Anyone that has the Beadlock loose tenon jig: What do you think about it?

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Is it cool, or is it kludgy? A while back someone posted that the holes were too small for the tenons. Does it do odd angles like the Leigh?
Would you buy it again? Does it make excellent joints?
dave
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Well Dave, I almost bought one... At first I did not like it much, then became more interested and finally decided against it. I have a jig to drill dowel holes and this beadlock jig seems marginally better. IMHO there were too many complaints about the tight fit, the premade tennons are too expensive and the bits to make your own are way too expensive.
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that's kinda what was running thru my mind today when I saw the jig at the store. the tenons are $5.50 for about 3 feet. That would make for some expensive joinery. I'm trying to figure out how to get away from making a "real" mortise and tenon, as I don't like the mortising attachment for the DP. I don't want to get a dedicated one, but that Leigh jig looks cool, but WAAAAY to pricey unless I win the Lotto. Since I never play, I'd say my odds of winning are greatly diminished. :)
dave
Leon wrote:

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I don't see why the router doesn't get used more often for mortising. Its a snap especially if you bevel the tenon corners.

Nah. Your odds of winning are roughly the same whether or not you buy a ticket. :)
Brian.
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come to think of it, you are right! :) and look at all the money I saved by not playing!
dave
Brian wrote:
snip

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That was me, back on the 23/10/03. The joints are VERY tight, but as was pointed out by some helpful folk, it may simply be due to moisture content. I intended to make some trial joints pretty soon. I shall dry one tennon in a low oven and another in the microwave. If I cannot achieve a push fit that will release, even if after a little struggle, I am going to take it up with Trend who market it over here in the UK.
It will do any angle where the end of the board is at 90 degrees to the face. It would easily handle a mitre joint but not a compound mitre joint.

Only if cooking the tennons works.
Does it make excellent joints? ------------ Hell they'll never come apart, even without glue. Dry fitting is currently impossible (if you want to get it apart again), cooking may cure that. As to how good the joint really is, well, I think I'll have to slice a few test pieces up before I can be certain that all the glue wasn't wiped down to the bottom of the mortise when I hammered the tennon in.
The whole idea is good, but, it all depends on the fit of the tennons - which are a little pricey. I bought the whole kit in one go. So both drills bits are as specified so something is wrong with the tennon.
You will end up making your own shims, why they couldn't have included a 6mm (or 1/4 inch) shim I don't know. And you'll never get it exactly in the middle. So you mark the centres as for biscuits and keep the same faces together or you'll have an irritating couple of thou offset like I have in my CMS bench.
You'll also need a nice one handed clamp that grips very well or the whole thing goes walkabout when you drill the second set of holes, especially with the big 1/2 inch bit. I was using a G-clamp and they are a two handed pain for this as you need to line up your registration mark, do-able but painful. I first tried one of those 'I want muscles like Arnie' spring clamps and it failed miserably.
But it is quick and uses the simplest equipment. I just mess about for fun but I would imagine if one was trying to earn a crust then this would make a big difference, assuming cooking the tennons works. I reckon you could do the joint in about 5 minutes.
As you are interested I shall make the test joints in the next day or two and let you know the results.
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cool. thanks, I'd be most interest in knowing if you can get them glued in properly. Would a bit of judicious sanding of the tenons make them slip in easier, or is the shape of them not conducive to a quick sanding of the interfering surfaces?
dave
gandalf wrote:

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I think sanding would defeat the objective. You would end up with flat spots and spend more time than it's worth. I reckon the tenon is too big either as a result of moisture or the tenon being milled to fit the mortise exactly. If cooking doesn't help then I will ask Trend just what is going on. They are helpful and they don't sell rubbish. So there is an answer.
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ok. I'll just sit tight 'til you report back!
dave
gandalf wrote:

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You might like to take a look at the review of the beadlock here: http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com/reviews/beadlock.htm
-- Regards,
Dean Bielanowski Editor, Online Tool Reviews http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com ------------------------------------------------------------ Latest 5 Reviews: - Delta Universal Tenoning Jig - Ryobi Reciprocating Saw - Infinity Router Bits - Incra Wonder Fence - Veritas Jointer Blade Sharpener ------------------------------------------------------------
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thanks, Dan.
One question I have after reading and looking at the jig: it won't work on wider material, say a 3" piece, will it? It appears as the though the jig is straddling 3/4 or so material.
dave
WoodTurner wrote:

