Getting Familiar With The Lock Miter

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Blog entry by 49er posted 01-23-2014 03:57 PM 3006 reads 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I bought this Whiteside lock miter bit a couple weeks ago. This is my experience with it so far.
The first thing I did was make a tall fence to go on my Jointech positioner.

Next I made a couple of feather boards. Then I just eye balled the center of the bit to the center of my stock. And at the same time set the fence so the top edge of my stock would not be completely removed. If the fence is set to deep the complete edge will be removed. Resulting in snipe.

Now I took my dial caliper and got the height perfect. This process took three measurements and some math. I was more accurate subtracting the shelf height from the total stock thickness.

The Incra router lift made this adjustment very precise. Each increment on the lift equals about .002 inch. I need to remind myself to raise or lower the bit one half the total amount of error from my measurement.

The final fine tune was to move the fence in or out so the top edge of the bit aligned with the top corner of the stock.
I ran a couple of test pieces. I have better results with less chance of a mess up if the boards are not too short. Longer boards work best.

The results.

I hope this write up encourages someone to try the lock miter joint. I find it not too hard to set up and it makes a joint equal to the spline miter with less work.

13 comments so far

View jumbojack's profile


1690 posts in 3398 days

#1 posted 01-23-2014 04:52 PM

Did you cut to depth in one pass?

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View 49er's profile


182 posts in 2378 days

#2 posted 01-23-2014 05:04 PM

Yes I did Jumbo, the stock was only half inch and the cut was smooth and easy. If my feed was fast enough there was no burning. The wood is cherry and it burns very easily.

View doubleDD's profile


9471 posts in 2817 days

#3 posted 01-23-2014 06:37 PM

I have been looking into these the last few weeks myself. Do they make a nice clean miter? It’s had for me to tell by the picture. Thanks.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View AandCstyle's profile


3283 posts in 3031 days

#4 posted 01-24-2014 12:07 AM

I make mission style furniture and have considered getting a lock miter router bit for making the legs so the rays in the qswo show on all 4 sides. Do you have any thoughts on this application? Have you tried running longer pieces through it?

-- Art

View 49er's profile


182 posts in 2378 days

#5 posted 01-24-2014 01:02 AM

DD, I think the miters are very clean and acceptable for a jewelry box.

AandCstyle, the longest joint I have made so far is about a foot and it mated up real good. I would think it would work for you. The Whiteside bit I used is number 3362. It is designed for one half to three quarter stock. 3360 is for 1/2 to 1-1/4 stock. I bought 3362 to do small boxes. If I decide to go bigger my intention was to get a lock miter shaper cutter.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


4100 posts in 3883 days

#6 posted 01-24-2014 02:46 AM

I’ve been looking to make lock miters instead of regular 45° miters, but am having a tough time finding one for 1/4”. I don’t really like a box joint or dovetails in a small box (like 1.25” X 2.5” X 6”). Maybe 1/4” is too small for a lock miter- the sections of wood would be too small. Maybe a half-blind box joint is in my future. I do like the lock miter, it has a lot of surface area for glue and strength.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 3658 days

#7 posted 01-24-2014 05:09 PM

I have had one for a while. Did not have good luck with it at first and gave up. Guess I need to get it out again and give it a test – when it warms up some.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View JimYoung's profile


381 posts in 2361 days

#8 posted 02-24-2014 12:28 AM

You look to have a pretty sophisticated router table setup (lift, etc…). Is this required, or can one expect to be able to set the height with just the adjustments on my DeWalt router?

Also, it seems critical setting the height and depth so that the edge comes to a point, but this also may make it difficult to get a consistent cut. I’m looking at using this to make larger legs for a desk that will have their edges chamfered or rounded over. Would it make sense to set the bit so the edge was 1/16” – 3/32”? This would result in a small notch in the glued up edge, that would later be routed off.

Thanks for your help.

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View HerbC's profile


1804 posts in 3633 days

#9 posted 02-24-2014 12:39 AM

You might want to look at the Lock Miter Master jig set from Infinity Tools. Makes setting up this bit much easier.


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2884 days

#10 posted 02-24-2014 12:54 AM

I simply use two carrier boards, one each for the A & B cuts, that hold the stock using screws driven into the ends where the bit won’t cut.

It’s 1 1/2” thick, two 3/4” laminations of MDF, with wood end caps that wrap the work, and whip up a custom set to whatever length I’m doing. The two 3/4” strips create a step that cradles the work. Most furniture legs are in similar length ranges, so if I’ve got a jig that’s close, I’ll simply start with stock that’s too long, and cut it down to proper length after assembly, and not have to make another jig.

No snipe, as each of the pair rides along one of the MDF edges, you can even make skinny legs if you want, as the MDF supports the stock all along the length and prevents it from from bowing, you get instant setup using a previous set’s cut end, and no need for a tall fence.

I wrote it up for another site.

View 49er's profile


182 posts in 2378 days

#11 posted 02-24-2014 01:06 AM

Jim, I don’t know how difficult it would be to get a good joint without a fine adjustment like on the Incra lift. However, I don’t see why a dial indicator couldn’t be used. I was making adjustments of about four thousands to get what I wanted.

Barry, I can’t understand what you are saying. I would probably need a picture. I am sure it works for you.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2884 days

#12 posted 02-24-2014 05:16 PM

Barry, I can’t understand what you are saying. I would probably need a picture. I am sure it works for you.

Follow the link in #10, then scroll to the last message for photos.

To put it simply, it’s just two MDF slabs that cradle the work. The work can’t flex in either direction away from the spinning bit, and the full-width part is what rides on the fence or table, depending if it’s an A or B cut, not the work, so there is zero chance of snipe.

View 49er's profile


182 posts in 2378 days

#13 posted 02-25-2014 02:13 PM

Ok, I see now. I am a little slow. Very need trick. I may try it.

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