Making a Quicker Connection

New joinery options to save setup, milling and assembly time
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Kreg has introduced the Pocket Hole Jig 320 with two drill guides that can be used individually, as a pair or with a spacer between.

Kreg has introduced the Pocket Hole Jig 320 with two drill guides that can be used individually, as a pair or with a spacer between.

Joinery has evolved quite a bit over the last few years, mostly in response to the need for RTA in outsourcing. Woodshops must have an efficient way to transform a flat-packed pallet of parts into a kitchen of casework. The evolution is also the result of advances in CNCs such as improved and stronger aggregate heads, more widespread access to fourth and fifth axes, and better software. These changes have made it easier to mill holes, pockets and recesses for specific hardware in places other than just the top face.

Shops looking to automate more of the assembly process have a number of options available. Ironically, one of the best choices now might be to have somebody else do the work. For example, Lockdowel (lockdowel.com) has created a new cabinet component provider’s web page where shops can hook up with outsourcing suppliers. These larger shops will deliver components that already have pre-inserted Lockdowel fasteners. But most shops also need to make joints in-house, and there are many new options for that.

The new Ixconnect SC 8/60 spreading connector from Häfele America (hafele.com) is a good example. This is a dowel-like, one-piece connector for wood thicknesses over 15mm (5/8”). It is essentially a concealed application, where the parts each receive an 8mm hole and then one part requires a separate 6mm hole for the Allen key that’s used to spread and secure the device. That small hole, usually inside a cabinet, can be concealed with optional white plastic caps. The SC 8/60 can also be used as a cabinet connector for large furniture items. It offers quick and easy installation and a separable connection.

 Mafell’s DuoDoweler DDF 40

 Mafell’s DuoDoweler DDF 40

The Irish manufacturer OVVO (ovvotech.com) has a couple of new invisible push-in connectors, one of which has two self-locking dowel shaped pins with standard 32mm centers. The connector’s simple design makes for easy insertion by the end user, which means that a subcontractor or even a homeowner can assemble the casework onsite. One nice aspect of these connectors is that the minimum material thickness is just 15mm (0.6”). OVVO’s other new connector was designed primarily for nesting, where its round body fits in a standard 25mm drill hole. These devices require no tools, screws or glue and are available in both permanent and releasable options. They have already won acclaim in the European market, earning the High Product Quality Award at Interzum in 2019. OVVO is quickly becoming a mainstream option in North America, and now partners with Alphacam, Cabinet Vision, Cabinet Sense, Mozaik and Top Solid Wood software, along with a number of CNC manufacturers including Biesse.

The new TD330 through dovetail jig from Leigh Industries (leightools.com) is a relatively quick and easy to use option for shops that are building drawers one at a time. It can be used with a portable router or a router table, and will create classic through dovetails in boards up to 12-7/8” (327mm) wide.

Dowels

It seems there will always be contemporary advances on this oldest of joints. The updated DuoDoweler DDF 40 tool from the German manufacturer Mafell (ddf40.mafell.de/en) will drill two perfectly positioned dowel holes at a time, and it has the look and feel of a biscuit jointer. In addition to furniture builders, it’s also popular with timber framers on the jobsite. It has a new ergonomic design for easy handling, and is ideal for corner joints, edge joinery and milling rows of holes. Intelligent accessories can turn it into a multi-purpose machine. For example, a variety of stops and fences eliminate the need for a template, or even marking the work. The company has posted several videos on its website, and Timberwolf Tools in Chicago (timberwolftools.com) is a U.S. dealer.

OVVO’s new push-in connectors

OVVO’s new push-in connectors

Paul Knapp of Knapp Connectors (knappconnectors.com) told Woodshop News in mid-April about a new connector for RTA cabinets that the company will launch sometime in the next few weeks. Called the Quick-Set, it’s a simple and efficient two-part locking dowel that includes a threaded metal stud and a plastic sleeve. It’s self-tightening and invisible, and it can be inserted into standard boreholes and used immediately without having to employ clamps or wait for glue to dry. There are four sizes available and they allow shops to quickly and easily assemble RTA cabinets and closet systems on or off-site. Quick-Set can also be used for drawer boxes, shelving, and bookcases. The metal stud offers an advantage over wooden dowels in that its shear strength is extremely high.

The Fastenlink (fastenlink.com) joinery system uses unique plastic dowels that have flutes along its length and a groove cut all the way around near the top and bottom. The grooves create shoulders, and this allows the head to slide into a tapered cut in the work and click into the locked position. Fastenlink now works with EnVision software so that Weinig and Holz-Her equipment can be used. It also works with Weeke, Koch, Omal, Biesse and Gannomat drill and dowel machines, plus software from a wide range of publishers.

The new Quickfit TL5 dowel from Titus (titusplus.com) has an expanding steel sleeve that creates high resistance to torsion and pull-out. The cam always locks at the same position, which helps repeatability.

Biscuits, brass and more

Colonial Saw (csaw.com) has posted a new video that recommends using Lamello P-System connectors to attach face frames invisibly. Popping into place with just a little hand pressure, these connectors require no glue, alignment, clamping or nail holes filling. The Tenso P-14 works in standard materials, and the new Tenso P-10 is a better choice to join beveled or mitered connections in material as thin as 9/16th (13mm).

Rockler (rocklere.com) is now offering a series of E-Z Knife threaded inserts in brass and stainless steel that can be used to create knock-down furniture.

Leigh’s TD330 through dovetail jig.

Leigh’s TD330 through dovetail jig.

