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Dovetail drawer machine10/20
I am considering purchase of a dovetail drawer machine. the Omec 650-M and the Cantek JDT-65 are the two manual machines I am looking at. Does anyone out there have and use either of these machines? What would be the difference between them? Opinions? (not interested in outsourcing)
I looked at both of those machines for quite some time. I ended up getting a Grizzly GO611X.
Had a small issue with one of the pneumatic clamps not being square and let them know. They sent me a new one and didn't require me to send the old one back.
Other than that I am very pleased with the operation of the machine. Hardest part was the initial setup. After that all you do is put blanks in and take parts out.
I have the OMEC version. Love it! Only issue I have is getting the small bit of blowout on the one end controlled to an acceptable tiny bit, sharp bits take care of most of that. I also modified mine to have a blast of air triggered when I quit the cycle and ready to change parts on the horizontal table. The dust collection port on the front carriage seems a little small to really grab all the chips being thrown around. My normal run of drawers ranges from 1 or 2 up to 100 at a time. Used to use a porter cable jig, that really doesn't compare to the production you can put out with one of these. Now I wish I had the automatic CNC version!
I bought the Cantek 65 3 years ago, they have my YouTube video I took of the first time I ran it on the Akhurst Machinery website.
For a smaller shop like ours, that manufactures several hundred wood boxes a year, it is a great fit. Once set up it has proven itself a great machine. Only mod I did was purchase a diamond PCD bit for it from Royce/Ayr as we sometimes make Baltic birch boxes as well and the carbide doesn’t last as long.
The clamps are excellent. The machine is solid and has kept its adjustment.
I believe the Olmec equivalent is pretty much operationally the same. I looked at a used one but went with the Cantek as I have several of their machines in the shop (planer, jointer, wide belt sander, shaper and edge banner), all have been excellent.
I've probably done about 100 baltic birch drawers with my carbide bit so far. I haven't detected any real dulling of the bit so far, it's the original that came with the machine. Most of the drawers are larger than 4" so extra time on the bit.
I run my machine left to right so I climb cut. I find this works much better on the baltic birch. Last set of drawers I did was Maple, worked just as well, no inkling of dulling yet.
I did buy an extra bit with my machine, an A23 ECCENTRIC HM DOVETAIL BIT, CANJDT75
I am still waffling on a purchase. At this point I don't offer them and am able to sell what I currently make. I did ask a contractor yesterday if his clients were interested. His response "Why, they just cost more and you can't see them anyway". I suppose that is a point. My thought was to use plywood to keep my labor time less than processing solid wood.
I basically make only Baltic Birch drawers. I actually like the look of the plys, especially in the dovetails.
When using plywood the processing is very quick for parts. A 4" or a 12" tall drawer takes the same amount of time for the blanks.
Plus the plywood is usually flatter than a pc of solid might be, not always though.
I don't even bother making any other type of drawer anymore because it's just quicker to do the dovetails. When I was using a router and a dovetail jig I would offer a lock joint because it was quicker to make than dovetails. But you needed to clamp the drawers together, I never used nails.
With the dovetail drawer you just bang them together with a mallet and a board with a bit of glue and it's assembled. No need for clamps if you have your machine set up for snug dovetails.
If you make your own drawers, and you make enough of them that you dread taking out the dovetail jig, get the machine. You'll pull your hair out while you are setting it up, but after that it's just inserting blanks and removing parts.
What is the minimum with of drawer you can make with this machine and be able to hold the parts for cutting?
Narrowest I've done on my machine is 3 3/8". It says it can go down to about 2 1/4" which would be two pins/sockets.
Leo, I meant width of drawer not height. sometimes I am forced into making 9" cabinets (euro) with drawers (7 1/2" inside of cabinet opening). they might not get dovetail in the situation.
I don't have a real world answer for you. The specs on my machine say 7 7/8" minimum stock length. I'm betting you can get it down to 7 1/2" without a struggle. My machine is setup right now, when I go in tomorrow I'll see if I can remember to stick a short pc in there to see what the minimum length is in real world.
It also said 59" max length when in reality it is indefinite. Just as long as the blank doesn't hit your ceiling.
We have the same machine Leo has. We make 50 or so boxes a month and have had the machine for 6 years or so. We use solid wood, either ash or maple, for the boxes.
I know we have made boxes small enough that we had to use narrow front clips for the Blum slides. I am sure that those drawers were less than 7 1/2" wide.
Curious, why use Ash for the drawers? Never thought to use ash.
Ash is readily available in my area, and machines nicely.
Thanks. I figured it'd be a bit grainy for a smooth finish.
Bruce, before you commit to buying a machine for this I would consider outsourcing dovetails and have them come in pre-finished with the clips attached.
I thought about that Joe. This project requires 16 drawers 4" tall, 18" wide and 21" deep. I got a quote for $1850.00 for these, finished, hardware and freight extra. I am interested in providing the drawer style but not at this cost. Outsourcing seems like a PIA. My normal drawers are Meta Box/Tandem Box. Currently I don't outsource anything which allows me complete control over the final product.
I can provide a doweled drawer which would function the same as a dovetailed drawer but doesn't have the same "sidewalk familiarity" you can't see the construction.
Im with Joe on this one. Outsource. Find someone willing to charge you a reasonable price. Lots of suppliers out there.
For drawers the size you mention, we pay about $50cdn per drawer, or $800cdn for your order. They are local to us and deliver in about 10 days.
Check www.eliaswoodwork.com. We used to buy from them and they were very competitive.
The machines you are considering are good machines. If you actually look at them they are all most identical. The omec is european and the cantech is from taiwan maybe china and is a copy of the omec. Some people are so worried about cost that they will put up with less machine in order to say they"saved money" while the quality of a european machine can almost never be questioned. The real question is how much and how long are you really going to use that machine? If you really are going to make a lot of dove tail drawers than you will regret not getting a automatic machine but if you are going to occasionally use it (once twice or so a month) than the manual will serve you fine. I purchased a grizzly GO611X (taiwanese knock off) and have been totally satisfied with it. When I need a box THIS AFTERNOON I have it (try that with outsourcing). I always suggest buying the best machine you can afford especially on machines that are your bread and butter but on ones like dovetails sometimes its ok to get a little bit cheap and spend it on something that you will use a lot more.