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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Lock Miter Bit Set-Up

    I’ve seen more than one way to set a lock miter bit. This is the method I use.

    All of your stock has to be the exact same thickness.

    I set the height first.

    In this case, I’m using 5/8” stock.

    The center of the joint (marked in yellow) should be as close to 5/16" (½ the stock thickness) above the table as possible.
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    When you have the height set close, it's time to set the fence close.

    Stand one of your pieces up on edge against the fence. Set the fence to where you're going to leave about 1/8” square at the bottom.
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    Now you’re ready to run two test pieces through….both laying flat. I like to use push blocks & and backer board.
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    Here's you're two test pieces.
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    Now, flip the one on the right over, and slide them together. You can see that they don't set flush. I had to lift the piece on the right up to get them together. That tells me that the bit is set too high.
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    Don't move the fence yet.

    Let’s say the pieces are offset 1/8”…then I’ll lower the bit 1/16”.
    Run them through again (and again, and again) until they meet evenly.
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    Now that they slide together evenly, the height is set correctly....DON'T MOVE IT.

    Next we'll set the fence.

    We were leaving about 1/8" square (see pic #3). Move the fence forward until we're leaving "just a tick" (about 1/32")
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    We're getting close.

    Run one piece through laying flat (if the top edge starts "feathering" (see pic), you need to bring the fence forward just a bit), and another standing up.
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    Here ya go....finished lock miter joint!!
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    Some suggestions...

    #1 Make sure you have plenty of stock.
    #2 Leave your pieces as wide as possible and rip to final dimension when you're finished routing.
    #3 Make some set-up blocks to keep for the "next time."
    #3 Keep the bit clean. You can touch them up with a diamond hone, but if you have them sharpened....
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    ...the yellow dimension will get smaller, the red dimension will get bigger, and you'll have a very loose joint.
    ____________

    Dave, in Indiana
    I'm a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Lock Miter Bit Set-Up

    Great tutorial but that lock miter (I've never used one) sure seems persnickety to get it right.
    Cody

    "The reverence that the object maker has for the materials, for the shape, and for the miracle of his skill transcends to God, the Master Craftsman, the Creator of all things, who uses us, our hands, as His tools to make these beautiful things." Sam Maloof (1916-2009).
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  3. #3
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    Re: Lock Miter Bit Set-Up

    Nice tutorial.

    I love the bit.

    The urns I am making currently uses that joint.

    I will finish them someday.
    Art and Creativity - Collide with the Functionality of CNC - priceless
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  4. #4
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    Re: Lock Miter Bit Set-Up

    Quote Originally Posted by Cody Colston View Post
    ....sure seems persnickety to get it right.
    I can't argue that point. In fact, a miter with spline just might get the job done a little simpler. After you've set it up a couple times, and you have some set up blocks (for various thicknesses), it's not as bad as it looks. And it makes clamping it up almost fool proof.

    I've seen you mention lock miters before Leo, I knew you were a fan. Is this how you set your's up?

    I've built drawers out of 1/2" Baltic birch with this joint. I'll admit they're low end, but it does work.
    ____________

    Dave, in Indiana
    I'm a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.
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  5. #5
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    06-22-2010
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    Jackson, MS
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    Re: Lock Miter Bit Set-Up

    Great tutorial!

    I don't have a lock miter set - yet. One reason I have drug my feet about getting them is their reputation for being hard to set. You've totally disproved that theory to me.

    thanks, art

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  6. #6
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    Re: Lock Miter Bit Set-Up

    Quote Originally Posted by deepsplinter View Post
    I can't argue that point. In fact, a miter with spline just might get the job done a little simpler. After you've set it up a couple times, and you have some set up blocks (for various thicknesses), it's not as bad as it looks. And it makes clamping it up almost fool proof.

    I've seen you mention lock miters before Leo, I knew you were a fan. Is this how you set your's up?

    I've built drawers out of 1/2" Baltic birch with this joint. I'll admit they're low end, but it does work.

    Pretty close.

    I have a set of set up instruction from an internet site I got years ago -- this past time I set up, I actually used a caliper and drop indicator to adjust the bit height - after I cut the boards end to end. The height adjustment on the bit is half the height offset on the boards.

    Cutting miters on end grain is a bit tough. Cutting miters of edge grain is simple dimple.
    Art and Creativity - Collide with the Functionality of CNC - priceless
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    06-21-2010
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    Re: Lock Miter Bit Set-Up

    Great tutorial, Dave, and you set the frame for my question:

    I have the junior lock miter bit, and have used it alot. Yes, set-up is tricky. I was told it would be best to miter the joints on the TBS first, and then set the bit? I've not done it that way before and was about to try it.

    What do you think of this?

    Thanks!
    Elizabeth
    I think, therefore I'm more confused than when I began.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Lock Miter Bit Set-Up

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth View Post
    I = I was told it would be best to miter the joints on the TBS first, and then set the bit? I've not done it that way before and was about to try it.

    What do you think of this?

    Thanks!

    IMNSHO, BS.

    You need that little bit left square (pics #3 & #8) to keep your piece against the fence/table top. Plus you'd be cutting the tongue off.

    Try this method and see what you think.
    ____________

    Dave, in Indiana
    I'm a great believer in luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Lock Miter Bit Set-Up

    Thanks! It didn't sound right to me either....
    Elizabeth
    I think, therefore I'm more confused than when I began.
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  10. #10
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    06-15-2010
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    Re: Lock Miter Bit Set-Up

    I've had luck setting the height but the position of the fence has been a nightmare.

    BTW - The book, "In The Craftsman Style", page 131 or so suggests using a couple of jigs for the bit. The advantage is that next time you have the settings.
    Rich
    Huntington Beach, California

    Woodworking is just like the Mafia, you need to know where to bury your mistakes.
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