One of the most annoying aspects of the global economy is that materials from such a wide supply chain can lack uniformity. That’s especially tiresome when sheet stock varies in thickness. New Jersey based toolmaker Charles G.G. Schmidt & Co. (cggschmidt.net) has introduced a 180mm diameter by 1-1/4” bore adjustable groover (model IG660A) that can be set anywhere from 4mm to 7.5mm. It’s infinitely adjustable within that range with a turn of the dial. The company says that there’s no quicker way to match material thickness and create perfect dado, groove or rabbet joints.

Raptor Nails and Staples (raptornails.com) offers a way to connect parts that may need to be machined. The company’s plastic composite nails and staples can be safely machined with carbide tooling, plus they don’t rust and bond like glue. Red Hawk Fasteners (redhawkfasteners.com) also offers composite fasteners, and the company says that they are perfect for use with woodworking adhesives to provide a temporary hold until the adhesive cures. Both Raptor and Red Hawk products can be safely used to fasten work to a CNC spoil-board while milling joinery.

The new Striplox Griplox No. 20 biscuit from JoinLox (joinlox.com) is a plastic biscuit that will never lose its shape, and its innovative spikes offer a very secure grip.

Hafele’ s SC 8/60 spreading connector

Hafele’ s SC 8/60 spreading connector

Quickfit TL5 dowell from Titus

Quickfit TL5 dowell from Titus

Pocket screws

A new jig from Kreg Tools (kregtool.com) works with materials between 1/2” and 1-1/2” thick. The Pocket Hole Jig 320 has two drill guides, a removable spacer and adjustable stops. The guides can be used individually to drill one hole, clipped together to drill two close holes, or clipped with a spacer between to drill spaced pairs of holes.

Castle Inc. (castleusa.com) of Petaluma, Calif. has introduced its own brand of Torx panhead pocket screws, available in 1-1/4” and 1-1/2” lengths.

Shops looking for joinery screws might also want to take a look at Richelieu Hardware’s (richelieu.com) three new wood screws, which it sells under the brand name PWR Drive. The individual models are named HYBRID, CAB and WMX Premium, and they perfectly set the head with no pre-drilling.

Drawers made easy

Building dovetailed drawers can eat up project time, so a more efficient approach might be to buy in drawer bodies. The new Nova Pro Scala from Grass America (grassusa.com) is an update on the popular Nova Pro. Described as “a timeless, futuristic design”, it is slim and quite elegant and comes in a variety of colors including Silver, Ice, and Stone. Heights range from about 2-1/2” to 9-3/4” (metric sizing). Scala is a complete system that offers everything necessary for drawer building, and it delivers smooth movement thanks to the time-proven Nova Pro slide with load ratings from 88 lbs. to 154 lbs. It also has smooth composite nails and staples can be safely machined with carbide tooling, plus they don’t rust and bond like glue. Red Hawk Fasteners (redhawkfasteners.com) also offers composite fasteners, and the company says that they are perfect for use with woodworking adhesives to provide a temporary hold until the adhesive cures. Both Raptor and Red Hawk products can be safely used to fasten work to a CNC spoil-board while milling joinery.

The new Striplox Griplox No. 20 biscuit from JoinLox (joinlox.com) is a plastic biscuit that will never lose its shape, and its innovative spikes offer a very secure grip.

Rockler’s E-Z Knife threaded insert kits.

Rockler’s E-Z Knife threaded insert kits.

Pocket screws

A new jig from Kreg Tools (kregtool.com) works with materials between 1/2” and 1-1/2” thick. The Pocket Hole Jig 320 has two drill guides, a removable spacer and adjustable stops. The guides can be used individually to drill one hole, clipped together to drill two close holes, or clipped with a spacer between to drill spaced pairs of holes.

Castle Inc. (castleusa.com) of Petaluma, Calif. has introduced its own brand of Torx panhead pocket screws, available in 1-1/4” and 1-1/2” lengths.

Shops looking for joinery screws might also want to take a look at Richelieu Hardware’s (richelieu.com) three new wood screws, which it sells under the brand name PWR Drive. The individual models are named HYBRID, CAB and WMX Premium, and they perfectly set the head with no pre-drilling.

Drawers made easy

Building dovetailed drawers can eat up project time, so a more efficient approach might be to buy in drawer bodies. The new Nova Pro Scala from Grass America (grassusa.com) is an update on the popular Nova Pro. Described as “a timeless, futuristic design”, it is slim and quite elegant and comes in a variety of colors including Silver, Ice, and Stone. Heights range from about 2-1/2” to 9-3/4” (metric sizing). Scala is a complete system that offers everything necessary for drawer building, and it delivers smooth movement thanks to the time-proven Nova Pro slide with load ratings from 88 lbs. to 154 lbs. It also has smooth closing action with new soft-close technology and low opening forces, plus installation is easy.

Knapp’s Quick-Set, a two-part locking dowel.

Knapp’s Quick-Set, a two-part locking dowel.

Another option is the Flowbox system from Samet (www.samet.com.tr), which lets a woodshop customize the design using wide choices in colors, materials, side height options and decorative covers. Now the company has improved the drawer side height options, so shops can choose between 58mm (2.28”) and 192mm (7.6”), which is the outer side panel height including slides. In all, Samet offers six different families of drawer box systems. Headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey, Samet drawer products and hinges are sold in the U.S. by most major hardware suppliers.

Shops using the Legrabox drawer systems from Blum (blum.com) might like to take a look at the company’s new line of thin fronts. Adding pizzazz to sleek kitchen designs, they take advantage of an attachment system that’s based on Blum’s Expando technology. A steel pull-in anchor grabs harder materials, while plastic jaws secure softer materials. Assembly is simple and the drawer front materials can be as thin as 8-14 mm (0.315” to 0.55”). 

This article originally appeared in the June 2020 issue.

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