed. The Incra I-Box is incompatible with wobble dado blades. However, all its other tool requirements support use of mainstream tools including router bits.
The Incra I-Box also features a unique dual-pitch lead screw micro-adjustment mechanism that allows the woodworker to quickly adjust the pin width, and it supports pin widths ranging from 1/8 (0.125) inches to (0.75) inches.
The model also features a patented Incra GlideLock which allows its miter bar to fit into the standard miter slots of the platform.
Even though the Incra GlideLock support standard miter slots, it also allows for an adjustment of between 0.740 inches and 0.762 inches so that the model can fit into customized platforms or specially-made platforms such as those produced by Sears.
Incra I-Box features aluminum extrusions, and its fence is 2.75 inches thick and 18 inches wide and this ensures that it supports large work pieces.
Its 0.25 inches thick pre-drilled backer board is designed to control tear-out. The chart card provided with this model lists assorted pin widths, appropriate width of workpiece, and number of fingers.
The workpiece can be easily fitted into the Incra I-Box jig, and a set of properly-measured rectangular cuts made.
Because this first workpiece does not feature any half-cuts, its rectangular cuts are described as the sockets. Next, the first workpiece is used to prepare the second workpiece for cutting.
The rectangular cuts in this second workpiece are the pins, and they are expected to fit into the sockets of the first workpiece and then form a well-fitting box joint.
Box joints are extremely size-sensitive. This size-sensitivity increases exponentially as the amount of fingers increase.
If the pins is exactly the same size as its corresponding socket, then the woodworker would need to apply a lot of force to force the pins into their sockets, and the resulting box joint would be super tight.
However, a very small allowance in the sockets allows the pins to slide in perfectly. Incra I-Box Jig has a specially designed adjustment dial and knob which allows for minimum width changes of 0.001 inches. The knob is a silver wheel that features a thin slit.
This slit is used to guide the woodworker how many graduations the knob has been turned from the zero mark. The dial is calibrated with silver marks with each mark denoting a 0.001 inch graduation.
Therefore, to increase the size of the socket by 0.003 inches, the silver wheel is turned counterclockwise while observing its slit to ensure that it moves only three graduation marks to the left.
This makes the socket 0.003 inches larger than the pin, and this small tolerance allows the pin to easily slide and fit into its socket. To improve the strength of the joint, wood glue is applied between the surfaces of the pin and socket that are in contact.
The ability to make very fine calibration gives the Incra I-Box Jig an edge over other box joint jigs. If ordinary box joint jigs are used, the woodworker or joiner would need to use coated abrasive materials such as sandpaper for sanding the sockets so that pins can readily fit in.
However, this risks creating an uneven surface or excessively enlarging the size of the sockets so that the worker ends up with a loose box joint.
Incra I-Box Jig is a Made-in-America box joint jig designed to be used by both beginner and veteran woodworkers to make a wide variety of well-measured box joints ranging from simple joints to intricate decorative box joints.
Due to its durability, quality material design, and ability to make accurately shaped and sized sets of pins and sockets, the Incra I-Box Jig is rated as the best jig for box joints among the five box joint jigs being reviewed.
2. Rockler Router-Table Box-Joint Jig
This model of router jig is made by Rockler Companies, a reputable provider of woodworking tools. It is specially made for making precise, tight-fitting, and well designed box joints. Moreover, this model is designed for quick set-up.
It measures 18.5 inches in length, 15.3 inches in width, and 1.8 inches in height. It weighs about 10.6 pounds. Like Incra I-Box, it also features a compact design that allows for greater versatility that permits the worker to use this model for decorative joinery.
This model is shipped alongside its easy-to-understand instruction manual. The instruction manual describes how the Rockler box joint jig is to be setup on router tables, and how the user can achieve optimum results while using this jig.
The Rockler box-joint jig has a low-friction melamine-coated MDF platform. This improve its durability, as well as makes it easy for the worker to clean it.
Unlike, the Incra I-Box, the Rockler Box-Joint jig is designed to be used only on router tables. Router tables use bits, while table saws use stacked dado blades which can be easily spaced in order to achieved the desired pin width.
