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Discussion Starter #1
I really, in one way anyway, hate to open this can f worms again, but, what the heck, nobody has to read the darn thing.

I'm back to the issue of "miter lock bit set up again". The good news is that I am finally well enough to get the shop cleaned up enough to spend some quality time out there. Man, does that ever feel great by the way.

I decided yesterday to once and for all to conquer the set up issue for the bit. I worked for several hours yesterday on the problem but still did not get the results that I wanted. Was back in the shop early this morning, kept puttering with the set up until about noon.

I finally phoned my neighbor who has never failed me, but he has never tried to set up a miter lock bit. It is now four in the afternoon, my buddy gave up and went home. He could not get any closer than I had gotten. He remarked when he left that he knows now that he would never buy one of those bits. By the way, he has good vision, I had thought that it was my vision that was giving me problems, but, heck, I can see well enough to do the set up using the gauge for all the good that had done me.

We used the Infinity gauge and while we got close and tried again and again to tweak our results, we never could get a perfect cut that I wanted.

Certainly I was close enough for most of my work before I asked my buddy for help, but I wanted "perfection" and have not gotten it yet. When I do get it perfect, maybe I should say, if I ever get in perfect, I will record the settings on the carriage on the LS 17" carriage so that the fence can be set back to the correct setting. Then I think that I can cut a piece of material that is the length equal to the distance from the top edge of the tall zero clearance fence to the top of the bit. This should allow me to return the height of the bit to its' proper height.

The height of the bit would be set first and the fence setting second.

So far, and until I get the setting right, and can try it, this concept is "marveliously philosophical" as so many of my ideas have been.

Now dear reader, you may be wondering how much erroer I am concerned with eliminating. I'm talking about the fit of the edges of the two piece being mis-matched by, perhaps, and I;m guessing now as I type this, about .020". I am positive or almost positive that others that are familiar with the miter lock bit can and do get their set up "perfect". If you, dear readed, sarcasm intented, have any tips that this old man might use, they would be greatly excepted.

In the past, I have been using the miter lock bit with setting that are close but not absolutely perfect. After glueing them up, I simply sanded the error away.

So far, nobody has yet taken a magnifying glass and examined the joints on a finished project, I only have one finished project in whch I have used the miter lock bit.

I will say that I did get a little bit of satisfaction when my friend couldn't do any better than I had been getting.

I suppose that I to critical, but I just know that the set up should be such that it is correct. We had one cut with one set up that was about as perfect as anybody would want, but the problem was that the material used was .735" thick and not the .750" that we were shooting for. When we made the cuts on the .750" material using the set up that had cut the .735" so well, the cut was once again off. This just shows me how critical the settings can be.

O.k., it's now five in the afternoon and I have not had a bite to eat all day, I'm pretty much over my rant if you want to call it that, I just had to write this and get it out of my system. I'll probably be back in the shop early in the morning puttering with the blessed thing again.

Jerry
 

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Jerry:

I'm with you on this struggle and I'm not sure we're alone.

I have the Freud bit and the attached show the basic instructions for bit height and fence position if you're using 1/2" stock. I've found this setup gets one close but I've not achieved the tolerances you're seeking. One of the issues I've found is related to minor variations in the thickness of standard stock. I've yet to drop back to planing it myself. It's also an issue if you are thinking of using different width stock for the sides vs front and back.

Rockler offers an acrylic block which is supposed to facilitate set up of their bit but it will only work for theirs. On that basis however once I do get the bit set satisfactorily I do plan to cut a pattern block as well.

Hopefully we'll get some comments on this.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Jerry:

I'm with you on this struggle and I'm not sure we're alone.

I have the Freud bit and the attached show the basic instructions for bit height and fence position if you're using 1/2" stock. I've found this setup gets one close but I've not achieved the tolerances you're seeking. One of the issues I've found is related to minor variations in the thickness of standard stock. I've yet to drop back to planing it myself. It's also an issue if you are thinking of using different width stock for the sides vs front and back.

Rockler offers an acrylic block which is supposed to facilitate set up of their bit but it will only work for theirs. On that basis however once I do get the bit set satisfactorily I do plan to cut a pattern block as well.

Hopefully we'll get some comments on this.

Jon,
Infinity offers set up blocks too but, before I mess with them I'm going to talk to them and ask if I might be asking to much of the bit. It may be that perfection is just a matter of chance after you get as close as the gauge and/or a set up block will allow one to get.

Let's wait and see what other responds we get, we not get any, but I suppose that a few will chime in.

Jerry
 

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Jerry:

I look forward to your update on the blocks. I have checked several times on Freud's site for the same and it doesn't appear to be of interest to them.

I'm sure we'll get a comment or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
For anybody following this thread, try this concept. First, as I am seeing things this morning, the problem is that when doing the set up of the miter lock bit, a person is trying to set both the fence and bit at the same time which is almost impossible to do.

Here is what I'm thinking now. What if only one setting is made at a time. By this I mean for example, setting the bit height first. Start with the gauge and get the settings in the ball park.

