Do you remember the other day when I talked about some of my recent project blunders and asked about yours? Well, I was ready to do a test fitting of my test drawer.
It turns out that the drawer is something like 1/4″ too wide. I was proud of how close to 16-5/8″ was able to get the front and back panels, which determine the critical inside width measurement. Apparently it was supposed to be around 16-11/32″. So I was off by 9/32″, or a little over 1/4″. Doh! But that’s not what this post is about.
Blum makes a template for drilling the holes needed to attach a drawer to their undermount slides. Each drawer must have two holes in the back panel, one on either side, and it’s best to pre-drill for the front locking clips.
But… Blum’s template is quite pricey, something like $42+. And that doesn’t include the price of bits or collars. Rockler’s JIT IT undermount drilling guide comes with a template, a 6mm brad point drill bit, 2x 2.5mm brad point drill bits, 2 screw collars, and a hex key, for $30.
Adjusting the collars onto the drill bits was easy. Keeping the collar on the 6mm bit was a huge headache. Do you see in the above photo how the collar is fixed on the drill bit towards the smooth round shaft? That’s not where it’s supposed to go – it needs to be placed over the flutes.
I could only get it to lock in crookedly, and it would never stay fixed. Okay, I made it work. In drilling 4 holes it required maybe 6 readjustments.
Okay, onto the angled front locking device screw holes!
Both bits broke, on holes number 2 and 4. But hey, the locking collar stayed put!
I usually have a light touch with smaller bits, so I don’t know what happened. I contacted Rockler (as a customer of course, since I purchased the jig), and they said they’ll send over some replacement bits.
I also ordered some bits from Lee Valley, after the free shipping deadline – doh! – and also some clamping collars from an industrial supplier.
I think I *might* be able to make due with 3/32″ drill bits instead of 2.5mm, or at least I’ll give it a try. 3/32″ is 0.09375″, or around 2.38 mm. The difference between 3/32″ and 2.5 mm is around 0.12 mm, or around 0.00468″ (4.7 mils). Since we’re talking about fractions, that’s a ~1.12/256 difference. So… 3/32″ *should* work.
Lee Valley also carries 2.5mm bits, but they’re out of stock at the moment. They’re also not the same as their special brad point bits, which start at 3mm in metric, but they do have 3/32″ bits.
The Rockler JIG IT itself was okay, but I’ll need a little more practice in positioning it and holding it.
If I had to do it again, I would just spring for the Blum drilling template. After having to buy replacement bits and collars myself – in case the Rockler replacements still give me problems – the difference in cost is just $12. The Blum also looks easier to use.
Oh, and I’ll also be ordering a pin vise, for better holding the smaller bits in my drill. Maybe the longer clearance will help me avoid snapping the smaller its so quickly. Blum offers a 2.5mm extension, but I’m thinking that the pin vise can be used with 2.5 mm or 3/32″ bits equally as well.
Lastly, I realized that 18″ is not a good width for my needs. I was going to have a bank of 24″ drawers, and one of 18″ drawers. Now, I’m separating the two into separate 24″ drawer units, and will use the space between for either my new Sortimo parts organizers, or something similar. Luckily that will work out to around 18″ or so, and so my 18″ 80/20 aluminum framing sections won’t go to waste.
I thought I had planned this drawer workbench quite well, but am finding that I’m either blundering everything up or dealing with unforeseen complications every which way.
I really hate this JIG IT drilling template, but I’m trying to give it another shot. I do have to hand it to Rockler – they stand by their products. This has my first experience with their customer service, and so far it’s been smooth. I have to contact them again soon, as one of my Bandy Clamps has fallen apart (a pin is too loose).
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