Mitred Boxes – breaking corners

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    As a newbie member I hope I’m not bringing up something that’s been dealt with before in a forum topic or video. But here goes…

    I’ve been making small mitered boxes by hand using an old Stanley miter box and saw to cut the miters on the sides and then trimming them up with a plane and “donkey’s ear” shooting board. So far so good…

    My question: how to neatly “break” the corners where the miters meet? I’ve been running a block plane along them after glue-up and I’m not sure this looks so good. Do people typically roundover or sand them?

    Thanks in advance for any tips.



    Grego, I haven’t made a mitered box in a while but when I did I just sanded the corners after the glue set. But that is just my preference.

    Welcome to the forum. And remember, there are no stupid questions. Lots of very knowledgable people here and on some occasions you even get a reply from the master himself…

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein


    Welcome, you don’t mention the type of wood you choose to use, I like to leave sharp or crisp corners if I can, which is not always possible for any number of reasons. So i think it should be up to the look you choose to create as well.

    Ontario, Canada


    I keep the corners sharp until I do the final sanding. I only sand them enough to feel comfortable on my fingers.


    I prefer planing over sanding as you get a polished facet.

    I think you’ll get a better result using a steeper angle plane than a low angle block plane. I use a standard angle block plane to break my arrises. If you don’t have a standard angle block plane use a #4.

    To avoid tearing out the corners, plane from each end towards the middle. I usually make a couple of passes at 45 degrees from the face, and then one each side of that at 22.5 degrees. This makes for a nice soft chamfer.


    Thanks everyone, this is very helpful!

    The wood on the current box is African mahogany. When I break the corner edges with a plane, I get a noticable (to me) and somewhat uneven dark line in the middle of the resulting facet where the corners meet. It’s a little less noticable after applying varnish but still enough to bother me.

    I will experiment with a #4 and with sandpaper.


    Hi Grego,

    a freshly sharpened low angle block plane with a very shallow setting does a great job for me. I don’t use a smoothing plane for this because I had it badly bite into the corners even with a very fine setting.

    I enjoy working wood in Germany.

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