Five Top Tips for Finicky Lock Mitering

Five Tips for Finicky Lock Mitering

Five Top Tips for Finicky Lock Mitering

Even at the best of times, the Lock Miter is a tricky joint to master, and I often get requests for tricks to help improve cut quality when using lock miter bits on difficult species of wood or finicky end grain. The Lock Miter bit was originally designed to create box beams, posts, and other long grain projects. However with such a lovely and strong joint the bit has been adopted for many applications beyond it’s original intent. Trial and error is always going to be a factor when working with the lock miter joint, but there are some tricks that can lead to a finished joint more quickly, even in the most difficult pieces.

Slow and steady is best.


1. Slow the bit down
If you are having problems getting a clean cut, always try slowing the bit down first. This helps soften the impact of the bit on the fibers of the wood and can help the bit cut more cleanly. Less impact on the material means reduced vibration and better cuts all around.

2. Use Feather boards!
Use as many feather boards, hold downs, backup blocks, and sacrificial fences held in place with double sided tape as possible. Anything you can do to eliminate vibration and allow for smooth feeding through the cut will help produce the best possible result. The JessEm Clear Cut Stock Guides are far and away the most helpful hold down/feather board I have ever had the pleasure to use and I highly recommend them. You’ll see them in use here alongside the Milescraft feather boards for a rock-solid hold against our fence.

Feather boards, and Stock Guides are your friends


3. Always use a backer block
A backer block is a must whenever routing end grain. The block will support the workpiece at the exit of the cut and greatly help eliminate excessive blowout. This tip helps whenever routing or cutting end grain, not just when creating lock miter joints.

4. Chamfer away the waste
There isn’t a lot of waste that can be removed before the lock miter bit does it’s work, but every little bit helps. Lock miter bits cut on a 45° so making a clean chamfer cut and removing as much waste as possible before the lock miter cut is made can help ease the work that the bit must do. A Chamfer Router Bit can do the job perfectly.

Chamfer away as much waste as possible.


5. Dampen the End grain.
Using solvent or even water to dampen the end grain before routing can help soften the fibers and improve the cut quality. When all else fails, this trick combined with the others can make the difference between completing a tricky project or having it end up in the scrap bin.

Damp end grain can help soften the fibers when all else fails.


Bonus Tip.
The trickiest part of making perfect lock miters is setting up the bit in the first place. Our Lock Miter Master Setup Jigs helps eliminate much of the guesswork and confusion that is associated with this wonderful joinery bit. If you have not seen the Lock Miter Master Jig in action, take a look at our “Gettin Jiggy Wit It” blog post. I’m sure it will help dis-spell some of the mystery that goes along with using the lock miter bit. Good luck and happy lock mitering!

You’re Going To Greek Out Over Rikon’s 12″ Disk Sander!

The Ancient Greeks are credited for creating the earliest form of the disk sander… some might say.

Some may be aware that the earliest known hand planes originated in Ancient Greece during the bronze age, but many don’t know that the Greeks were the early inventors of the disk sander! For the first Olympics a woodworker is reported to have donated the disk from his sander for use in the track and field discus event …ok, that my not be entirely accurate but the disk sander is an extremely helpful tool that has its place in every shop. The Greeks called it a discus sander. Continue reading

Rikon Dust Collectors Really Suck!


Shop vac making your ears bleed? Rikon’s 1hp dust collector is a whisper quiet helper that keeps your shop free of sawdust.


Rikon’s Air Filtration System will keep the air in your shop healthy and dust free.

Let’s get two facts straight; dust control is the biggest battle we fight in the wood shop and your lungs are NOT dust filters. It doesn’t matter if your shop is a one car garage or a 10,000 square foot professional cabinet shop, you need good dust protection every time you turn on a machine. Fortunately, Rikon have a couple dust weapons that really suck – to help you win the battle over dust. Continue reading

Hock 5″ Chef’s Knife Kit – More Than A Great Gift Idea!


