Reply by Rich

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Posted on Drawer-Lock Bit tearout

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4701 posts in 1044 days

#1 posted 04-12-2018 11:19 PM

I’m also confused by some of the ways cuts are being described. The bit is designed to be set up once for bit height and the distance from the tip of the bit to the fence. The drawer sides are routed vertically with the drawer inside face against the fence and the front/back are routed laying flat with the inside face down on the table. Done right, the side of the drawer will be flush with the ends of the drawer face and back. It doesn’t matter if the drawer sides and back are 1/2” or 5/8” and the drawer front is 3/4”. One setup does it all, just like it does with a lock miter bit.

The only time you would make any change to the setup would be to move the fence back if you were doing a rabbeted cut on the drawer front. If I were doing that, I’d do my basic setup, make all of the cuts on the front, back and sides. I’d then set the fence back to whatever amount I needed for the rabbet and run the drawer fronts through a second time. The bit height never changes.

I have the same Freud bit that the OP is using. It should have less tear out due to its large diameter compared to the drawer lock bit that Whiteside and others sell. I’ve had no problem with mine on plywood. One trick is to spin the bit a little faster than you might spin another bit of that diameter, and to feed the board slowly, particularly the drawer side since, as has been mentioned earlier, slicing across the face grain of plywood is not ideal.

I did a detailed blog post a while back about setting up a lock miter bit and locking down the numbers so that future setups could be done without trial and error. The same concept applies here, but only to the fence setting. I have found that with the Freud 99-240 you will get good results by setting the bit height to 0.390”, regardless of board thickness, and the distance from the tip of the cutter to the fence set to the side thickness divided by two plus 0.06”.

That is:

Where T = thickness of the drawer side
F = the distance from the tip of the bit to the fence

use F = (T/2) + 0.06

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

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