Next, cut two pieces of stock with their faces flat on the router table, when these two parts are fitted together horizontally their faces should be flush to each other, if they are not, then the height of the bit needs to be tweaked and test cuts made until the faces are perfectly flush to each other.

Next, make a test vertical cut with the face of the work piece against the fence and test the fit, it probably will not be correct, but what this tells you, I think anyway, is that the existing error is due to the fence not being set correctly and it needs to be tweaked until the fit is correct. This means that more test cuts need to be be made after each new adjustment of the fence until the fit is is correct, I'll try the idea this morning and get post the results, At this point the idea is beginning to make lots of sense to me, I hope that I'm right.

Unfortunately, for me anyway, so many times what seems to be a good idea does not prove out to be so and I have to gack to the drawing board. I suspect that this happens to lots of us.

Jerry
 

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Which bit are we discussing...? Manufacturer...?
 

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The Infinity bit Nick.
Thanks, Jerry...I ask because I keep returning to an interest to buy one but keep walking away from it. Instead, I have been bitten by the "Splining Bug"...

Is it possible that the variations in wood size might be the culprit...? Since the bit references from the inside face there is always room for error when assembling reference to the outside face. For example, if you're vertical and horizontal pieces are .020 off, it will be reflected on the visible face rather than the inside.

I watched several videos where the bit was set up to cut just along the outside visible edge rather than the inside face...the speaker had to sneak up on it. That would account for a better cut but would never satisfy your repeatability requirement...it seems a new setup would be required each and every time.

Do you plane your boards to the exact width or, like me, use store bought 3/4"...? With the store bought I always need to consider the outside even though the inside rides on the table...hazard of not having a planer...

...just thinkin' out loud...good luck with this...anxiously watching for your report...
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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I have never achieved perfection in anything. Getting close is usually good enough for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
O.K., here we go, I don't know how some of the readers are going to take this but, I'm going to say it anyway.

By now, most people know that I'm a Christian so what I'm going to say will not shock you so much. What I described above about an idea of setting up the miter lock bit came to me only after asking God to show me what to do as I was, as you can tell from the start of this thread, "rather frustrated".

Well, I went to the shop to try the idea, and it worked so well and I'm so excited to tell the members of the forum about it I can hardly wait.

Right now, I can take any thickness of material as long as it is between 3/8" and 3/4" which are the limits of the Infinity bit and do the set up. I don't need a guage I don't need to measure the thickness of the stock and I can get a "PERFECT" set up every time fairly quick. It's so easy that I can't believe it.

Here's what you do, set the bit's height and the position of the fence to look approximately right, don't have to measure anything, you can take some test cuts to see if you are in the ball park, as I said, don't worry about the thickness of the material it makes no difference, has nothing to do with anything unless it is important for your project.

Next make two cuts with the face of the stock flat on the router table and cut them stock so that you have two pieces with the same cut in them and put them together edge to edges with the cuts in them, and most likely the faces of the two pieces won't be flush. However, by looking at the error you can tell if the bit needs to go up or down. Make a guess ta mate adjustment and another set of test cuts, keep cutting and adjusting until the two parts will fit together with both top and and bottom flush with each other. When they are flush, the bit's height is now correct. It took me about three test cuts to get the setting of the height of the bit so that the pieces fit flush with each other.

Next, make a test cut with the face of a workpiece against the fence and try it one one of the pieces that was cut and fit so that the bit's height was correct. When you put that piece with the cut made with it's face against the fence together with one of pieces that you just cut to adjust the height of the bit, you will probably have error, but any error that exists is due to the fence not being set right. So adjust the fence again, just guessing at it and make more test cuts, it won't take very many test cuts until you will find the right setting and have that "PERFECT" fit that we all want to make with our miter lock bits.

Let me know if you understand this or not, if you don't, I'll try to explain it better.

One happy camper,

Jerry
 

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Sommerfeld has a gadget called an EasySet, which is a star shaped device about 6 inches across, that is for setting up bits. They make one for their own bits, and another (red color) for Freud bits. What makes them work is that you measure the thickness of the stock, then dial that thickness in on the jig, then fit the bit to the jig. I don't know whether it will fit your bit or not, but you can check out what other bits each fits at his site, www.Sommerfeldtools.conm.

I also have this bit in another brand, but I've read so many troubles using it that I'm just using the table saw to join drawers.
 

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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
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Thanks for the how-to, Jerry. I'm curious, does the Incra system help you get back to the correct setup if you have moved the fence or do you have to go through the process again?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks, Jerry...I ask because I keep returning to an interest to buy one but keep walking away from it. Instead, I have been bitten by the "Splining Bug"...

Is it possible that the variations in wood size might be the culprit...? Since the bit references from the inside face there is always room for error when assembling reference to the outside face. For example, if you're vertical and horizontal pieces are .020 off, it will be reflected on the visible face rather than the inside.

I watched several videos where the bit was set up to cut just along the outside visible edge rather than the inside face...the speaker had to sneak up on it. That would account for a better cut but would never satisfy your repeatability requirement...it seems a new setup would be required each and every time.

Do you plane your boards to the exact width or, like me, use store bought 3/4"...? With the store bought I always need to consider the outside even though the inside rides on the table...hazard of not having a planer...