Upcut spiral bits work best with this model, and only three sizes of bits can be used; the inch, 3/8 inch, and 1.4 inch bits.
Also, unlike Incra I-Box which supports mounting on non-standard miter slots, the Rockler router-table box-joint Jig can only be fitted on a router table that has a standard 0.75 inches miter slot.
The Rockler box-joint jig comes with precision-machined aluminum index keys. They are three in number, and are of varying sizes. There is a 3/8 inch indexing key, inch indexing key, and a ¼ inch indexing key.
These indexing are used for positioning the jig as well as create a quarter inch, three-eighth of an inch, and half-an-inch spacing for making air-tight joints. Like Incra I-Box, it supports a maximum wood stock width of 0.75 inches.
This model features a pre-drilled right-angle backer which operates as the miter gauge, as well as doubles as the platform where the sacrificial board is secured onto using screws.
This ensures that the workpiece is well guided towards or away from the router jig. It also provides ample support for the workpiece. This sled backer is made from ABS plastic. There are two sacrificial boards that come with it.
Another unique feature of Rockler box-joint jig is its easy-grip knobs which are well-positioned on the MDF platform and are used to securely lock this platform onto the miter slot.
The Rockler Router-Table Box-Joint Jig is an easy-to-use device designed to be used by both beginner and veteran woodworkers to make a various well-measured box joints. Its simple and clean design alongside unique features allows it to be versatile.
3. Woodhaven 4556 Portable Box-Joint Jig
Woodhaven 4556 box-joint jig is a portable easy-to-use tool for making properly-fitting box joints of various sizes. These box joints can be made in all sizes of wood, including large ones. It is made by Woodhaven, a U.S based company.
This model weighs about 5 pounds, and this makes it lighter than either Incra I-Box and the Rockler box-joint jig. This low-weight also makes it the most portable box joint jig among these three box joint jigs.
Even so, like Incra I-Box and Rockler box-joint jig, it also features a compact design that allows for greater versatility that permits the worker to use this model for decorative joinery.
This model is shipped alongside its easy-to-understand instruction manual. The instruction manual describes how Woodhaven 4556 box-joint jig is to be setup on its platform, and how the user can achieve optimum results while using it.
The Woodhaven 4556 allows woodworkers to accurately and safely cut large pins and sockets in large workpieces. According to its manual, the height of the box joint can range from half-an-inch to 1.5625 inches.
It features replaceable MDF sub-fences and aluminum stops. It has two types of aluminum stops; the stationary and adjustable type.
The adjustable aluminum stop supports width adjustments of between 0.5 inches to 1.5625 inches. Apart form setting the right width measurements, the aluminum stops also prevent any side-to-side jig movements.
This box joint jig model also features a 12-inch ultra-track aluminum fence, 2 built-in clamps, and 5 set-up jigs for half-an-inch, 3/4 inch, an inch, one-and-a-quarter inches, and one-and-a-half inches joint.
Unlike the Rockler router-table box-joint Jig , the Woodhaven 4556 can be used with either table saws or router tables. Therefore, like Incra I-Box jig, the Woodhaven can be used to make the desired pin width without being limited by the bit size.
This model requires a half-inch shank router, three-quarters inch bushing, and half-inch router bit which are not provided with the equipment, and thus requires the worker to acquire them separately. Spiral upcuts bits work best with this model.
The material of the bit is also important, and Woodhaven recommends that solid carbide bits should be used with this model.
The Woodhaven 4556 is a versatile, easy-to-setup and portable American Made box-joint jig that can be used by both beginner and veteran woodworkers to make a various types of properly-measured box joints.
4. Woodworking DIY-Tool Miter-Gauge And Box-Joint Jig Kit
The miter-gauge and box-joint jig kit is built for precision and outstanding workmanship. It is part of Woodworking DIY Tool kits made by BEESS for professionals in the woodwork industry. This kit set comes along with an adjustable flip stop.
The package is shipped with the following components; a miter gauge, adjustable flip stop, and a box-joint adjustment. Because it is shipped with components parts which require assembly, then it is easy for a worker to fix additional components onto this model so as to build a customized box-joint jig kit.
