22 Sep Rockler Beadlock Pro Jig Offers Easy Floating Tenons
Chopping traditional mortises is a lot of fun if you have the time. But for production work, it can be a time-consuming and thus an expensive way to go. Enter the floating mortise, which can take the form of biscuits, dowels, splines or even square stock. Several systems have been developed including the Festool Domino, but there’s another one that has been around for a long time, doesn’t cost much and only requires a jig and a drill. The Beadlock system from Rockler looks like several dowels stuck together edge to edge and it has been updated with the introduction of a new Pro jig. This offers woodworkers an extremely strong joint that is both easy and economical to make.
The system uses shop-made or factory-made wood tenon stock. From the manufacturer, it comes in three thicknesses (1/4”, 3/8” and 1/2”), and in 12” long strips or in pre-cut lengths of 1-1/2”, 2” and 2-1/2” respectively.
The system is elegant in its simplicity. The basic jig (item BDL7892, $79.99) comes with the 3/8” drilling guide. To use it, just mark the center, clamp the jig in place and then drill out the mortise. That’s done in two steps. There’s a sliding 3-hole guide that is locked in the A position to drill the first three holes, and then slid sideways to the B position to drill the last two overlapping holes.
The new jig includes a 3/8” drill bit, a 3/8” stop collar and a molded plastic case with added space in case you want to add the 1/4” and 1/2” options later on. There’s an optional router bit (item 31318, $69.99) for making your own tenon stock on a router table, and now there’s a new spacer kit (item 50917, $19.99) that lets one center the jig on stock up to 4-1/8” thick. If you’d like more info, Rob Johnstone, the editor of Woodworker’s Journal, demonstrates the new Beadlock jig on YouTube™.