Lap joints - Router Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Default Lap joints

I am looking for a way to produce 1/2 lap joints for cabinet face frames quickly, precisely, and reproducible. I was thinking about a CNC router but this is only for my home so I was wondering if there is a solution reasonably priced to do this? I wanted to build or buy something that I can make stops like a miter saw and cut out the face frames. If this has already been posted please just let me know where to look. I really appreciate your help.

Thank you, Walter
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 10:12 PM
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welcome to the forums Walter...

table saw and a dado blade is the fastest way...
shoulder plane for finite fit...

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If only new layers hadn't been added....

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-07-2019, 10:24 PM
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Welcome to the forum Walter.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 12:37 AM
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Welcome Walter. Hope you enjoy your stay.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 07:18 AM
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What made you decide to do lap joints on a face frame? It's going to be more difficult to put in a panel.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 09:17 AM
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Walter welcome to the Router Forums.

A CNC machine is just one more tool to use, just like a table saw, bandsaw, jointer, etc. A CNC could be used to make half-lap joints but would not be the best choice of tools to use.

As Stick pointed out a "table saw and a dado blade is the fastest way...
shoulder plane for finite fit...". This would also be my choice.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 09:26 AM
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Welcome Walter. Can't add to the already good advice, table saw/dado blade and hand plane to finesse the fit if needed. Of course sandpaper will get you there as well, just slower.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 10:23 AM
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Table saw with tenoning jig.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 10:58 AM
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I now make face frams using pocket screws. The secret to me is making the end cuts precisely at 90 degrees. Tightening the screws them pulls the frame perfectly square. I use a Wixey digital angle finder (new one with AAA batteries) to set the blade at precisely 90 degrees.

If I were doing lap joints as you're using them, I'd also use a dado and shoulder plane. Here's a video on making face frame lap joints on a table saw WITHOUT a dado blade. If you have a glue line blade you'll get a pretty flat surface. The method for setting up the actual cut to get a perfect overlap is simple and elegant. This is probably the way to go if budget is an issue.

Theatrical flats are now made using lap joints, and are almost identical to a face frame, but with much wider material, then covered with muslin or a light canvas. The canvas is stretched and shrunk and addes strength and durability so they can be reused for decades. Those joints are made with a router because they are about 4x4 inches in area. The crosscut edges are usually precut with a hand saw to help avoid blowing out the edges of the joint. In a theatrical flat, the joint doesn't have to be as near perfect as it would in a smaller face frame, thus the final fitting with the shoulder plane for a face frame.

Here's a video of making a flat, somewhat similar to what you're doing, but using a router.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-08-2019, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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This is just for the frames of the cabinets. I will try to post a picture of what I built in Florida.
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