Drawer lock bit for boxes

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Forum topic by birdman posted 11-01-2008 12:01 AM 3090 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 3773 days

11-01-2008 12:01 AM

Hi All,

I have a drawer lock bit that I would like to use to make boxes, instead of drawers. It’s a Rockler with a 1/2” cutting surface. what I have read so far sayss the front and back (for a drawer) should be 3/4” thick while the sides can be 1/2”.

Why this restriction on the stock thickness? Seems to me 1/2” would be good all around, as with a box. Any one know if this is right?

-- DavidP - still count on my fingers and toes - not for math, just inventory!

5 replies so far

View edp's profile


109 posts in 4201 days

#1 posted 11-01-2008 02:31 AM

I make drawers on a regular basis and make just as many with the drawer lock bit as I do with thru dovetails. All are constructed from 1/2” thick baltic birch plywood for front, back, sides and bottom. Don’t fall prey to everything you hear.


-- Come on in, the beer is cold and the wood is dry.

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35154 posts in 4641 days

#2 posted 11-01-2008 03:07 AM

My kitchen cabinets that I’m making now are made with the drawer lock bit and all with 1/2” baltic birch for the drawers. sides and bottom.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

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17 posts in 3773 days

#3 posted 11-01-2008 06:10 AM

thanks, guys – ‘just got back. What height do you set the bit at?

-- DavidP - still count on my fingers and toes - not for math, just inventory!

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 3986 days

#4 posted 11-01-2008 08:44 AM

The suggestion probably has to do with “load”. The way a drawer is stressed in use. The sides just carry the ends, and as their bit is designed it probably leaves too little material left in the ends to resist tear out should the drawer hang up in some part of its’ travel. Could work o.k. as a box bit as the stresses are placed differently but I’d be a little worried that it might get a little skinny in places. Common sense should prevail in this situation.

In really skinny box situations modifying your method completely and using a spiral upcut bit bit will give better results as it pulls material from the wider “face” of the wood rather than pushing it out of the narrow end like a saw blade or box bit will do. (At least it does it on a far smaller scale) This is another set of problems (completely unrelated to those mentioned in the previous paragraph) that come into play when the sides of the box get small. Just to put a number on it I’d say 3/8” but again it will be greatly affected by the material being used and there is no substitution for experience. Cut a couple of sides long and create a joint, then stress it to the point of breaking. Do the same with the other two sides but with a different joint. Note the difference and choose accordingly. I use the pigs/pillows analogy. Will this box be used to ship pigs or pillows? Your choice of joint should reflect the contents/intended use.

Hope this helps.

View snowdog's profile


1166 posts in 4223 days

#5 posted 11-01-2008 03:51 PM

I never thought about a “drawer lock bit” I have been making a few draws and have been cutting them on the table saw or using dove tails. I’ll have to buy the bit and give it a try. What a great idea.. what woudl I do with out lumber jocks, probably waste a lot more time and wood.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

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