LumberJocks

Biscuits vs. Hardboard Splines

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by dvhart posted 08-15-2010 02:16 AM 2978 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View dvhart's profile

dvhart

111 posts in 2477 days


08-15-2010 02:16 AM

I’m preparing to build a sewing desk/cabinet for my wife. The plans call for a hardboard spline to attach a hardwood edge to each side of the various table panels. I’ve been using biscuits for my cabinet construction and am comfortable with them and already have the tools/accessories needed to use them. Will biscuits spaced every 6” provide adequate alignment and strength, or should I stick to the spline in the plan?

-- Darren


17 replies so far

View ABrown's profile

ABrown

102 posts in 2372 days


#1 posted 08-15-2010 02:30 AM

The biscuits should do just fine, I myself have grown quite attached to pocket holes and screws if it’s in a area where it isn’t seen.

View Moron's profile

Moron

5032 posts in 3355 days


#2 posted 08-15-2010 02:39 AM

biscuts will work just fine

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2633 posts in 2570 days


#3 posted 08-15-2010 03:18 AM

The spline is like “belts and suspenders” as we say at work. Either one would hold your trousers up, but you’re guaranteed they won’t fall if you use both. You can rout for the spline with a slotting bit, if you really want to do that, but it really isn’t necessary…unless someone REALLY leans on that sewing table. I’m thinking the material doesn’t weigh that much.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View dvhart's profile

dvhart

111 posts in 2477 days


#4 posted 08-15-2010 03:53 AM

Thanks guys. My thought was that the spline might do a better job with alignment during the glue up stage and possibly reduce the amount of scraping/sanding I have to do. I’m not terribly concerned about strength as I have a lot of confidence in the biscuits.

-- Darren

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2312 days


#5 posted 08-15-2010 04:02 AM

What are the “table panels”? Plywood?

Assuming you were on the proverbial desert island without the Interwebs, you’d try all three on scrap, let them cure, and then see what it takes to break them. I think you might be surprised how well glue works without added stuff.

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2405 posts in 2387 days


#6 posted 08-15-2010 04:27 AM

I like biscuits (and gravy)...

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View dvhart's profile

dvhart

111 posts in 2477 days


#7 posted 08-15-2010 04:30 AM

@Lee: The panels are 3/4” cherry veneer plywood. And I agree about a proper glue joint. As I said above, I’m concerned about the relative effectiveness of the alignment each method provides. I think either will be plenty strong.

-- Darren

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 3134 days


#8 posted 08-15-2010 04:40 AM

Biscuits will be good enough.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2312 days


#9 posted 08-15-2010 07:47 PM

Thanks for the additional info, Darren. Would it be easier to align if you used just glue, no mechanical alignment technique like splines or biscuits?

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View dvhart's profile

dvhart

111 posts in 2477 days


#10 posted 08-15-2010 09:42 PM

In my experience, there is always some variation in natural materials. The spline and the biscuits help adjust for that in the joint, rather than in clamping techniques. I find it easier to use some sort of alignment mechanism for these applications.

-- Darren

View tnwood's profile

tnwood

249 posts in 2548 days


#11 posted 08-15-2010 10:22 PM

If you look at the Project I just posted you will see a sewing machine cabinet I just finished; probably from the same plan you are using. I used biscuits about every foot. It isn’t going anywhere.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2312 days


#12 posted 08-15-2010 10:40 PM

Thanks tnwood; that helps me understand the issue. I think biscuits are a good choice here, given the width of the solid stock edging. I was thinking it was much smaller than that.

My experience in general is that splines particularly, and biscuits occasionally, don’t give me the precision I want (and I use a Lamello Top 20) in aligning two surfaces. Using just a glue joint, and walking the clamping out from the center, usually does.

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4541 posts in 2536 days


#13 posted 08-15-2010 10:49 PM

If you do a good job of gluing and clamping, you probably don’t need biscuits or splines. However, I find biscuits can help with alignment. Splines will also, but biscuits are usually easier.

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

View dvhart's profile

dvhart

111 posts in 2477 days


#14 posted 08-16-2010 12:08 AM

@tnwood: indeed, it is the same plan (yours turned out beautiful btw).
All, thanks for the thoughts and comments, biscuits it is – and I’ll shoot for every 12 instead of every 6 per tnwood’s example – should make the glue up all that much easier.

-- Darren

View tnwood's profile

tnwood

249 posts in 2548 days


#15 posted 08-16-2010 02:40 PM

While I do use biscuits for alignment purposes, I also sometimes have difficulty with getting them properly in place. I have an old Porter Cable biscuit cutter that isn’t very stable. The good thing is that when something gets mis-cut it is hidden and I can leave the biscuit out or fill the bad cut and recut it. I’m not a big fan of these things but occasionally they help with alignment but I don’t think they contribute much to strength. For the most part I just get a good glue joint fit and adjust things as I glue up in the clamps.

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com