Video Post #6: USFA Trophy Bases: Cutting the Miters and Clamping Square

I’ve made a lot of progress on the Trophy Bases this week, as you’ve seen in my recent posts. After ensuring my miter gauge was perfectly square to my blade and my blade was 45° to my table it was time to batch out the sides for the trophy bases. These are just 8” x 8” boxes with mitered corners. After laying out the pieces on the board, I numbered them to keep them in sequence and rough cut them to length with the miter saw. Then I mitered one end on the table saw using a stop block to ensure the piece didn’t slide along the miter gauge fence. When that was done I moved the stop block to the correct length, flipped the pieces around, and cut the other miter.


Here’s a tip: after you rough cut the pieces they may be different lengths. When you cut that first miter, you’ll want to use a stop block for extra precision, but you don’t want to move it for every piece. In your stack of four boards, find out which is shortest, and set the stop block for that piece. You can then cut the miter on all four pieces precisely without moving the stop block.

Clamping Square

To clamp the pieces I lay them out on my bench, inside face down, in sequence. I then use (lots) of blue painters tape to pull the edges together tightly. When the pieces are held together I stand them on edge and check the dry fit and make any adjustments. You can tell you’ve made the tape tight when they sort of snap or pop into place. After the dry fit I lay them back on bench, this time inside face up, and brush glue onto all the miters. The whole assembly then rolls up and the last joint gets taped. I check for square and twist, and while I go cut the miters on the next box, I clamp the box to a board held in my bench vise. This helped keep the assembly square while the glue set.


When the next box was ready for glue up, I removed the previous box from the clamps and stacked it on the jointer table.


Here two boxes are done and waiting for their glue to dry so they can get cleaned up.


After going through lots of blue tape, all six boxes are done.

Tight Miters

So how did they turn out? Check out the video to see a nice, tight, grain-wrapped miter, and please – leave a comment it would be great to hear from you!

7 thoughts on “Video Post #6: USFA Trophy Bases: Cutting the Miters and Clamping Square

  1. Adam King

    Those are some **HOT** miter joints! I love miters done right, and attention to detail like grain wrap is essential.

    Who’s doin’ it right? “Matt is!”

    You’re doing a great job with the video and narration. Seriously.

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  3. James Ryan

    Great work these are looking awesome, you should be proud.
    Vid’s are looking much better – Nice bayonet – need the background story on it.

  4. Ian Mackay

    Nice…if you’re not a fencing guy, how’d you come to be making the trophy boxes? (I’m a fencing guy…or at least I used to be…sword fencing, not backyard fencing)

  5. Matt Post author

    Hey Ian,

    A former employee, who now works at a different company, is part of the fencing club and when he saw my posts on Facebook he had me submit a bid to the club leadership. They accepted and paid the deposit, so now I have a new customer. These trophies look beat up but they are pretty cool. They need some TLC after 30+ years.

    Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any requests for my videos, let me know. Whether that is a topic to cover, or feedback to improve the quality.

  6. Matt Post author

    Thanks Vic,

    I think I’m going to glue in some blocks inside the miter corners for stability, what do you think?

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