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Thread: Does anyone use biscuit joiners anymore?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Western Oregon
    Posts
    458

    Does anyone use biscuit joiners anymore?

    And, if so, for what specific application(s) do you feel they are the best method of joinery?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    154
    A couple maybe three years ago I got the hots for a biscuit joiner and bought one.
    When I told my buddy he said if I knew you wanted one I would have given you mine.
    I asked why he would just give it to me and he said he used it once and didn't see any reason to use it again.
    I used mine on two projects and put it back in the carrying bag and it's been there ever since.
    It didn't really help alignment all that much on edge glue ups for me and it didn't seem like sufficient strength to substitute for any normal joinery techniques.
    It's odd that this was posted because just the other day I was thinking about trying to use it on something again....LOL

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
    Posts
    5,610
    I have a biscuit joiner and I find that it is quite useful when making wide boards out of 3/4" thick boards.
    I would not be without it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Providence, RI
    Posts
    241
    This past summer I rebuilt our front porch and did not want to face nail the floor boards, so I used InvisiFast biscuit-style concealed fasteners. I used my biscuit joiner to cut slots in the 5/4 meranti. Otherwise, since I got a Domino, not much use for biscuits in furniture.
    -- Jim

    Mr. Natural sez, "Use the right tool for the job."

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Bell View Post
    And, if so, for what specific application(s) do you feel they are the best method of joinery?
    I used mine once or twice (for picture framing kind of work), and then never used it. It was sold after sitting on the shelf for years; I felt lucky I was able to recover more than half of the price I paid for after all these years! You don't need anything for edge to edge jointing other than glue and clamps (plus shop-made cauls in some cases) as long as the edges are proper prepared.

    If you are thinking of buying one, save your money for something else. If your needs are in furniture joinery, the Domino joiner is the way to go (worth every cent of its price if you do a lot of projects).

    Simon

  6. #6
    like any of these questions it depends what you do,. ive had two Lamelloes second one just start fresh with a new one. Been used tons over the years.

  7. #7
    I use mine (a 20 year old Makita) pretty frequently when laminating boards on edge for alignment, particularly long and wide panels like desk or table tops. For shorter glue ups, I find that just clamps are usually OK, but on anything long, the boards tend to be a little out of flat with each other, especially if they have sat for more than a day. I know you are supposed to fit and glue the boards immediately after milling them, but life doesn't always work out that way.

    I don't tend to use it for joinery, except maybe for all plywood construction to reinforce butt joints. Not my favorite type of construction, but it has its uses.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    8,294
    Corners of mitered cabinet doors.
    Registering panels of cabinets for glue-up.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    In the foothills of the Sandia Mountains
    Posts
    14,567
    I use mine whenever I'm edge gluing 3 or more boards together. It helps me to keep everything aligned.
    Please help support the Creek.

    If your car could travel at the speed of light, would your headlights work? - Steven Wright

  10. #10
    Hi,
    The system of biscuit joinery was invented in Europe by Lamello, and outside of pro shops, I have found that it is not well understood in the US market. For example, a great many people seem to think that biscuit joinery is primarily intended to aid alignment and strength in edge to edge joints such as panel glue-ups. While biscuits "can" be used in this application, it's not where they are designed to excel. Where they excel is in corner joints, especially when joining composite materials. To support this point, have a look at this video that Lamello made and you will see several operations demonstrated - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IecEPB64TgU
    What you won't see is a demonstration of an edge to edge joint.

    Unfortunately, there are some very poor sloppy biscuit machines on the market which may have contributed to the negative bias in America. Also, some manufacturers of the biscuits themselves have quality control issues which is why I recommend buying only Lamello biscuits. As a big fan of biscuit joinery, I sprang for a Lamello and have never regretted it. I have always heard the DeWalt and PC machines are decent.

    Biscuit joinery can be taken to a whole new level if you look up a FWW article by Michael Fortune where he demonstrates how to mount the machine to a custom little table thus turning it into a stationary machine. If you do this, it improves the accuracy and opens up a lot of applications.
    I've made more drawers than I can remember using 1/2" baltic birch mitered at the corners and reinforced with biscuits. Never had one come apart.

    All this said, whether you should get one or not depends on the kind of work you intend to do. Also there are always numerous ways to do most operations in woodworking, so sometimes it's a just a matter of personal preference.
    I hope this info is helpful
    Edwin
    Last edited by Edwin Santos; 10-10-2018 at 4:52 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Camas, Wa
    Posts
    3,503
    I have the Porter Cable 557 and the Ryobi mini(r1,r2,r3) I use them all the time. I am currently using them for attaching face frames to cabinets. I also love them for picture frames and angled joints on stuff like hollow columns. I had a Domino and wasn't impressed so I sold it. To each his own.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,316
    I have a DeWalt and have built the stationary alignment jig for it. I use biscuits mostly for alignment or where shear strength is needed. If edge to edge gluing panels, I have quit gluing in the biscuits and only use glue on the edges of the boards, because I have had them telegraph their shape to the surface of the panel as the glue completely dried. This happened in two pine table tops. I think there would be less chance of this if the top was made from a hard wood, but I no longer am willing to take the chance. It took almost a month before their shape appeared in the table tops and I had to re-make both.

    Charley

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Griswold Connecticut
    Posts
    5,928
    I have one, given to me by a friend. I too use it to aid in edge alignment during glue ups.
    I have also used it to make plywood step boxes, and simple cabinets. When it is used in plywood construction, it's intended function, it's a pretty great tool to have for the job.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Doylestown, PA
    Posts
    5,646
    My understanding like similar to Edward's, biscuit joinery was intended primarily for sheet goods. I have a Porter Cable and use it where appropriate. There's a technique issue that can affect the fit of biscuit joints, particularly edge to edge. If the machine is not held exactly perpendicular to the work as it's plunged, the slot will be cut at a slight angle and the biscuit, when inserted will be at the same angle. Unless there's a complementary angle cut in the mating piece there'll be a slight ledge where the two pieces meet. When cutting slots in the face of a piece near the edge, there's not much of a bearing surface for the fence. I found that a jointed square 2 X 4 clamped to the face flush with the edge provides more of a bearing surface for the biscuit jointer fence. If I were trying to replace/duplicate mortise & tenon construction a domino would be a much better choice.

  15. #15
    I have a Ryobi mini and use it several times a year.

    Robert

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