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Arts & Crafts Dining Room Set #15: He's Got Legs...

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Blog entry by CaptainSkully posted 02-05-2010 03:50 AM 1489 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: The Paradox of Quartersawn on Four Sides... Part 15 of Arts & Crafts Dining Room Set series Part 16: My Final Answer... »

Today, I bit the bullet and tried out my 45 degree lock-miter bit to make the four-sided quarter-sawn white oak 4” x 4” legs. I outsmarted myself by trimming the edges at 45 degrees. Unbeknownst to me, the router bit needs all the meat it can grab to make the “tongues”. As a result, I have very little “lock” in my lock-miter. I have just enough to register the corner, but I’ve lost about half of my glue surface. Sigh… The good news is that the remaining half should be more than strong enough once it’s glued together. This concerns me a bit because that’s a lot of wood to take out in one pass with a large diameter bit. You have to take it out in one pass because you can’t mess with the horizontal/vertical alignment once it’s setup. This means the bit would have to take square stock and make it 45 degrees, plus and minus the tongue & groove parts. I had enough problem pushing it through safely with the featherboard and router bit spinning.

The large diameter bit is rather scary to use. I dialed my router speed way down. I used a featherboard to help secure the work, which allowed me to focus on downward pressure. I also found out that there’s a small shoulder of the edge left, which means the outfeed side of the table can be flush with the infeed side. I was worried because my test pieces had a bit of the edge removed, which caused the work to rock as I passed it across the router table. BTW, my router table is an extension of my table saw, so I can use my Biesemeyer fence with an MDF adapter to act as a relatively accurate (and space-saving) router table. The blade guard is a bit in the way, but I’m willing to deal with the inconvenience.

BTW, I used the following method to “center” the lock-miter bit. First, I set the height by passing two pieces of identical thickness running flat horizontally. When mated, yin-yang style, they should fit flush if the router bit is the right height. I had to make a couple of adjustments which is tough, since my router doesn’t have a lift. The flip side is to adjust the fence depth. This is done the same way, with test pieces run vertically up against the fence. If the pieces fit flush, then your depth is correct. There are shortcuts to this method, using two parts, one part, labeling, etc. but the end result is two parts the same thickness as your final piece should fit flush both horizontally and vertically. Sorry if this is confusing in written format, but it’s relatively obvious when you’re actually doing it.

I routed the vertical side on one edge of every piece and the horizontal edge on the other so that there would be no possiblilty of me mucking it up. This also has the additional benefit of guaranteeing that the columns are square. I can’t believe how much air there is inside the leg! That right there caused me to break even on the lock-miter bit. This also should make the mortises easier, since I don’t have the extra 2-1/2” of meat to chisel through.

While sighting down the legs after they’ve been dry fit, they’re not intersecting at the corners as perfectly as I’d like, but they are consistent down the length of the leg. I plan on easing the edges with a small radius round-over bit, which should cause the seam to disappear in the grain. I’m going to use sticks in the middle of each 4” face and wrap that rascal with stiff bungee cord to act as a clamp to force the lock-miter together. I’ll probably do one leg at a time so I can use my limited number of C-clamps to assist the process.

The dry-fit leg is standing next to the new table top in the dining room and looks incredibly beefy. In fact, it’s so beefy that I could probably address my missing tongue issue if needed. I wanted a 4” x 4” leg to balance the large breadboard ends. I think I’ve achieved my goal. Now if I can just glue these damn things up…

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails



12 comments so far

View sras's profile

sras

3834 posts in 1781 days


#1 posted 02-05-2010 04:54 AM

I might be missing something, but it looks to me like you could shift the fence and make multiple passes … Doesn’t really matter at this point, just a thought.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112080 posts in 2229 days


#2 posted 02-05-2010 07:12 AM

Keep going

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1190 posts in 2210 days


#3 posted 02-05-2010 08:06 AM

I see your point, and I’m percolating on it. I just don’t have a plan B. I’m out of prepared test pieces (although I could make up some more). I can probably glue it up the way it is, even though it’s not optimal. If I try to fix it and flub it up, then I’m hosed. That was the whole point of spending 45 minutes doing the setup. Very frustrating. If I change the bit settings, I’ll probably have to move the outfeed table. Considering my lack of success today, I’m loathe to risk it. That would also help with the lack of glue surface issue.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

437 posts in 2016 days


#4 posted 02-05-2010 01:52 PM

Don’t glue it up as is. Looking at the photo, it is clear that the corners are not fully developed. Is the diamter greater than 4 inches (looks like it might be)? Don’t know if you can reset the fence to make another pass. Looks like it might help. As a worst case, you could always recut the bevel to 45 degrees (getting rid of extra 1/8 inch) and spline the joint. Build a core out of FS oak and wrap the core with the face material. The legs may end up a bit under 4 inches but I don’t think it will be notieced that much.