...just thinkin' out loud...good luck with this...anxiously watching for your report...


Nick,
I do mill my wood to get it flat and/or square. I had looked on line at several ideas of how to do the set up of the bit and they pretty much boggled my mind.

What I found this morning makes the set just plain "Duck Soup" It's as easy as falling off of a log as the sayng goes.

In regard to the splines, I use them quite a bit. I cut the slots with a slot cutter on the router table and the splines on the band saw, they work expecially well for me when putting workpieces together for the lids of cedar chests. This is not to imply that I have made a lot of cedar chests, I have only completed one and and am working on the second one.

It was when I got to the construction of the corner styles that needed to be fit together with the miter lock cuts that got me onto figuring out how to set the bit to get it right.

I'm not nearly smart enough to follow the instructions that I see and read about on the web, I need something "simple", and it appears to me anyway that I have found it.

A little off subject, but have you done any racing recently with your sail boat. I assume that you are the same Nick that I talked to about the subject, if not, please excuse me.

Jerry
 

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Jerry...just remembered another video where the gentleman used an auxiliary fence that rides (like a sled) on his fence and clamps the vertical piece to that fence. This then allows registration of the piece to the bit on the surface of the plate and it "hangs" rather than riding on the surface of the table. The video doesn't show a whole lot about setting up but the fence might help if you're having problems with the vertical piece...


...every lil bit helps, I suppose...
 

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A little off subject, but have you done any racing recently with your sail boat. I assume that you are the same Nick that I talked to about the subject, if not, please excuse me.

Jerry
Yes, same Nick...and unfortunately, no, did not race at all last year...I barely had enough time to get the boat out.

I'm hoping I get more time this year...several of my powerboat friends want to participate in local regattas...might just have to accommodate if I get the time...thanks for asking...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Jerry...just remembered another video where the gentleman used an auxiliary fence that rides (like a sled) on his fence and clamps the vertical piece to that fence. This then allows registration of the piece to the bit on the surface of the plate and it "hangs" rather than riding on the surface of the table. The video doesn't show a whole lot about setting up but the fence might help if you're having problems with the vertical piece...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By1z-AI9PhU

...every lil bit helps, I suppose...

I believe that I had watched this video before and had caused me to to try what he is doing. I could see a great advantage for making end grain cuts which are a real challenge for me so far.

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the how-to, Jerry. I'm curious, does the Incra system help you get back to the correct setup if you have moved the fence or do you have to go through the process again?

Oliver,

Yes, it would, but the way I have described, why bother. Due to the differences in the hardness of different species of wood, you would probably have to tweak the set up anyway so why not just go through drill that I described. It doesn't take any longer than having to tweak from a previous setting or the use of a set of set up blocks. I might add that if you are not very particular the use of previous settings, or a gauge, or set up block will probably work just fine. As I said at the beginning of this thread, I wanted to see if I do the set up to get as close to perfect as possible which in reality may not be necessary. It is just something that I wanted to try.

Jerry

Jerry
 

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I often wonder how crafters did precision work with wood and hand tools. Can't help you with your question as I have a habit of making things worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Jerry...just remembered another video where the gentleman used an auxiliary fence that rides (like a sled) on his fence and clamps the vertical piece to that fence. This then allows registration of the piece to the bit on the surface of the plate and it "hangs" rather than riding on the surface of the table. The video doesn't show a whole lot about setting up but the fence might help if you're having problems with the vertical piece...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By1z-AI9PhU


...every lil bit helps, I suppose...

This is a good video. The method that the man uses to make micro adjustments forward and rearward of his fence is nice. The Incra LS system does the same thing but, in my judgement, is a tad better but as long as what he has works for him, what else would he want.

The Incra uses the micro adjust to advance the fence in increments of .001" and works without the two adjustment rods that are shown in the video. I like his set up, it's just different.

His video is what gave me the idea of the sliding upper fence for end grain cuts. I was about to start on making the addition to my fence when I had my heart problem. I was going and will try to do it in a different fashion however. If you notice, the way he has his fence he has to keep the clamped workpiece that he is cutting held down hard against the table and obviously it works just fine.

What I have in mind is to make the sliding part that the work piece clamps to in a way that it cannot go in an upward direction and will not requird my holding the every things downward. So far, it's just an idea in my head and I hope that it works when I get to it.

The man is correct about the miter lock bit set up, sure wish I could tell him what I am trying to explain on this thread. He puts emphasis on the importantance of the set up, but how to do it.

Anyway, it's a great video.

By the way, so far my need for the miter lock set up has been for the corner styles of the cedar chest, and I have not needed to do the end grain cuts.

Jerry

I
 

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Height Guage to the Rescue

Richard Babbitt wrote an extensive article in the March/April 2011 "Fine Woodworking", 'Dial In Set-ups with a Height Guage'. One part deals with using the guage with lock miter bits.

I used the method two or three times and found it accurate, quick to set up but not easy to understand. You may need to follow the directions step-be-mini-step. But if precision is what you want to three decimal places, and if you have your equipment set up to three decimal places, it may be the method you'tr looking for.
 
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