Countertop connector jig
It is not an attractive joint but it can be very useful when parts have to be assembled on site.
I recently had the challenge of making cabinets for a ninety-foot yacht. The cabinets were larger than the actual door into the room. This meant that everything had to be knocked down and assembled on site and I needed to find something to hold the joints together tightly, once the cabinets were assembled. For this, I used a countertop connector jig.
Countertop connector jig
Router and jigs are positioned to make the cut
Tighten the countertop connector bolt with wrench.
A stained piece with an unstained piece to show how tight the joint is. The joint is now hidden on the other side.
Before I get to the connector jig itself, I want to take a look at the template guide, which is one of the most useful attachments for making this, or other jigs, with the router. The template guide attaches to the auxiliary sub-base of your router, usually with a nut (see Lead photo).
One important aspect of the template guide and the auxiliary sub-base is the sizes they will take. If you plan on using your router with many different jigs then, when you are looking for a router, look for one that accepts universal hole sizing. Of course, if your router does not have universal sizing, you can still use the jig, but it will mean that you have to get the template guide custom machined at a local machine shop. You can avoid this expense in the long run by buying a router with universal hole sizing and universal templates.
Universal hole sizing will give you the greatest versatility in using jigs from a variety of sources.
The template guide rides against your jig. It is worth noting that the same operation can be performed using a bearing on a router bit. Although the bearing router bit works well, I prefer using a template guide because the router bit requires dedicated bits, whereas the template guide allows the use of different bits. Note that the cost of standard straight router bits (used with the template guide) is less than the cost of bearing guided router bits. This is an important factor if you are doing a lot of cuts and replacing bits frequently. What I enjoy most about template guides is using them with my own jigs. There are many operations you can make jigs for, including siding dovetails, mortising butt hinges and inlay work jigs.
Making The Countertop Connector Jig
Now lets take a look at the countertop connector jig.
Check on a mitre under your kitchen countertop and you will probably see this cut. It helps to hold the joint together. It is not an attractive joint but it can be very useful when parts have to be assembled on site.
To make the jig, cut the slot with your jig saw, so that the slot is the same size as your template guide.
Use a 1/2” router bit to a 7/16” depth. Do both mating parts. Countertop connectors are available at your local hardware store.
You will be most impressed with the tight joints you can achieve with this jig.