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dowel jig or biscuit joiner?

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Forum topic by dmoney posted 11-29-2010 03:53 AM 13223 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dmoney

191 posts in 2540 days


11-29-2010 03:53 AM

Topic tags/keywords: jig dowel doweling biscuit joiner question joining

I’m going to be making some face frames for cabinets and joining some wood for a table top. I would like to join the wood with biscuits or dowels.

I’ve been looking at getting either the porter cable 557 biscuit joiner or this rockler doweling jig.

is the biscuit joiner going to be quicker & easier? or is the doweling jig a better bang for the buck?
what would you guys recommend?

-- Derek, Iowa


29 replies so far

View lew's profile

lew

11335 posts in 3216 days


#1 posted 11-29-2010 03:57 AM

I have and use both the doweling jig and a biscuit joiner.

I think the dowels make a stronger joint but there are time when they are just too difficult to get lined up and/or drilled using the doweling jig. The biscuit joiner is a little more forgiving and easier to use on larger pieces.

Just my 2ยข

Lew

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile

FirehouseWoodworking

685 posts in 2734 days


#2 posted 11-29-2010 04:03 AM

I second what Lew has posted.

There are pros and cons to both, depending upon the situation. Though it might not be faster, dowelling the face frame joints is stronger. But if you’re joining mitered sides to s box and such, the biscuits will reinforce the joint and keep it from slipping while the glue is drying.

The Rockler jig is a good one. I own two Stanley jigs (antiques) that I bought at auctions and wouldn’t trade them for any jig.

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View CryptKeeper's profile

CryptKeeper

132 posts in 2411 days


#3 posted 11-29-2010 04:07 AM

I second lew’s comment with an additional choice. If the joint doesn’t require extra strength a biscuit jointer is the way to go but if you need to re-enforce the joint the dowel is a better choice but can be a pain. Now for a third choice for non-stressed joints I found the pocket hole screws are quick and easy to use.

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View ND2ELK's profile

ND2ELK

13495 posts in 3234 days


#4 posted 11-29-2010 04:16 AM

I used the dowel jig for many years on face frames. Since I got a Kreg jig, I use it on all my face frames now. The only advantage is you do not need to wait for the glue to dry before you remove the clamps. I still glue the joints besides using the screws. I feel the dowel joint on a face frame is stonger than a biscuit joint.

Tom

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Viking's profile

Viking

878 posts in 2656 days


#5 posted 11-29-2010 04:26 AM

Derek;

I agree with Ron. You might consider pocket hole joints for the face frames. We got the Kreg Master System a couple of years ago and that’s all we use for face frames. Way faster than dowels or biscuits and glue is very optional, so no waiting time. The screws are the clamps. We have not gotten our PC biscuit joiner out for over a year.

This would also be excellent for edge gluing boards for a table top.

Think that Kreg has some videos on their web site.

Good Luck!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51452 posts in 2941 days


#6 posted 11-29-2010 04:31 AM

If I were going to use either biscuits or dowels, I would choose biscuits simply because its easier. I have a biscuit jointer, but I have started using the Kreg pocket hole jig for face frames and love it.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View dmoney's profile

dmoney

191 posts in 2540 days


#7 posted 11-29-2010 05:01 AM

might be a newbie question but if you use pocket screws for making the face frames, how would you recommend attaching the face frames to the box?

i remember seeing norm do it with biscuits.

-- Derek, Iowa

View Viking's profile

Viking

878 posts in 2656 days


#8 posted 11-29-2010 05:17 AM

Derek

You can use pocket hole screws for that also and Kreg sell plugs,of various wood types, to fill the holes after you assemble if they are in view.

Yoiu might Google “kreg pocket hole video” and will find loads of stuff there. There are a bunch just on Youtube alone.

Rick

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View jim1953's profile

jim1953

2720 posts in 3302 days


#9 posted 11-29-2010 05:40 AM

I use biscuits and I have Good Luck With Them

-- Jim, Kentucky

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51452 posts in 2941 days


#10 posted 11-29-2010 06:13 AM

Derek,

You can use biscuits to attached the face frame, or another method would be to use brads and glue, or even just glue will work. I usually build the face frame using pocket hole screws, then I use glue and brads to hold the face frame to the cabinet. I use brads simply becaue the brads hold it in place until the glue dries. You could easliy just use glue only. Its not going anywhere.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View CryptKeeper's profile

CryptKeeper

132 posts in 2411 days


#11 posted 11-29-2010 06:15 AM

Derek,
You can use the pocket screws to attach the face frame – with a small caveat. It depends on how you are going to finish the inside of the cabinet and if the pocket will be visible. If the inside of the cabinet is going to be painted or you won’t see the pocket it is a non-issue you can get plugs to match just about any wood. If the area is visible I would use biscuits to attach the face frame to the carcass. Having said that , the last set of closet organizers I built were painted and I used glue and the Kreg pocket screws exclusively.

Edit: Plugs can also be made from hardwood dowels to match when needed.

-- Ron - Any day that I don't learn something new is a wasted day.

View dmoney's profile

dmoney

191 posts in 2540 days


#12 posted 11-29-2010 06:22 AM

thanks for all the help! i have used pocket screws but haven’t been satisfied. i have a kit from wolfcraft but my problem has been that the lip on the screwhead sticks out just a bit higher than the surface of the wood. I really want it to be perfectly smooth and able to be hidden with the plugs.

i may pick up a kreg jig and see if I have better luck with it. it seems to be the big name brand in pocket screws.

-- Derek, Iowa

View Viking's profile

Viking

878 posts in 2656 days


#13 posted 11-29-2010 06:35 AM

Derek;

Many get themselves in trouble with pocket joints in not prepping components prior to assembly. Since the screws are the clamps, if one of the faces you are preparing to join is not square the screw will pull the joint together out of square by same amount.

The Wolfcraft uses similar principals to the Kreg.

Rick

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View dmoney's profile

dmoney

191 posts in 2540 days


#14 posted 11-29-2010 06:43 AM

rick- the joint itself is always fine and square, the problem is the hole that is drilled for the pocket screw.

when i drive in the the screw, just a tiny bit of the lip is always above the surface of the wood so if you try to sand it or run your finger across it you hit that little bit of the panhead lip of the screw. (if that makes any sense) :)

i have the problem with the wolfcraft ones that came with it and some kreg ones that i’ve tried later.

-- Derek, Iowa

View Viking's profile

Viking

878 posts in 2656 days


#15 posted 11-29-2010 06:57 AM

Derek;

We have the Kreg Master Kit and I just checked some pocket screws I did today and they are all well below the surface. Check the drill guide to make sure it is set to material thickness you are using and also check the depth stop on the drill bit for same. We mounted the jig to a large piece of MDF, for stability and portability. Used the Kreg jig and pocket screws to install some 23 3/4” x 33 1/2” plywood shelves today into a miter saw station we are building. We have used the Kreg on material as thin as 1/2” thick with great results.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

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