The manuals I've seen for (cheaper) furniture refers to a cam nut and a cam bolt. Examples of them can be seen for purchase on Amazon.

I've recently decided I'd like to build my own desk and believe these would be a good means to allow future disassembly of the desk.

Is there a reason to not use cam nuts/bolts in my own furniture? I'm surprised how little info I'm finding on DIY'ing with them.

And what tool would I use to drill the hole for the cam nut?

  • 4
    my advice is to design your desk to be screwed together, skipping the cam nuts, which are intended for assemble-at-home furniture that will be put together once by people with essentially no handyman skills. if you are building the desk, even if it is your first furniture project, then you are far beyond that. It is more difficult to design and build furniture that is both sturdy, disassemble-able, and won't beg for another design/build iteration ... especially if you enjoy the design/build process, which is nearly the only reason to not use store-bought.
    – mike
    Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 4:26
  • You may want to consider using pocket screws. They are an inexpensive alternative. The most expensive part is the initial cost of the jig, which is reasonable. The joints are relatively strong as long as you also use a good wood glue along with it. Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 13:17

3 Answers 3


A frequently used bit is a Forstner style bit, which drills (nearly) flat bottomed holes. enter image description here.

For the smaller sizes (< 1/2 inch, <13mm) , a brad point bit is also usable and also (nearly) flat bottomed. enter image description here

Because these bits are minimally guided by a central drill point, use in a drill press is recommended (to prevent sideways drift). Careful use freehand can also work. Go slowly at the start, until the full circumference is inscribed, then higher pressure can be used.


Cam nuts / "knock-down furniture" will not be as sturdy as permanent joints and will be a little trickier to construct, since the alignment needs to be just right and there's not as much opportunity to correct errors.

However, being able to easily disassemble the furniture may be a very real benefit, especially if the piece is large or you intend to move it frequently.

You should be careful to design the item so that there is not too much stress on the cam lock joint itself. E.g. if you're building a desk, you do not want the legs held in place by a single cam lock joint. You might consider using screws for the more important joints and then just using the cam-locks to keep the larger pieces together. (If you're building a desk with drawers on the left and right side, each drawer unit could be assembled permanently and then connected to the table top with cam locks.)


You'd want to use a spade bit of the appropriate size for the nut. While not completely necessary, using a drill press will help get a consistent depth and angle.

If you will need to disassemble your furniture then they are a good choice but definitely not as strong as a permanent joint.

  • 1
    you'll also want a dowel for alignment if there is going to be sheer stress on the joint Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 1:13
  • Wont a spade bit possibly cut deeper than I want it to, also leave very rough edges? Commented Aug 26, 2013 at 1:24

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