The components are built of high-quality materials which ensures their durability, resistance to wear-and-tear, and long lifespans. An expert woodworker or joiner can build a lasting and versatile box joint jig from this jig kit set.
Its miter gauge is designed to be used by standard miter bars. The dimensions of these standard bars are 19mm by 9.5mm, and therefore just like the Rockler box-joint jig, it disadvantages workers whose platforms have miter bars of different dimensions as they cannot fit this model onto it.
However, unlike the Rockler box-joint jig, this jig kit supports both router tables and table saws. However, unlike Incra I-Box, it cannot fit into any router table or table saw, and only supports those platforms that feature standard dimensions.
The length of the miter gauge is 450mm. This means that when the setup is fully assembled, it would measure about 450mm.
This model is also shipped alongside its easy-to-understand instruction manual. The instruction manual describes how this DIY jig kit is to be setup on its platform, and how the user can achieve optimum results while using it.
A key disadvantage of this model is its range of tolerance of error. According to its manual, the user must allow error in measurements of up to 3mm.
This margin of error is too high and can lead to one ending up with a non-fitting box joint. However, this error margin can be offset if highly-sensitive measuring equipments are used.
Unfortunately, this increases the cost of setting up and using this DIY kit. For this reason, it is recommended that only professionals should acquire as they know how to circumvent such bottlenecks.
This model has an over-sized clutch which allows users to set it to desired angles. Moreover, the kit can maintain this angular orientation for a long time hence allowing the carpenter to easily work on, and shape the woodwork.
The Miter-Gauge and Box-Joint Jig is a Woodworking DIY Tool kit that features an adjustable flip stop that supports steady operation of the jig kit. It is made of aluminum, and is designed for use by professionals.
5. Drillpro Box-Joint Jig Kit
Drillpro box-joint kit is a jig set designed for professional use. It is developed and manufactured by Drillpro, a leading manufacturer of woodworking tools.
Its belongs to the Double Featherboard series of Drillpro jig kit tools. An adjustable flip stop is included in the setup.
The entire kit is built of high-quality materials, and this makes it durable, and resistant to wear-and-tear. This two properties complement each other to increase the lifespan of this model.
It measures 19 inches in length and 7.7 inches in width. Its average height is 3 inches. It weighs about 3 pounds. This makes its extremely lightweight, and its compact design allows it to be portable.
Its miter gauge has 27 angle stops, and these can be used to manage precision and incremental control. Therefore, unlike its closest relative in this review, the Woodworking DIY Tool kit, the Drillpro jig kit offers better precision and more accurate measurements which also means that it can be used for making intricate decorative box joints.
However, this miter gauge is designed to be used by standard miter bars. Therefore like the Woodworking DIY Tool kit, it disadvantages workers whose platforms have miter bars of different dimensions as they cannot fit this model onto it.
This model is also shipped alongside its easy-to-understand instruction manual. The instruction manual describes how the DrillPro box-joint jig kit is to be setup on its platform, and how the user can achieve optimum results while using it.
This jig kit can be used in either router tables and table saws. It can even be used by Makita 2705 saw. However, unlike Incra I-Box, it cannot fit into any router table or table saw, and only supports those platforms that feature standard dimensions.
It has a large grip, which is comfortable on touch, and is also firmly attached to the kit set. It also features a tip resistant washer, and this functions to maintain the gauge in a steady position hence improving the measurements, and overall quality of workmanship.
This model has a well-sized clutch which allows users to set it to desired angles. Moreover, the kit can maintain this angular orientation for a long time hence allowing the carpenter to easily work on, and shape the woodwork.
Unlike the Woodworking DIY Tool kit, thus model has a lower range of tolerance of error. According to its manual, the user must allow error in measurements of about 1mm.
This error margin can also be offset if highly-sensitive measuring equipments are used. Unfortunately, this increases the cost of setting up and using this DIY kit.
For this reason, it is recommended that only professionals should acquire as they know how to circumvent such disadvantages.
The Drillpro box-joint jig kit is a quality set that features an adjustable flip stop that supports steady operation of the jig kit. It is made of high-quality materials, and is designed for use by professionals.