Any recommendations on ready-to-assemble (RTA) fasteners and RTA methods for solid wood furniture that are high end? We will make armoires on a CNC router.
Usually when I think of RTA, I think of low end Ikea kind of stuff - rickety, MDF, farticleboard, etc. So I want to find hardware or methods that have a nice high end fit and feel. We want to be able to ship old European style armoires, entertainment centers, home office units that Mrs. Smith in Peoria can assemble with little Johnny's help holding the other end of the board. Fast, easy, but when it is done, strong and, importantly, high perceived value.
Old French armoires were often made to be taken apart, moved and reassembled - drive out the tenon pegs, interior ball bolts, etc. What is available now to speed the process?
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor C:
I agree. High end and RTA in same sentence is unfitting. The only thing I can tell you is Hettich has specialized in fasteners since the company's birth (from what I am told). So if there is such a fastener, I would try them first.
The new Clamex P element can be produced on a CNC machine as part of your normal processing, requires no screws or tools to insert, and only an allen wrench to secure. Mrs. Smith should love it next to the rail bolts she had to use to assemble Johnnie's bunk bed. It is brand new and was a finalist for the Challengers Award at IWF this year.
How strong are they? For example, could they be used in place of bed bolts?
Has anyone reading this ever used them? Would appreciate machining and install feedback, as well as product assembly feedback.
On the bed application, what if the bed rail also had (above or below) a 1/2" dowel for extra shear? This way the Clamex P would mostly provide the horizontal pull strength. Very excited about the possibilities with this fastener.
My general rule is if it's easy to tighten, it's easy to loosen. Threads over cams. Avoid press fit. Remember, a lot of Ikea furniture gets a bad rap because people do not assemble well.
I agree that press fit is not the way to go. Clamex is not press fit. It slides into the T-slot groove so the connector is sitting behind a layer of wood, which makes its pull out strength very strong.
And yes, you could add a tenon or dowel to increase the shear strength and still have the advantages of shipping flat, assembling on site, and disassembling if necessary.
What I would propose is a new product for additional applications - Clamex-HD or something that would be bigger by a little, especially deeper - perhaps 30mm deep instead of 14, and perhaps metal. I think this could then find application in additional heavier solid wood furniture applications - bed rails, for example.
Here is a video clip of Will Sampson from Cabinetmaker/FDM Magazine reviewing Clamex-S doing it this way with a Porter Cable biscuit joiner.
So it's not absolutely necessary to buy a Lamello biscuit joiner, but if you're going to use Clamex, it's a lot easier using the dedicated Clamex cutter on a legendary Lamello biscuit joiner.
Also, Lamello has a new version of Clamex as mentioned above in previous posts. Clamex-P does require a special cutter either on a CNC router or a new hand held machine by Lamello called the ZETA. The benefit of Clamex-P is that screws are not required, which saves time. Simply make a slot, drill the key hole with a drill, then slide in the connectors.