I’m building cabinets for under my bench. I’m following the ‘plans’ provided and they call for splines and slots.
From the plans:
So, I spent the better part of a day routing out 1/4” deep 1/8” slots in 3/4” birch ply which mates up with some rock maple edging with corresponding slots. I’m thinking ”Hey, this is going to look really cool, birch and maple.” Got the splines cut and started dry assembly only to discover that the router slot wasn’t as ‘clean’ as I’d like. There was a little wandering in the ply and it isn’t going to ‘match up’ and not just a little spot, but more than I care to sand down.
How the heck did that happen? I thought for sure I held that router steady and took my time, yet it turned out lousy!!
After reading here I figured that a biscuit joiner was the way to go. So, off to the local big box to see what they have. I looked at the PC 557 $219! Dang that’s expensive, but you get 2 blades and 7 settings. Ryobi has one for $100, but it has only 3 settings. Huh? Looked at the Freud from Italy $125 – they make great blades, 5 yr warr… Dewalt $199…? Decisions, decisions…
This ‘trip’ took about 3 hours, because HD carries ‘X’ and Lowes carries ‘Y’. Back and forth to 3 stores in total because Lowes #1 was out, so off to #2 only to learn they were too. (Makes me wonder if they are having cash flow issues not having inventory?) Finally fed up with the run around, I returned to HD and got the PC 557. It was only $20 more than the Dewalt.
I haven’t used it yet, but plan to tomorrow. I’m attempting to ‘save’ the material I’ve slotted by gluing splines in and will trim them to size before using the PC 557. Wish me luck! I’ll take some pictures of the progress.
What I’ve learned – if you want a professional job – splines and slots are not the way to go. Also, check the contents of the purchase! I went home and opened my new tool only to discover that someone took the 4” blade. In fact, it looked as if they used the tool (or swapped their old one?) because it was dirty. I returned it for a ‘new’ machine. Look for a black wire tie locking the case from the factory – if it’s broken/missing make sure you check contents. The new box had one.
The gal assured me they check the returns, but seriously, how many folks would actually check for the blade? Apparently, none.
-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I