Canadian Lock Joint

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Blog entry by 489tad posted 925 days ago 4111 reads 6 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

From my Regifted Jewelry Box, the Canadian Lock Joint (its what I named it) is unique to me because of the tab on the front of the drawer side. We have a couple chests of drawers that belonged to my in-laws. They were build about 65 years ago in Canada. With the drawer bottom in a groove the lock joint will never come apart. I can see they were made on a table saw. I’ve made them before using just the table saw. For the jewelry box I used the router table and table saw. That seemed to work out better for me.

The original joint.

I made the drawer sides using the table saw. With a additional fence and a dial indicator I first cut the front 1/8” tab in the 3/8” stock. Flipping the stock to get the tab in the middle.

Next I move the fence .250” away to cut the 1/8” slot.

The router table is used the machine the drawer front. With a 1/8” bit, .125” between the fence and bit and .375” height of bit I first cut the slot with the drawer front up and horizontal. I did the slot in three passes stacking 1/8” shims under the drawer front.

I cut the next slot with the drawer front vertical and face out. I also did that in three passes.

The finished front joint.

Now will the puzzle pieces fit.

With a little bit of carefull filing they go together.

Not show is the 1/8” plywood botton in a groove. Standard slide in construction.
My thoughts on the joint. Its plenty strong, not too hard to make if the set up is correct and not that bad looking. Thanks for looking.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

8 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile (online now)


13331 posts in 1309 days

#1 posted 924 days ago

I like it!

Thanks for documenting this & sharing!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5020 posts in 1942 days

#2 posted 924 days ago

Now that is a really nice joint that will not pull apart.

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

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10698 posts in 1640 days

#3 posted 924 days ago

U can roll em with the best of em Dan … do i spy birdseye in that pic?

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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2295 posts in 1645 days

#4 posted 924 days ago

Chris, good eye. The guys at woodcraft gave me a good deal. They did.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


622 posts in 1907 days

#5 posted 924 days ago

That is absolutely wonderful! Great joint and it came at the perfect time. I’m in the process of a project with a bunch of drawers and I’m going to use this instead of dovetails!

Great technique! Thanks!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

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1577 posts in 1925 days

#6 posted 924 days ago

This has to slide together like a sliding (duh!) dovetail, doesn’t it? Do you have the groove for the bottom in all 4 pieces, or does it have the back ripped off at the top of the slot?

-- "Sorry I'm late. Somebody tampered with my brakes." "You should have been early, then."

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2869 posts in 1121 days

#7 posted 924 days ago

Wow! I am going to practice that joint as soon as I get 3 other projects done. I really like that!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View 489tad's profile


2295 posts in 1645 days

#8 posted 924 days ago

@JJohnston, the back is ripped so the bottom slides in. I think the only advantage of this joint over a sliding dove tail is you can get right to the edge of the drawer face. A few years back I tried a sliding dove tail to the edge of a drawer face and it kept breaking the edge of the drawer face. Like anything, once set up it goes fast and the originals are pretty clearence friendly.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

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