Canadian Lock Joint

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Blog entry by 489tad posted 02-17-2012 02:57 PM 4330 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


13751 posts in 1360 days

#1 posted 02-17-2012 03:35 PM

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 (online now)

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5177 posts in 1993 days

#2 posted 02-17-2012 04:19 PM

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

-- We all must start somewhere in our journey of doing what we love to do.

View chrisstef's profile


11092 posts in 1691 days

#3 posted 02-17-2012 08:02 PM

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


2395 posts in 1696 days

#4 posted 02-18-2012 12:45 AM

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

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

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


629 posts in 1958 days

#5 posted 02-18-2012 01:25 AM

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


1585 posts in 1976 days

#6 posted 02-18-2012 01:41 AM

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?

-- "Sometimes even now, when I'm feeling lonely and beat, I drift back in time, and I find my feet...Down on Main Street." - Bob Seger

View Dallas's profile


3030 posts in 1172 days

#7 posted 02-18-2012 01:42 AM

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


2395 posts in 1696 days

#8 posted 02-18-2012 05:01 AM

@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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