Notes on Humidor Construction: Corner Joints

Marketing is an interesting concept. It seems as though advertisers can find a whole host of ways to spin just about anything—as long as it helps in t he sale of a product. Humidors are no exception. Lets take corner joinery as an example.

Are lock-mitered joints overkill for desktop humidors?

There are plenty of retailers out there touting the supposed fact that all humidors should be constructed using lock mitered corners. This type of corner joinery is produced using a special router bit sporting an odd profile which can be used to produce two mating corners that lock together. It’s a good joint if well-executed (the set-up on a router table can be rather finicky), but is it necessary? In a word: no. Don’t get me wrong, I use a lock miter bit from time-to-time, but the fact of the matter is: with today’s modern waterproof glues coupled with a well-cut rabbet joint sporting no gaps and tight corners—you don’t need to incorporate lock-mitered corners on small desktop humidors. It’s overkill.

No Need to Over-Engineer

That said, I can’t blame a retailer for running with a great marketing ploy. The idea behind promoting lock-mitered joints over conventional rabbet joints seems logical. A rabbet is so much simpler, so much more humble. How could it possibly be “just as good?”

An example of a rabbeted drawer.

The key to answering this question has to do with glue surface. Woodworking joinery requires a surface for glue to bond to. More surface area equals more area to bond to, and quite frankly, both joints have plenty of real estate for glue to adhere to.

Now, do I sometimes fall under the seduction of the lock miter joint? Sure. I admit it, I’ll cater to folks who want this sort of joinery in a humidor-or any other type of project I might be building. But do I think one joint is particularly better than the other? Absolutely not.