Canadian Lock Joint

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Blog entry by 489tad posted 788 days ago 3503 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)


11218 posts in 1173 days

#1 posted 788 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?

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Greg The Cajun Box Sculptor

4734 posts in 1806 days

#2 posted 788 days ago

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

-- Every step of each project is considered my masterpiece because I want the finished product to reflect the quality of my work.

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9319 posts in 1504 days

#3 posted 788 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

View 489tad's profile (online now)


1949 posts in 1509 days

#4 posted 788 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


617 posts in 1771 days

#5 posted 788 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

View JJohnston's profile


1571 posts in 1789 days

#6 posted 788 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?

-- The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. - H.L. Mencken

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2672 posts in 985 days

#7 posted 788 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 (online now)


1949 posts in 1509 days

#8 posted 788 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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