Noob Alter: looking to expand skills and continue learning. Would like to
try joining drawer sides and front/rear with a drawer lock router bit. I've
got a few questions I hope someone can help with!
But not a locking *miter* bit.
1) There seem to be predominantly two styles of "drawer lock bits". CMT,
Rockler, Amana, Whiteside make one with this profile:
http://www.cheyennesales.com/catalog/cmtdlock.htm (See CMT model 855.502.11
or Whiteside #3347) and then there's this style:
epitomized by Whiteside's model #3352.
Near as I can tell - they're used in a similar fashion, the stock sizes
required are the same...
Question - why pick one style over the other? Is it more a matter of
2) Documentation is sparse, but Infinity and MLCS I think say the minimum
thickness for the front and rear stock is 3/4". I don't see *why* it
couldn't be less? Why couldn't you raise/lower a bit like the Whiteside 3347
to take a smaller bit and use thinner (1/2") stock?
Is it because they're designed to be used with one setup cutting the fronts
and sides w/o repositioning the bit?
3) I think they've also said the side thickness can vary from 1/2" to 3/4".
But they don't mention if I have to reposition or realign the bit when using
thinner side material.
I *think* I'd like to use 1/2" Baltic Birch for the sides and 3/4" hardwood
for the front. ( I guess I could use 3/4" Baltic Birch for the back). Is
there a good reason to avoid this mixed thickness approach when using these
4) Finally - are these bits more along the lines of "fine if you're in a
production shop making dozens of drawers but more of a PITA if you're making
only six drawers"?
Looking for opinions on these things!
I use one like the #3352. Some of these, depending on the maker/vendor, will
give or sell you a setup block to set the height of the bit & the fence.
Once set, it does a good job, even if you're only making 2 or 3 drawers.
This bit can also be used as a glue joint bit for joining boards edge to
edge, sort of a double tongue & groove.
Thickness . . I've only used mine in 1/2" Birch to make the drawer sides &
front, but then the actual drawer front will be an overlay.
The law of intelligent tinkering: save all the parts.
Lee Valley also has a bit similar to the first style. It's sized to cut 1/2"
material, and is very reasonably priced.
I used 1/2" BB for a set of kitchen drawers and they're quite sturdy (and
used a separate front panel overlay). I don't think the drawer bits will
work well with different thicknesses.
Six drawers is 24 pieces. Once the bit is set up, you run all the pieces
through without changing the router setup. The first time you use the bit,
it'll probably take longer to set it up than to mill all the pieces. Still,
it'll save you time and the joints are strong. Just remember to run the
pieces through with firm pressure against the fence, and the use of a block
to follow the end of the cut will prevent tearout.
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