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Mitre lock cutter owners - how do you do the vertical bit?

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Eric The Viking

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A thread in the For Sale section got me wondering. I too have been thinking about getting a mitre lock cutter, for kitchen/workshop drawers and possibly small boxes (Christmas presents loom!), but I've never used one.

Everywhere they're sold there are usually pretty pictures and diagrams of lovely, beautifully-fitting joints. BUT the penny's just dropped: when you cut the vertically-held side of the joint, you end up running the outfeed side of the workpiece on the arris of the new mitre. That's if you let gravity have free reign.

Doesn't that risk damage to the joint at its most visible/fragile point?

I can imagine clamping on a batten, to run on the top edge of the tall fence, but I'm guessing. And there's also breakout to consider - harder to deal with on the vertical pass, too (clamps everywhere!).

They can't be that awful, as there seem to be loads about, so what's the trick to them, if there is one?

Cheers,

E.
(who likes to look before he leaps)
 

Steve Maskery

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Correct analysis, Eric. But unless you are making packing crates, the weight of the workpiece is tiny and you only have to push forward, not force it down. And whilst you do want your corners to be tight, you don't want them to be razor sharp, anyway.
They produce good results, but they are a pig to set up. I've only done it once, but it was enough!
S
 

RogerP

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They produce good results, but they are a pig to set up. I've only done it once, but it was enough!
The first set-up per wood thickness is the worst. Providing you save a piece you've cut as a template it's much easier next time. I understand some of the more expensive cutters come with templates but I've never had one.

And there's also breakout to consider - harder to deal with on the vertical pass, too (clamps everywhere!).
I use a sacrificial fence or in some cases it's possible to cut the piece slightly oversize and then trim down to lose any breakout.

They do enable fast and strong joints - once you get the hang of them :)
 

Charlie Woody

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There is also the Wealden lock mitre cutter and Ron Fox has done a video of it on the Wealden website. Might be worth comparing the two before buying.
 
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