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1190 posts in 2210 days


#5 posted 02-05-2010 05:48 PM

Thanks Vincent. I’ll keep that in mind. I’m glad I left the router setup, so it’ll be easy to tweak as needed. I’ve drawn a line on the router table for the depth for a point of reference.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View stefang's profile

stefang

13017 posts in 1986 days


#6 posted 02-05-2010 10:17 PM

A blog on doing this joint step by step would be real useful. I too understand that you have to make the cut in one pass. I tried mine out a long time ago, but I didn’t have the fine adjustment feature then and it didn’t turn out very well. I knew at the time it was due to my lack of knowledge as well. I’ve got a better router now with table top fine adjustment, so I am thinking of giving it another go. I would be a darn useful bit for mitered corners. I thought to let you know this because you are not the only one who has had problems with this cutter. I have this bit in two sizes and I would like to use the small one on mitered boxes. Don’t give up! You will get there.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View stefang's profile

stefang

13017 posts in 1986 days


#7 posted 02-05-2010 11:21 PM

I found some websites showing how to use lock miter bits. If you just google “USING LOCK MITER BITS” a selection of websites and video will appear. The videos all have different approaches on how to best set up your bit. The basic things I learned is that the the center point of the bit has to be lined up with the center line of the stock both the horizontal cut and vertical cut. Also the fence should be in the same position for both cuts. Set-up blocks are very useful, but you need a set for each stock thickness. You should make them from your final and successful test cuts. I also learned that you can take more than one pass when cutting your stock.In one of the videos this was done by first determining the final position of the fence. Then using a fence shim to reduce the depth of cut on the first passes and then removing the shim for the last passes (that is horiz. and Vert.)

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

437 posts in 2016 days


#8 posted 02-05-2010 11:50 PM

MLCS has both written instructions and a short video on using the lock miter bit. It may help.

View stefang's profile

stefang

13017 posts in 1986 days


#9 posted 02-06-2010 12:31 PM

Thanks very much for this reference Vincent, it’s the best one I’ve seen to date. I needed those too. The written instructions are real good and together with the video tells the whole story. I printed out the instructs to have with me in the shop. I like the part about clamping a stop behind the final fence setting and then adjusting the fence to take lighter cuts, moving the fence back towards the stop after each cut and then a final cut against the stop. That sounds like it would be a lot easier on the router, and MLCS says you get a cleaner cut as well.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1467 posts in 2217 days


#10 posted 02-06-2010 01:01 PM

Looks like a simple fix to move the fence and make another pass if you can afford loose some width on the legs.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1190 posts in 2210 days


#11 posted 02-06-2010 05:16 PM

Thanks Vincent! Gizmodyne mentioned shimming when I posted the next installment. It makes perfect sense when you can’t move the fence once it’s setup, but don’t want to take such a big bite. Cutting the edges at 45 degrees certainly didn’t work. I wish I’d done a bit more research. I’m not terribly happy with the way my joint turned out, but I can live with it (see my next installment).

Timbo, it’s not a s simple as it looks, believe me. I spent almost two hours on setting this up. It’s a lot more dynamic than it looks. If you fix one thing, you throw off another. The fence must remain stationary once it’s setup for the two edges to mate properly.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View stefang's profile

stefang

13017 posts in 1986 days


#12 posted 02-06-2010 08:34 PM

Ok Cap’n. I spent some time in the shop today setting up my lock miter bit. I learned a few tricks that save time. I had to test cut of course and I used MCLS method on their video.

The key to set-up is understanding how the bit height relates to you stock thickness. The top of the top cutter has to be at the same height as the thickness of your stock. I just used my shop made height gauge to set it. First I set it to my stock thickness using the actual stock. Then I positioned it over the bit and adjusted the bit height to the same setting. The fence position was even easier. The front of the fence intersects with with the top edge of the top cutter where it goes from a 45 degree angle to horizontal. That’s it. A practice cut should be almost right on and require very very little adjustment for final position.

I found that it was easier to use the long grain edge of my test piece and than cutting across the grain. You get an easier, cleaner cut and it gives you the same info. I will say that I spent a lot of time fooling around until I understood the basics. After that everything went smooth. All the same, I can appreciate your frustration with this bit. Nothing in life worth knowing is easy to learn!! Good luck.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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