Using Lock Miter on a long corner

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Forum topic by Mainiac Matt posted 01-22-2014 08:38 PM 2057 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mainiac Matt

8034 posts in 2324 days

01-22-2014 08:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lock miter joint large

When I completed my oldest daughters NYWS hope chest, the side and end panels were connected with a tongue and groove joint, per the plan. But the joint didn’t close tight 100% on one of the corners, and my attempts to fill the tiny, tiny gap with sawdust and glue didn’t pan out.

I’m going to be making a second chest for daughter #2 soon, and am looking for skill builder modifications. So I picked up a lock miter bit, thinking I would solve my corner gap problems and lose the seam line completely.

But now I’m having second thoughts. It seems lock miters are usually used for small boxes, and even drawers, but would a chest edge be too long? and make assembly a challenge?

Here’s a screen shot of the computer model to illustrate the original design and length of the edge.

And this is what I’m thinking about doing….

Is this too long for a lock miter joint?

Has anyone done a corner this long with a lock miter bit?

If so, any assembly tips?

Should I consider ripping at 45 deg. on the TS and then using biscuits to align the panels and add strength?

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

8 replies so far

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4127 posts in 2305 days

#1 posted 01-22-2014 10:13 PM

Sure you can. I do 30 inch long one all the time. I’ve done them up to 8 foot long.

Have to go to work now but if you want I could post a picture of the 30’’ and 8 foot long one.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View madts's profile


1862 posts in 2336 days

#2 posted 01-22-2014 10:33 PM

We used to make faux distressed wooden beams this way. 18” long. Just go for it.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5654 posts in 2809 days

#3 posted 01-22-2014 10:34 PM

I have used both locking miters and miters reinforced with biscuits. I like the locking miter better, because the joint really locks together. I recommend leaving the part extra long to cut the locking miter. That way, if you get a little snipe at the router table you can simply trim it off.
Also, making the cut in multiple passes by adjusting the router fence is a great help.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Gary's profile


9331 posts in 3429 days

#4 posted 01-22-2014 10:39 PM

Matt, I’m with Willie. I use locking miter locks on pie safes and such. Nice joint. Good idea to cut it a little long.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 2471 days

#5 posted 01-22-2014 10:53 PM

Matt, I to have used the lock miter on longer pieces and it makes a good joint. The issues which I had were operator error and stupid. As far as the operator error, take your time and dimensioned stock to get the set up right. As for the stupid, let me say that the pieces need a good S4S, I thought that my stock was good enough with sort of S4S before the jointer and planer came along.

View boxcarmarty's profile


16176 posts in 2356 days

#6 posted 01-22-2014 11:16 PM

Matt, I use a lock miter from time to time and have never made a bad joint with it. It gives you a good glue surface and a tight joint whether it is a corner or a panel joint…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8034 posts in 2324 days

#7 posted 01-22-2014 11:44 PM

Thanks for the replies guys.

I’ve discussed it with daughter #2 and we’re going with lock miter corners and raised panels on her Hope Chest.

Nothing like a challenge to motivate me for a project :^)

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View basswood's profile


261 posts in 1616 days

#8 posted 01-23-2014 12:13 AM

It will help if you use feather boards holding stock both down tight to the table and to the fence. This will help you get a consistently milled lock miter so it goes together nicely.


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