Lamello’s Zeta is a Knockout Tool for Knock-Down Furniture
Except for beds, most U.S. woodworkers don’t dabble in knock-down hardware to build itinerant furniture. Instead, we leave that to the Europeans and IKEA, who’ve mastered the art.
Now Swiss tool maker Lamello has introduced a tool in the U.S. that makes knockdown furniture a breeze. Called the Zeta, Lamello’s machine operates like a biscuit joiner to cut slots for the company’s specialty knock-down fasteners, the Clamex P connectors. It’s a nifty tool that just might make you rethink knock-down furniture.
The Zeta is heavier than most biscuit joiners I’ve used, and that weight took some getting used to, especially when holding the tool vertically. But it works as easily as a biscuit joiner. Use tick marks to lay out the connector locations in the mating parts, align the center mark on the Zeta’s base plate with the layout marks, and start cutting. When you’ve reached the full depth of the slot, the Zeta kicks into oscillating mode, moving the special T-shaped cutter up and down to form a T-shaped slot that will hold one half of the Clamex P connector.
The two-part Clamex P connector is joined with a metal, cam-action lever turned with a hex wrench. To gain access to the lever, you need to drill a hole in one part using an included jig.
I build a small plywood box with the Zeta and Clamex P connectors and was surprised by the ease of assembly and by the strength of the system. It was able to hold up well against my girth, and there was no racking. I could see it working with knock-down desks, bookcases, maybe even for shop cabinetry. The Zeta machine also can be used as a standard biscuit joiner. You simply have to replace the T-slot cutter with a standard biscuit cutter (not included).
The engineering marvels of the machine and ease of its use, however, are severely offset by the cost of the system (hold your breath!): $1,400 for the Zeta and all the tools needed to get started (including the T-slot cutter). The reusable connectors will set you back a few more bills: 18 pairs go for $55; 80 pairs cost $170.
You can check out the Zeta and the Clamex P system at AWFS this July, where Lamello will be demonstrating the products (Booth#8104).
The machine makes a T-shaped slot, using an oscillating cutter.
The two-part Clamex P connectors slide into the T-shaped slots.
The system comes with a jig to drill access holes for the cam levers. The jig fits snug in the slots.
The system comes with a properly sized drill bit and stop collar to set the depth.
Just slip in all the connectors, being sure to orient the cam lever's hex bolt in line with the access hole.
The Clamex P connectors join via a metal cam lever that is turned with a hex wrench.
Use the supplied hex wrench to loosen or tighten the connectors. With the system, furniture assembly and disassembly is easy and quick.
Lamello's Zeta machine is designed to cut slots for their Clamex P connectors, a knock-down joinery system.