The Hock 5″ Chef’s Knife kit includes all the metal you’ll need. You supply the handle and some elbow grease.

Hock tools has an awesome Chef’s Knife Kit that allows you to make your own custom handled 5″ long kitchen knife. Anyone with some basic tools can tackle this project and the end result will really amaze you. In just a few hours you’ll make a custom high quality knife while finally using those small pieces of scrap stock you’ve been collecting for just this occasion. Did we mention this knife kit also makes one of the best gifts for anyone that enjoys cooking?

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Saving Face & Lungs – Two Safety Products You Should Be Using!


The Dust Bee Gone mask will keep your lungs free of dust and keep you comfortable as well.


Save a little face with one of our super comfortable face shields. ANSI & CSA approved.

One of the inescapable truths while woodworking is that there is always debris and dust, neither of which are good for you. Most of the time it’s small particulate you breathe in but sometimes it’s also part of the tool you are using to do the cutting. That’s why it’s always wise to wear your safety equipment, the more protective, the better. The Dust Bee Gone Mask and our Polycarbonate Face Shields are exciting new safety products we think every woodworker should have (and use) in their shop. Not only do they offer impressive safety credentials, they’re the most comfortable safety accessories we’ve ever worn while woodworking.

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Designed By Woodworkers, For Woodworkers


Rikon makes a pair of mean 14″ bandsaws, sporting enough re-saw capacity to make any woodworker proud.

If I was forced to get rid of all my power tools except one, my bandsaw would be the last tool standing. I don’t think I have built a project without using it since I brought it home. I sometimes catch myself fantasizing about getting another bandsaw to keep it company. I think you get the idea, I love my bandsaw. If you don’t have a bandsaw, or just don’t love your machine as much as I love mine, I suggest you take a close look at these two 14″ Rikon bandsaws.  Continue reading

The Tale Of A Comet II


The Nova Comet II Midi Lathe delivers more features then the competition at a price point that is out of this universe!

Woodturning is one of those hobbies that once you give it a spin you never look back. Maybe it has something to do with instant gratification and a touch of pragmatism. Most furniture build projects can take weeks, months, or even years to complete and the material list can be pricey. A wood turner on the other hand, can transform a chunk of what would be considered scrap wood into a lovely bowl or platter in as little as an hour. Pen turning is a good example, take a cut-off from your scrap bin and turn yourself pen that you can be using to write with the very same day. Heck you can incorporate turning into your furniture by making legs, knobs, pulls or any number of other decorative items. If this sounds like fun, it might be time to take the Nova Comet II for a spin. Continue reading

Shake A Cope And Stick At It – Infinity’s Insert-Pro Cutter Set!

Infinity Tools Insert Pro Router Bits

Infinity’s exclusive Insert Pro router bits are clearly focused on making all your other cabinet door bits obsolete.

If you’ve ever looked for a set of router bits for making cabinet doors you know there are a lot of choices. You might say there are more choices than you can shake a cope and stick at. There are reversible bits that you have to disassemble, matched sets that you have to change in and out, and prices varying from dirt cheap to crazy expensive. The cheap stuff will leave you wondering if they’ll even make it through the job.

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A Template That Won’t Put a ‘Hole’ in Your Wallet


Have you ever struggled to make a hole in a project because you didn’t have a big enough drill bit? Heck even if you did have a huge bit was the hole clean, accurate, and burn free? Whenever we need to make large holes here in the Wood Lab we reach for our Circle and Radius Cutting Template.

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Making the Leap Into Instrument Making

IMAG0080I always tell people woodworking is in my blood. Many of my family members were woodworkers of some form or another. Not only that, quite a few were musicians as well. To top it all off my last name is Gibson. Looking back it all makes sense that I would want to build instruments. Even though I didn’t get the chance to spend a lot of time with my woodworking family members growing up, I have always been drawn to the wood shop and had the desire to make things with my hands. Continue reading