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Forum topic by Floyd Hall posted 02-26-2018 08:16 PM 1411 views 1 time favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Floyd Hall's profile

Floyd Hall

124 posts in 472 days


02-26-2018 08:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig router biscuit joiner

Hi folks,

Trying to decide if I need to go buy a biscuit joiner or if I should just go ahead and try it with a router. I don’t anticipate using a biscuit joiner much, but I do have a job it would be good for right now. Any jigs out there? Any thoughts?

Floyd


32 replies so far

View jerryminer's profile

jerryminer

944 posts in 1642 days


#1 posted 02-26-2018 08:22 PM

If you already have a router, a 4mm (or 5/32”) slot cutter will make a biscuit slot. No jig necessary, but you could make a jig to limit the length of the slot if you wish.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5176 posts in 2694 days


#2 posted 02-26-2018 08:23 PM

I’d also go with the slot cutter.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3849 days


#3 posted 02-26-2018 08:27 PM

The joiners are more versatile than a router,
especially the ones with tilting fences. If you
are meticulous in your approach to using them
precise results can be had.

You can get round Lamello biscuits that go
deeper than a standard biscuit. I’ve used
them on frames.

Cheaper plate joiners may be frustrating to use.
The weak link in them tends to be the fence.
The pricier ones have more reliable fences in
general. I had a Freud one with a fence that
wouldn’t hold its settings.

View Floyd Hall's profile

Floyd Hall

124 posts in 472 days


#4 posted 02-26-2018 08:45 PM

Yeah, I got one already, that’s why I was thinking about it. Just not sure how to steady the router.

Floyd


I d also go with the slot cutter.

- Fred Hargis


View Floyd Hall's profile

Floyd Hall

124 posts in 472 days


#5 posted 02-26-2018 08:48 PM

A Makita just came up on CL, but he wants a little too much for it. The reviews suggest a DeWalt or a Porter Cable, but I’ve become frustrated with my Porter Cable tools over time. And slippage seems to be the main issue.

Anyway, I was thinking about just trying the router for now and maybe look at a Festool when I’ve died and gone to heaven.

Floyd


The joiners are more versatile than a router,
especially the ones with tilting fences. If you
are meticulous in your approach to using them
precise results can be had.

You can get round Lamello biscuits that go
deeper than a standard biscuit. I ve used
them on frames.

Cheaper plate joiners may be frustrating to use.
The weak link in them tends to be the fence.
The pricier ones have more reliable fences in
general. I had a Freud one with a fence that
wouldn t hold its settings.

- Loren


View LesB's profile

LesB

1863 posts in 3644 days


#6 posted 02-26-2018 11:09 PM

Before the biscuit cutters became available I used a slot cutter on my router and cut my own biscuits. In some cases I cut the slot almost the complete length of the boards I was joining and either inserted several biscuit size pieces at points along the slot or used a full length piece of plywood or masonite that filled the entire slot. You could also make slots using your table saw.

Be aware that biscuits do not add much strength to the joint but primarily keep the boards aligned, particularly during the glue up process.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Floyd Hall's profile

Floyd Hall

124 posts in 472 days


#7 posted 02-26-2018 11:22 PM

Yeah I was thinking about using 1/4i plywood splines and cutting the slots with a slot cutter on a router.

What I’ doing is building a work table with 1 1/4i. So I was thinking about two splines. I would like to attach 6/4 hickory aprons around the table top. I do need it to be pretty sturdy.

Floyd


Before the biscuit cutters became available I used a slot cutter on my router and cut my own biscuits. In some cases I cut the slot almost the complete length of the boards I was joining and either inserted several biscuit size pieces at points along the slot or used a full length piece of plywood or masonite that filled the entire slot. You could also make slots using your table saw.

Be aware that biscuits do not add much strength to the joint but primarily keep the boards aligned, particularly during the glue up process.

- LesB

View Rayne's profile

Rayne

1108 posts in 1741 days


#8 posted 02-27-2018 01:16 AM

If you want a relatively cheap alternative, Harbor Freight’s biscuit joiner isn’t too bad at all. Most of the plastic parts that had complaints in the past were fixed and replaced with cast aluminum. There is some play, but very manageable. Just need to buy a better cutter. I bought Freud’s and it works like a charm for me. My 2 cents for a once-in-a-while tool.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5702 posts in 2610 days


#9 posted 02-27-2018 04:36 AM

Depends on your approach. A dedicated tool like a biscuit joiner is set up and with an adjustment for depth and setting the fence ready to go. Using your router if you have only one means changing the bit and doing the other set up process. Doing splines or half splines get the job done. All of these methods get the job done. Each has pros and cons so it boils down to which would you rather have.

I have a biscuit joiner, and no I do not use it all that regularly but when needed it is set up and ready to go. Like many others I have several routers, some set up for certain work and also have a router table.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

602 posts in 1695 days


#10 posted 02-27-2018 05:45 AM

Hmm..
Biscuit construction is like any other type of joinery? Each one has pro/con; and a loyal fan base.
Some prefer splines or dowels over biscuits?

If you have never used biscuit construction on a project before, suggest you try using router with 5/32 slot cutter and bearing. Unless you snag a porter or dewalt biscuit joiner from Craigslist cheap (which happens often), router method is cheapest method to determine if you need/want/like using biscuits.

You mention joining 5/4 top to 6/4 apron?
For workbench application were strength is goal, I would use mortise & tenon, loose tenon, or spine to attach the apron. Biscuits are great for 4/4 lumber, but if you are using thick lumber then you have room for a thicker tenon/spline.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Floyd Hall's profile

Floyd Hall

124 posts in 472 days


#11 posted 02-27-2018 06:17 AM


You mention joining 5/4 top to 6/4 apron?
For workbench application were strength is goal, I would use mortise & tenon, loose tenon, or spine to attach the apron. Biscuits are great for 4/4 lumber, but if you are using thick lumber then you have room for a thicker tenon/spline.

- CaptainKlutz

I was thinking about two 1/4i plywood splines or maybe one 1/4 spline and a second series of biscuits. I could use a cross-cut sled and cut both biscuit slots at the same time so they match up.

Floyd

View John_H's profile

John_H

187 posts in 1907 days


#12 posted 02-28-2018 05:46 AM

If you haven’t seen this Lamello Video it is worth watching

https://youtu.be/IecEPB64TgU

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5798 posts in 3014 days


#13 posted 02-28-2018 05:54 AM

Get the biscuit joiner. I use a few biscuits on most projects, and it’s super handy.
It’s no substitute for mortise and tenon joinery, but there are many useful applications.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 3849 days


#14 posted 02-28-2018 06:09 AM

In the 80s and 90s the woodworking magazines
went a little hog wild with designs using biscuit
joints in place of mortise and tenon. Some were
better designs than others but by today’s standards
there was some dubious stuff out there.

There’s a mistaken idea going around that biscuits
provide no strength. They provide no relevant
strength
in edge to edge grain gluing of solid
wood when making things like panels and table
tops. Those joints are stronger than the wood
anyway when using modern glues. Biscuits can
provide plenty of strength in frame joints, carcase
joints and miter joints, basically most situations
involving plywood or end grain.

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

857 posts in 1786 days


#15 posted 02-28-2018 06:24 AM

Loren has made the point above. Biscuits do improve joint strength in many cases, as he explained.

I still use my very old Ryobi biscuit jointer for quite a few projects. I’m very happy to have it and use it. Maybe I should consider and compare it to a current model like a Dewalt, or similar.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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