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Thread: I forgot how much I hate my biscuit joiner.

  1. #16
    I have an old Lamello Top I got used that is probably as old as I am (34) and still going strong.

    It gets a lot of use, is accurate and I own a Domino 500 which also gets plenty of use.

    A quality made biscuit joiner is a very valuable tool to have around for cabinet making in particular. Solves a lot of joinery “problems” quickly and with appropriate strength and precision.
    Still waters run deep.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    426
    I love my Lamello biscuit joiner. I wish my Domino XL performed as well as the Lamello.

  3. #18
    For small work including face frames I use the Veritas mini bisquits from Lee Valley. The slot is cut with a slotting bit in your router table - precise.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Sterling, Virginia
    Posts
    560
    It has worked well before? It is just a saw and my first suspect would be the blade. Is it caked up with pitch and dust or maybe just finally dull? Try cleaning it off and touch it up with a diamond hone and try it. Good luck

  5. #20
    nearly every detail kevin mentioned also applies to me. in addition to the 557, i also have a dewalt, and i have the fences on each "fixed" - on the 557, i have it set so that the offset between the base and the groove is equal to the fence position and the groove so that i can use either reference. the dewalt is set 3mm higher to give me a 3mm overhang of face frames to the box (something i do with my case construction). the Zeta and domino are used all the time, in different situations. but, the biscuit cutters are easily accessed and constantly used.




    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    I use a biscuit joiner for cabinetwork all the time without the problems you are having. The Porter Cable will do an acceptable job if used correctly.

    I use the fence whenever possible, normally set to a 3/4" gauge block so the dimension from fence to cutter is consistent, and use shims for offsets. When joining face frames to carcasses, I grip the frame in the bench vise so that I can plunge in with the joiner horizontal, carefully registering the fence and front of the machine square to the stock and plunging at a moderate pace with a sharp cutter. The decks are typically 1/32" offset from the inside of the frame so I use a shim under the fence. Any other offsets are handled with an appropriate shim.

    Referencing off the base is used mainly for interior partitions, where the leg of the t is clamped at its location and slots cut in its end and the face of the mating piece. Working off the base for the task you were doing is harder because both the jointer and the workpiece have to be held firmly against a reference surface.

    Like others, I use Lamello biscuits for consistency. I have a Virutex jointer that has served well, but if it gives out before I do it will be replaced with a Lamello Zeta.

    I have a Domino 500 and it is a great machine but it has not replaced my biscuit joiner.

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Western Nebraska
    Posts
    4,339
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Potter View Post

    Last time I used it was ten years ago. Next time NEVER.
    Anybody wanna buy a biscuit joiner?
    That's pretty much how I feel about my Domino 500. buying another Lamello soon though.

  7. #22
    When you dont like a tool, regardless of what it is, your approach will always leave you blaming the tool when all you really have to do is make the choice to change your approach. Junk is of course junk but the PC/Dewalt/Etc are all plenty capable for what they are intended to do. Its one of those things where you unfortunately just have to boil it down to operator error which I do on pretty much a daily basis including right now as Im re-cutting a bunch of parts on the CNC that GIGO blessed me with not completing a bit of stuff for myself this weekend that should have went off without a hitch.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Perth, Australia
    Posts
    8,082
    I have a Domino and a Biscuit Jointer. The DeWalt is used with the fence and the Festool with a Seneca plate.

    Dominos for morticing; biscuits for splines.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek
    Last edited by Derek Cohen; 09-13-2021 at 10:53 AM.

  9. #24
    I have the PC biscuit machine. It has been challenging and some points in this post have been helpful. I am very careful when setting up. I have gotten better results over time but when a problem arises it is always, “hmmm, where did I screw up?”

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Okotoks AB
    Posts
    2,935
    I've had a Lamello for 20 years & I've never been disappointed with it. I've been disappointed in myself for using it improperly from time to time (like cutting into a nail more than once). I won't say it's indispensable, but when building with sheet goods, it's the bee's knees.

  11. #26
    I have an old Skil biscuit joiner. Absolutely terrible fence. Plastic. But the manual suggested making wooden blocks of varying thickness to set the fence with. I made a big set out of scrap and they are incredibly useful for many things around the shop. I have them from 1/8 to at least 1 1/4 by 1/16th of an inch. Setting the fence with the block it works pretty well. But dominos installed with my XL are my go-to aid these days. Even for edge to edge alignment dominos work better than biscuits for me. Some of that is probably just the fact the domino is the newer machine for me.

    Both tools require a smooth steady feed rate. If I rush either, the tool does not work nearly as well.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    496
    Mine is used infrequently, but like other isindispensable for simple 90 degree joinery where the project does not call for dowels or mortise and tenons. Cabinet face frames come to mind. Yes, mine often takes off, so I do have to take care to firmly hold it against the piece and hold the fence down to the piece as well. Left-Right there is some play, so that is good, but Up-Down, there is none, so I set the fence with care and hold it down firmly.
    Regards,

    Tom

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Doylestown, PA
    Posts
    6,653
    I had trouble with alignment when cutting slots where I was resting the fence on the edge of 3/4" plywood. It was too easy to not keep the machine 90* to the work and as a result the slot would be slightly off. The pieces would go together but the alignment would be slightly off due to the biscuits being angled. I took a piece of scrap 2 X 4 and jointed two adjacent faces. Clamp the 2 X 4 to the 3/4" ply and now instead of a 3/4" edge I had a 2+" edge. The machine was not nearly as prone to rocking so slots were accurate.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,739
    I added a piece of 1/4" plywood to the fence of my DeWalt biscuit joiner to enlarge it's surface area. It's about 6" X the width of the joiner. The extended fence gives me more surface area to slide along the surface of my work and help keep the joiner positioned correctly and at 90 deg to the edge of the work. This fence extension is bolted on, so it's easy to remove/replace when necessary. Easy to make and a significant improvement.

    Charley

  15. #30
    I bought a used PC bisquit joiner on CL years ago. Used it a lot at first and then not so much. I would not get rid of it, occasionaly it seems like the best option for a situation.

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