Lock Miter joint

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Forum topic by daveintexas posted 05-24-2008 08:49 PM 7336 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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365 posts in 4352 days

05-24-2008 08:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lock miter legs router splines

Disregarding using a lock miter router bit, does anyone have a technique for making this joint?
I would like to make some 3” square legs using 3/4” thick material. I have not had much luck ripping 45 degrees and then trying to get the angles to stay in place during glue up.
Would splines work in this case?


8 replies so far

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4220 days

#1 posted 05-24-2008 10:08 PM

Splines would work. Also, you can cut most of the waste on your table saw, then use a 45 degree router bit to finish of the angle. Cut your miters and you’re set. I use the plastic wrap for packaging to “clamp” my square pieces.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4275 days

#2 posted 05-25-2008 12:59 AM

buying aset of lock miter bits can help also. They are a trick to set up, but once you have it… you are good to go

-- making sawdust....

View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4372 days

#3 posted 05-25-2008 03:01 PM

Dave – I’m with Tenontim. The package tape works great. Tape the outsides and roll it into a box and away you go. Little to no slipping with this method. And once taped, if you still want to clamp it for extra pressure you can.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View jcees's profile


1077 posts in 4275 days

#4 posted 05-25-2008 03:34 PM

I’ve used splines, biscuits and lock mitres. They all work. Lock miters have a spline built in and are really meant for long grain thus they’re perfect for making strong legs. Buy a high quality bit, you won’t be disappointed. Work up some test pieces and once you have the settings MAKE A SETUP GAUGE out of your test pieces. This will make it a cinch to setup the next time. And if you have more money than time, you can buy setup gauges for the lock miter bit here…

Good luck.


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View stanley2's profile


354 posts in 4271 days

#5 posted 05-25-2008 03:48 PM

Don’t know why you don’t want to use a lock mitre but but to each his own. Without one I would set my saw at just a tad over 45 degrees (45.1) to avoid an opening on the outside of the joint. I would use splines. I would also oversize the width of the board and run the leg thru the drum sander when glued up to final size. The result should be closed tight joints. But the lock mitre bit looks after all the precautions needed otherwise.

-- Phil in British Columbia

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4220 days

#6 posted 05-25-2008 08:14 PM

Dave, I forgot to add, if you use the lock miter bit, set your fence on your router table to take the wood away a little at a time. If you try it all at one, especially with hard wood, it’s going to tear out all over the place.

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4351 days

#7 posted 05-25-2008 08:39 PM

Here’s an instructional video on the miter lock system.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4456 days

#8 posted 05-26-2008 04:11 PM

Hi Dave;

I posted a blog;

which I hope will help with your question.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

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