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Thread: Which locking drawer bit?

  1. #1
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    Which locking drawer bit?

    Im considering making some beginner-level drawers (well, easier than dovetails, anyway). Im planning to use a locking drawer router bit to join sides to front and back. I need to decide if one form factor or the other would have advantages.

    Whiteside and Rockler, among others, have stubbier ones 1 overall width.

    Freud and Infinity et al have bits with 2 overall width.

    I cant see any advantage with the 2 width, except maybe more mass and momentum leading to a smoother cut?

    If you work with this joint, do you have a preference?

  2. #2
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    Maybe its just me, but I found just about any other drawer joint was easier than a locking drawer router bit set. It would help if I had two router tables so the male and female bits could be adjusted and then stock run through but I found getting them adjusted just right was a real PITA, even with a sample piece used as a set up for the height and fence depth.

    My first preference would be a box joint which is super easy, once you have your sled adjusted, then a machine dovetail joint like Keller or Peach Tree, then a Porter Cable jig, and lastly a Leigh Jig. Don't get me wrong, I own and like the Leigh Jig, but it has a steep learning curve, one needs two routers to really do it right, and it is expensive, unless you look to the secondary market (eBay, Craigslist) where you can find D4s for under $500.
    Regards,

    Tom

  3. #3
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    Very interesting feedback. My table has finely detailed height adjustment due to its Mast -R-Lift, but fence adjustment is made by my Biesemeier table saw fence with router fence clamped to it.

    Now youve got me thinking about imprecise uniform thickness of the drawer parts and how that could throw off the fit. And I dont want to use Baltic birch.

    Hmmm

  4. #4
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    I have not tried any of those bits. I would like to and will most likely get a Freud when the time comes. I make a similar joint with the table saw. The table saw method is not a blind joint. It is OK for simple drawers where a separate drawer front is being used.
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 11-04-2023 at 7:23 AM.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  5. #5
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    Yeah, sorta depends on drawers whether you want a blind joint. They are too much trouble for me, so I make a box with through box joints and add a false front. For fine woodworking and a blind joint, I'd want to use a half blind dovetail joint. A lock rabbet joint works well too, but is not terribly strong. For shop furniture or stuff I don't care about, I'll use a Kreig Pocket Screw joint and can make a drawer in about 5 minutes.
    Regards,

    Tom

  6. #6
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    I use both with good success. PLywood for shop cabinets . . .
    bb-ply-drawer-lock-003.jpg

    . .. or solid woods for furniture.

    Kit-Hut-(206).jpg

    I seem to reach for the 1" diameter ones more often although that just may be habit or that the smaller bit is closer at the time
    "A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg".


    Samuel Butler

  7. #7
    Whiteside has two, the 3360 and 3362. Be careful of the low cost options and stick with a major brand. When I used to import bits from Asia I had to throw away a couple hundred of lock miter bits because they weren't machined properly and the joint had wide gaps in it.

    3362-2.jpg

    3360-2.jpg

  8. #8
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    There is definitely a learning curve to them, and give serious thought on how you're going to support the vertical workpiece through the cut. I tried a few LM bits over the years as I would try and then give up on them. But get the set up block as it is very helpful.
    < insert spurious quote here >

  9. #9
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    The locking drawer bits can be a real PITA to set up and get right. Additionally making drawers is not a complex process unless you want it to be. Common example is dovetails. They were invented for strength at the corners when glue was not so great. Today they have morphed into the measure of quality disjunct from the original intent.
    FYI the videos here may help in your drawer construction efforts . Remember the KISS principle....................
    https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...strong+drawers
    calabrese55


    https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...strong+drawers
    Let your hands tell the story of the passion in your heart

  10. #10
    You can make joints similar to what Glenn shows with just a table saw and a dado

  11. #11
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    I have one of the locking drawer bit cutters. It's a nice tool but I found it very "fiddly" even with a setup block. Featherboards and a vertical sled is also kinda required for best results because you have to get an absolutely "perfect" pass on both pieces to get a clean, well cut joint along the entire length. So I pretty much don't use it. On the rare moment when I want a corner joint that interlocks, the table saw method that Edward and others mention would be my go do. Honestly, for many drawers I do butt joints with pocket screws and glue if there's an applied front. It's clean and very strong.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #12
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    Edward, Glenn, and Jim: the table saw dado/rabbet looks manageable. Im going with a false front, so thered be no exposed end grain. Id need to match the dado width on the side to the width of the tab left by the rabbet on the front. If I set this at just slightly more than half the part width, I could use a single dado width for all cuts. Plus, I could use the exact same dado depth on both parts! Thats appealing.

    With the router bit, the cuts already fit into each other, as long as the depths of both cuts are tightly controlled. That means two setups. Theres a bit of end grain, but with a 3/4 drawer face overhang Id never see it.

  13. #13
    If I understand you have a front going on the drawer then there is no reason to over complicate it. We were taught this before dovetails. You only need your table saw.

    img150.jpg
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 11-07-2023 at 4:43 AM.

  14. #14
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    Plus one for keeping it simple and using the table saw.
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  15. #15
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    Apr 2007
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    Columbus, Ohio, USA
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    I have found this to be trivial to set because they mill a flat at the half way point and then you use another jig to just set it.

    https://youtu.be/J18rUOWrf64?si=KA4vxMA8BjM8qdi_

    I have used this for a carcas (3/4" thick) and drawers. Very happy with the result and the ability to set almost instantly. Very quickly I was hitting it right on with the initial setup.

    Very happy with this bit and the jig that can also be used for things such as half laps.

    I should have said that this is the MicroJig lock miter bit.

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