CMT Tool Company's new Enlock joinery system provides the woodworker with another option in his quest for making quick, simple joinery. Enlock is a system of routing dovetail slots into stock, then locking the joints in place with their patented two piece dovetail key.
When I hear the word dovetail, I immediately go into panic mode because I only use my jig occassionally and the set-up time always takes longer than the actual construction. CMT is competing with biscuit, pocket hole and dowel joinery, so I figured it would be a system that's easy to use.
The main component of the system is the aluminum CMT-Enlock1 jig, which looks and operates like an abbreviated dovetail fixture. Its top plate has only one slot for routing with the board held in place below with a cam-lock clamping rail. Routing of stock is done with CMT's pattern style carbide dovetail bit.
The key to the system
Joints are assembled by inserting the bowtie shaped "key" into two adjoining dovetail slots and hammering a two-pronged cap into it. The key expands when assembled; tightening the joint so no clamping is required.
In setting the Enlock1 up for use, the only critical adjustment is setting the height of the dovetail bit since that affects the width of cut. I hit it exact on the second try. The jig's top plate is then adjusted to your stock thickness. With that done, stock is clamped in place flush with the top plate's underside, matching the jigs centerline with your workpiece layout line. You can also use the Enlock1's built in scale and adjustable stop system.
For a "T" type assembly the rails are clamped vertically and the stiles are clamped horizontally using an included extension arm. In making a face frame, I used two dovetail keys on each joint. I found that two keys at a joint and a little glue added made for an incredibly strong, immobile bond.
Overall the CMT Enlock1 performed as advertised and it adds another tool to my joinery arsenal. The system sells for $299 and uses two key sizes, Enlock10 for 5/8 to 7/8 inch thickness and Enlock15 for 7/8 to 1-3/8 inch. For more information visit www.cmtusa.com.
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