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Thread: Lamello Tenso

  1. #1

    Lamello Tenso

    Well, I couldn't find many posts on the Lamello Zeta p2 connectors so I thought I'd share my experience. Just a hobby woodworker, fortunate enough to be able to acquire whatever tools I think are useful and efficient... I have a domino joiner already which I have used for many years and have recently purchased the very pricey Lamello Zeta p2 machine, which makes the special t-slot biscuit grooves for their various connectors. The domino of course is excellent, but for edge glue-ups the lamello seems to be really excellent. I have used the "tenso" biscuit connectors on a couple projects now for edge glue-ups and the huge improvement over regular biscuits or festool domino's is that the Lamello tenso connectors are self-clamping. Make the biscuit slots, insert the connectors, glue, and snap together. The edges come together perfectly and no need to spend time clamping! Anyone else have similar experience, hints/tips?

    SB

  2. #2
    we have the Zeta - it's invaluable for certain aspects of casework building. i do high-end kitchens, most with applied side panels, tucked behind face frames... wrapped columns in the island, etc. the Zeta (both tensos and clamex) have been terrific for fitting in the shop, removing, wrapping and moving panels, and then reassembling at the job site. another particularly good use for the zeta connectors is on long miters. sometimes i build long mitered columns to wrap corners, and with the clamex connectors, i can rip or shape the miters, throw in a couple of clamexes, glue and join, without any clamps. i used to run 40 clamps down a long miter, now i need none.

    i do find myself aware of the connector cost - one job i did recently was entirely knock-down (the customer literally came and fork-lifted a pallet of cabinet parts out of the shop), and i used ~400 connectors. even at bulk, these things are expensive, and i had to consider the cost in the job price.

    i keep finding new uses for the zeta, but it doesn't replace the biscuit jointer. i still use that, and the domino, extensively, and often i mix them - i'll use the domino for precise alignment, and a couple of tensos for clamping pressure. for slab glue-ups, or for aligning face frames to carcasses, i still use biscuits. it's not an either-or, the zeta is just another tool with a specific function. for me, in my shop, the tool is worth every dime. ...but it's a lot of dimes.

  3. #3
    Felder has somewhat of a partnership with them. I have a pop-up display of theirs in the Dallas showroom and we offer a CNC tooling package for their various systems. Personally, I don't have any shops who use them on the regular but they are really awesome fasteners and I'm kind of surprised there isn't more interest. Please anyone post pics if you have done projects with them. Would be curious to see.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Dawson Creek, BC
    Posts
    938
    I use these as well. Other than typical cabinets, I have used them for installing face frames that span multiple boxes. Below is an example of a built-in for a mudroom. I am working on a kitchen project using them as well. The tenso connectors are nice, but the clamex allow for a little more flexibility for adjustment when installing. The cost of the Zeta P2 machine and the connectors do turn off quite a few I think. The last batch of connectors I ordered ended up costing about $1.65 (CAD) per connector. That added up on a kitchen project.

    FF-GLUE-UP-BEFORE.jpgFF-GLUEUP-AFTER.jpg
    Last edited by Brad Shipton; 01-16-2020 at 3:42 PM.

  5. #5
    Brad, those are nice. Thanks for sharing. I think cost is the biggest challenge on these.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  6. #6
    When I worked in exhibits, trade show booths and such, we used coffin locks by the hundreds. These could be an interesting alternative at a fraction of the cost.

  7. #7
    They are quite expensive. But using knockdown connectors has added some additional flexibility to my furniture projects. I am finishing up on a large stand-alone cabinet for our living room. Frame & panel construction, approx 7 feet tall, 20" deep, and a little over 3 feet wide. If it was all glued together in one piece it would be very hard to move it upstairs into it's final resting place. I used the festool knockdown connectors to connect the back panel to the two sides and used the Lamello tenso connectors to attach the solid wood edge banding onto the 6 plywood shelves - saved an awful lot of time not having to clamp all those panels. I know there are cheaper ways to accomplish the same thing, but none as quick and painless. Fun too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    4,743
    I have been contemplating one to save some time, but as I live in the middle of nowhere have not had a chance to go hands on. Couple of questions......

    All the videos are in particleboard which I never use. How does it perform in plywood and solid wood?

    How strong is the Clamex Joint? Compared to???

  9. #9
    i pretty much only use it on solid wood (hardwood) and VC plywood. works great. you have to plunge somewhat slowly, and be particularly careful not to move the machine at the end of the cut, as the blade "wiggles" to create the groove for the connectors. fundamentally, the zeta feels and acts like a biscuit cutter.

    for strength, the connectors "pull" the joint tight. the tensos pull ~30 lbs each, i believe... and the clamex, you use an allen key to pull the joint tight. it's not as beefy as the festool connectors, which are threaded, and metal-on-metal, but there's plenty of pull to pull a joint together and get glue squeeze out.

    also, the little plastic/fiberglass connectors stick with PVA glue. so, if you wish, you can put a drop of glue in the slot, slide the connector in, and it'll stay as the glue dries. i almost never do this, but sometimes it's nice to keep the connector for sliding around if you are planning on leaving the join unglued and use the connectors for knock-down pieces.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Huntington, Vermont
    Posts
    994
    I have used the Clamex S connectors (screw-in) and have watched a couple videos on the P and Tenso, The Tenso seem to allow some sideways movemen during assembly, but as I recall the Clamex S have barbs on the stubs that limit sideways adjustment to about .5mm increments- is this true also for the Clamex P connectors?

  11. #11
    there is a little play. i think there really needs to be, they would be nearly impossible if they had "domino" tolerances. i don't know the amount, but there's definitely a bit of play in both directions.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Western Nebraska
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    3,706
    The Tenso is not a knock down connection, correct?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Dawson Creek, BC
    Posts
    938
    Larry, I have built boxes (no space to drag in box) using Clamex connectors, and strength wise they seem fine if you follow the spacing suggestions. Like many other EU companies, they have test data in their catalog. I pasted a a snip of the recommended capacity for the Clamex below. They have tested other configurations as well.

    For adjustment, I find you can move the Clamex a 1 - 2mm in either direction. The play comes from the fit between the plastic parts. I cannot see a way to make anymore play in these either due to the way the blades cuts the slot. To make adjustments with the clamex, you simply force into place and then tighten the hex. On the other hand, the tenso snaps into place, and you are pretty much cooked. I like testing the fit parts, so I find I use the clamex more. The downside of the clamex is the 6mm hole for the hex key. I find most times a small 6mm hole can be allowed for in most applications and they do sell 6mm plugs in various colors.

    I have used the Zeta P2 in both solid and hardwood. The basic blade is the same diameter as the standard lamello, but the tips are wider so when it moves up/down, it makes a deeper groove for the connectors. The blade cuts about the same as a standard lamello. The up/down movement is very small, and I have never found a problem in cherry. I do find I have to cut fairly slow in hardwoods to make sure the machine does not torque during the plunge and move sideways.

    The tenso is a one time application. Click, and done. It is not removable. Those connectors are much less expensive since they do not have a metal hex that drives up the cost. You need three parts for these. The insert to make the male connector clicks in very easily so long as you have their little plastic insert tool (cheap).

    For anyone with a CNC, the Lamello cabineo is hands down the best option if you want to build on site or do not have all the fancy case clamps.

    clamex.PNG
    clamex2.PNG
    Last edited by Brad Shipton; 01-19-2020 at 12:37 PM.

  14. #14
    Who sells Lamello stuff in the continental US? I briefly googled, but did not see much.

    Thanks.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Huntington, Vermont
    Posts
    994
    Colonial Saw in RI.

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