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Thread: Locking Drawer Glue Joint

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Great Pacific Northwest
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    Locking Drawer Glue Joint

    First time with router bits other than straight, square cuts for things like dados and rabbets or round-overs on edges.

    I’m trying to cut locking drawer glue joints using a Whiteside #3347 bit. Drawers are built out of ˝” ply (15/32” actual). This joint is for front ends of the drawer box, I’ll attach a separate drawer front piece to finish it off.

    I was having some problems getting the bit set up correctly so it wasn’t leaving a gap and thought to look in Carol Reed’s book and found a section regarding how to set up that type bit. I didn’t get past the second step, pg 116. A quote from the book: “2. For ˝ in. stock, use a bit gauge to adjust the bit to 31/64 in. – a tad under ˝ in. – above the table.”

    Wouldn’t that set up leave only 1/64 in. of material across the front face of the ˝ in. thick stock? I’m missing something or am very confused - probably both.

    The Whiteside catalog shows 5/16 in. as the dimension for the bit to be above the table for ˝ in. stock.

    Thanks,

    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Oak Harbor Washington on Whidbey Island
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    3,134
    Maybe try it on some scrap.
    "Forget the flat stuff slap something on the spinny thing and lets go, we're burning daylight" Bart Leetch
    "If it ain't round you may be a knuckle dragger""Turners drag their nuckles too, they just do it at a higher RPM"Bart

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Cape Cod, Ma.
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    1,553
    I have one for my shaper and one for my router. Just like using a lock miter you end up spending a lot of time fiddling with the fence and heights. Find a "close enough spot" between the two then as you run each piece check your fit and make "micro" adjustments till you get the proper results. Trying to split hairs with a scale will drive you nuts. I cant even see the 1/64 lines on my square even with my bifocals!
    Once you get the set up correct run yourself 2 pieces and save them as set up blocks for the next time you need to use it. You will most likely still have to fiddle a bit each time you use plywood as it varies so much but solid wood you should be able to nail it spot on.
    good luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Made the initial set-up and test cuts on scraps, that got me down to the small gap I couldn't figure out how to close up.

    I'll keep fiddling with it and hope to hit the right combination. The note in the book on setting the height of the bit above the table was just really confusing. Probably just my not understanding something.

    Tom

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Tom

    I have Carols book but i guess it has to do with the bit she has. I understand what she is saying clearly but the issue is we dont know the bit she has and its cutter dimensions.

    Take a look at the LV bit and its instructions. It looks somewhat different to the bit Carols book seems to have in the photos, they refer to 1/4 inch bit height for this bit on 1/2 inch stock. In fact they say the bit is particularly suited for 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch stock

    Here is the bit

    and here in case you miss it is their instructions


    Also take a look at what freud have for their bit which looks similar to Carols version.

    http://www.freudtools.com/p-112-drawer-lock-bits.aspx

    Best of luck i have never used one of these but would like to try it out someday so keep us informed. Let us know the make of your bit.

    Edit: I also notice that most pictures i see show this joint being used to attach directly to the draw face as opposed to a corner joint. Perhaps a lock mitre would better suite your application. Lets hope some router fundy chimes in.
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 07-27-2011 at 03:40 PM.
    cheers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
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    9,076
    Hi Tom, This is my favorite method for building drawers. Once you get a method for using the bit, it may become yours too. I take extra stock from the actual material I am using (usually 1/2 BB ply for duty cabinets but I use contrasting solid woods on finer work).

    The height is somewhat subjective if you are going to use false fronts. That is; if the box will just be a box and the front is separate. I score the path with a marking knofe or an X-Acto knife to prevent tearout.

    For 1/2" B ply (which is something close to 1/2" in mm) I set the bit height at a shy 3/8". The depth of cut for the front/back is equal to the thickness of the drawer material. I just use a piece of the actual material as a setup block to set the fence depth equal to the material width.

    The joint can be adjusted by very, very slight changes in bit height. Once you find your perfect fit, run a piece of hardwood through, cut it off to about 6" in length and write something like "1/2" BB ply" on it with felt pen and toss it in a drawer for next time.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I think I have some better pics at home. If so I will post them tonight. Also I have an improved tall fence thread here.

    Almost forgot; a good tip is to run the profile on a board that is a little more than (for example) 4 times taller than the drawer sides you want to make. You can then rip the material to width (height) and end up with a clean edge where the joint takes place.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 07-27-2011 at 07:31 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Great Pacific Northwest
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    Rob,

    The bit is a Whiteside #3347. I'm using it instead of a lock mitre because my buddy had this bit and loaned it to me.

    Info from LV was what I needed. The Whiteside bit is the same size as the LV bit. The gap I had is the one second from the left in the Table 1 troubleshooting section. Will try their fix and see what happens.

    However, won't get to real production for a bit, since Glenn showed me I need to build a taller fence first. 8^)

    Jigs, fixtures, and set-up....

    Thanks Gentlemen, off to the garage for a bit.

    Tom

  8. #8
    I don't know if it's proper to recommend you try a different forum, but here goes. Carol Reed, the Router Lady, hangs out on WoodCentral. Ask her there. She's really nice and really helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,260
    Yeah Bruce Carol used to hang out here too. I was actually hoping she was going to chime in but i thought she had given up the forums. Wonder what we did wrong here to have her leave us.
    cheers

  10. #10
    I wouldn't read too much into her presence, Rob. I've followed a bunch of forums for a long time, and who posts where seems to ebb and flow for no discernible reason. This and WC are the only forums where I read power woodworking anything although other forums have much higher traffic. I like the place - what can I say. Although I'm a neanderdabbler and my shop is a blended power tool/handtool place, mostly I read handtool techniques and I go elsewhere for those.

    Without knowing Carol personally, I can only speculate that her new ministry profession takes a lot of time and she doesn't have the luxury of posting every place where she might be needed or where she has posted in the past.

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