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The 3/8" block centres on 3/4" wood and the 1/2" centres on 1" wood, that's without any shims. For thicker wood you simply insert shims (a couple come with the kit but you will end up making your own) this allows for just about any thickness.
Incidentally, I contacted Trend and they agree that the problem I had must be a function of the tenon (as I had used the drill they supplied), so they are shipping me some new ones tonight - gratis.
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I have one. It does what it says it will do and I would buy it again. It's not the right tool for every job (it's useless if you want to do a mortise in the middle of a wide piece) but if you want to put mortises in 3/4 stock or close to an edge, it's quick, easy and accurate. I've never had a problem with the tenon stock not fitting. The key is to drill out each hole twice to ensure it's fully cleaned out. As for angled mortises, it really depends on whether you have an adequent area to clamp the jig.
Leon's right about the tenon stock, it wicked over priced for what your getting. Same with the bits to cut your own stock. But it doesn't add that much to the cost of a project.
HTH, Jo
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Dave:
In the interest of full disclosure, we (McFeely's) sell the Beadlock System.
Now, the reason we sell it is that after using it to build a table, I really like it. I built a computer table about two years ago that gave me a perfect chance to test the jig's capabilities. I have previously used mortise and tenon joinery for such projects. What impressed me most was the ease of use, accuracy, and speed. It really is simple to achieve top notch joints quickly. As others reported, dry-fitting can be a problem, but I used short pieces of tenon to index everything when doing the fit-up, so removal wasn't much of a problem. None of the tenon stock was tight enough to cause an assembly problem. In fact, none of it was a slip fit, but it didn't take a big hammer to drive it in either. A few gentle taps would seat the tenon nicely. I suspect that micro-waving the tenon stock would fix any size issues.I cut a lot of joints, and found jig wear not to be a problem. As far as versatility is concerned, almost any joint configuration I can think of is possible - but you may need to make a wedge block to deal with miters.
If you need more information, feel free to call my Technical Director, Darin Lawrence at 1-800-443-7937.
HTH
Jim Ray, President McFeely's Square Drive Screws www.mcfeelys.com
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Jim,
thanks for the additional input on the Beadlock. One of my top concerns is that in looking at the jig, it doesn't appear to be able to straddle a wider piece of wood, say a 3" wide board. The reason I ask is I was considering using mortise/tenon joinery on a desk I made. The sides were made up of rails and stiles, with each part being 3" wide and 1" thick. The modesty panel also was similar frame and panel construction. I was going to join the 1" edge to the 3" face with a mortise and tenon, but opted for glue and biscuits along the 20 inch edge. I own a DP mortiser but frankly think it's a PITA, esp on harder woods. I know that a dedicated mortiser has more power to deal with hardwoods, but I'm not eager to get one. The Leigh, at first blush, seems remarkably versatile, but too pricey for this boy.
Could the Beadlock jig be placed over the 3" wide board?
dave
Jim Ray wrote:

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Dave:
Unfortunately, I don't know the answer, as I haven't tried using it that way. I forwarded your post to Darin, who should be running to the shop right now to do some experimentation. He will psot his findings asap!
Jim Ray, President McFeely's Square Drive Screws www.mcfeelys.com
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Yes it will. You just need to fit 1" of shims. You could centre it on any conceivable width, you just might have to get longer bolts that's all. I've used it on 2" stuff, I had to make a 6mm shim and added that to some of the shims that came with it to make up the size needed (but I was out by a teeny bit which is why keeping the registration faces together is a must)
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I'm with you on the registration thing after my first attempt to make a dovetailed drawer with my Incra set up. A call to the experts clued me in about marking all the drawer parts so that I could register each part against the router fence for their respective machining. That also requires some climb cutting, but I can deal with that.
I also key off one set of mating surfaces when biscuit cutting for proper alignment.
dave
gandalf wrote:

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http://www.woodshopdemos.com/beadlk1.htm
Bay Area Dave wrote:
snipped his stuff
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Dave, I'm am a little confused by your description of "Straddle a 3" wide board" but I will try to help.. The beadlock will join anything that biscuit joiner can handle. It registers on one face much like a biscuit joiner. For thicker pieces, you add shims to move the bushings away from the the registering fence. Technically, you can even replace the 1/4-20 bolts with longer ones, use a thicker shim, and be able to place the mortise further "inland". Thus, you could use it to form a joint of a 1" apron into the center of a 3" leg. The jig is well constructed, accurate and affordable. I recall only one jig ever being returned to McFeely's and that involved someone trying to use 1/2 drill through 3/8 diameter holes. ???? You won't regret the purchase of this jig! Darin Lawrence, Technical Director McFeely's Square Drive Screws
Pat Barber wrote:

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