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biscuit joiner?

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Forum topic by dmoney posted 1560 days ago 1663 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dmoney

191 posts in 1706 days


1560 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question biscuit joiner

ok there are 4 reviews of biscuit joiners in the review section but I know there are probably more out there.

I think I might really use one for miters and tabletop making, do you guys use yours a lot?
I’m also pretty tight with my money but I might be willing to shell out $200 or so for one if I will use it a lot.

Is the porter-cable 557 the best in the home workshop price range?
could I get by with a ryobi or freud or the craftsman thats on sears.com for $80?

what do you guys think?

-- Derek, Iowa


21 replies so far

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1701 days


#1 posted 1560 days ago

My opinion on biscuit joiners has changed over the years. I used to use one a lot, but now I only use it in certain situations.

I’m convinced that if you are gluing up boards side to side and you have good clean, flat surfaces a biscuit adds no additional strength. This would apply to tabletops.

There are only 2 situations where I use biscuits now – If I am gluing end grain to something or, in some situations the biscuits can help with alignment. Gluing up miter joints is one place where the alignment benefits of a biscuit can help. OTOH – there are other ways to “skin this cat”.

If you are starting out and just beginning to acquire tools I think there are better ways to spend your money.

Just my opinion.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View ClayandNancy's profile

ClayandNancy

479 posts in 1642 days


#2 posted 1560 days ago

I love biscuits, not for strengthening the joint but for the alignment aspect. We built a new home 5 yrs ago and I used them on all the trim for the windows and doors, worked like a charm.

View Sawdust4Blood's profile

Sawdust4Blood

347 posts in 1648 days


#3 posted 1560 days ago

Like Rich, I used to use mine a lot but now I haven’t touched it in months. I glue up solid wood panels edge grain to edge grain without any other reinforcement. I agree that two well jointed edges glued to each other appear to be just as strong as the wood itself. I also now find it’s easier for me to align panel boards to each other without the biscuit. About the only place I use mine now is to glue the edge of plywood to solid wood.

if I had it to do all over again, I would have spent the $150 elsewhere.

Greg

-- Greg, Severn MD

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knotscott

5418 posts in 2002 days


#4 posted 1560 days ago

I had a DW682k for several years. It’s a well tool, but I found myself using biscuits less and less over time. I tend to use pocket holes instead. On the rare occasions I do use biscuits, I cut a slot with the router.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1859 days


#5 posted 1560 days ago

I have the Ryobi, and it works great for alignment of panels when doing glue ups, but honestly, I use my pocket hole jig more…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View hazbro's profile

hazbro

109 posts in 1617 days


#6 posted 1560 days ago

I’ve got the porter cable and have no complaints. I use it a ton, because I do glue hardwood to plywood regularly.

but, hardwood to hardwood, not much. I do different joinery or just glue by itself. I didn’t believe that the glue was stronger than the wood until I took a hammer to some off cuts. The wood gave way but not the glue every time.

-- measure once, keep cuttin' til it fits

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1701 days


#7 posted 1560 days ago

I do very little with plywood but I would agree that if I was gluing plywood along the edges I would use biscuits. OTOH – why would anyone glue plywood along the edges?

btw – If you have followed the evolution of the New Yankee Workshop you may have noticed that, at one time, Norm was very pro-biscuit. However, in the last few years he has really downplayed the use of biscuits.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View miserybob's profile

miserybob

88 posts in 1671 days


#8 posted 1560 days ago

You know, I didn’t LOVE my 557. It was a nice tool, but I didn’t really like the weird grip or the overly complicated fence system (which eventually broke). I like my Makita a little better, but I don’t use it all that much. YMMV.

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

448 posts in 1632 days


#9 posted 1560 days ago

I have a Virutex. Works about the same as any. Use it for alignment of parts more than strength but it is handy. I wouldn’t spend a bunch on one if I had to do it over. I think I have seen them (Pc or ryobi, makita etc) on Craigslist for $40, $60 . Virutex, at the time, was one of the only ones around, Lamello was another. I think mine cost almost $200.00.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View nailbanger2's profile

nailbanger2

958 posts in 1770 days


#10 posted 1559 days ago

dmoney, don’t waste your money on a ryobi. I’ve got one, and then I got the porter cable. As a matter of fact, if you want the ryobi, i’ll give you mine .

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View dmoney's profile

dmoney

191 posts in 1706 days


#11 posted 1559 days ago

sounds like most of you could live without a biscuit joiner. Based on your opinions, I won’t be getting one. thanks!

-- Derek, Iowa

View dmoney's profile

dmoney

191 posts in 1706 days


#12 posted 1559 days ago

also the reason i was thinking about getting one was because I see Norm use one on NYW fairly regularly.

-- Derek, Iowa

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3725 posts in 2290 days


#13 posted 1559 days ago

I have a DeWalt DW682k … wouldn’t part with it. I don’t use it on every project, but anytime I am gluing panels, I use biscuits for alignment. As Rich pointed out, biscuits don’t add strength (in most cases the glue is actually stronger than the wood), but the biscuits keep joints from slipping while you are clamping your panel.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Chase's profile

Chase

448 posts in 1653 days


#14 posted 1559 days ago

I just got a 557 a few weeks ago for my birthday. I am not super experienced with it, but I do a lot of smaller projects including picture frames. the FF biscuit capabilities makes this guy pretty nice. I was able to do a pretty solid set of frames that were well aligned because of this little guy. It all comes down to what you want to do and how you want to do it.

-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.

View kennyd's profile

kennyd

99 posts in 1627 days


#15 posted 1559 days ago

I thought I wanted a biscuit joiner for edges and miters a while back but instead decided to try splines. Mostly because I’m cheap and had other uses for the money but also because I had plenty of scrap wood around and the splines were easy enough to make and did the job well. Just my .02.

-- Kenny... The man who needs a tool he doesn't have is already paying for it.

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