Slot cutter vs biscuit jointer

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Forum topic by MikeOB posted 11-19-2011 10:37 PM 3289 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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89 posts in 3121 days

11-19-2011 10:37 PM

I need to use a couple fasteners like these:

I have a cabinet I need to replace a top on. I do not have a biscuit jointer but I have a slot cutter. Would it be too dangerous to use a slot cutter in a hand held router to make a couple groves in or does someone have another idea?

-- Mike, Portage, WI

9 replies so far

View HerbC's profile


1756 posts in 2859 days

#1 posted 11-20-2011 12:03 AM


If you’re careful you could use the router with a slot cutter to make the slot for the bracket. I assume you have a router with speed control and can run slow enough for the slot cutter? If I was doing this I would clamp a 2X to the outside of the apron, even with the top edge of the apron to provide a wider surface for the router faceplate. And of course I’d recommend an edge guide instead just using the bearing. Make a temporary one out of scrap wood with a notch for the slot cutter. The edge guide will resist the tendency of the router to rotate as you engage the slot cutter into the wood.

Practice on scrap to get the feel for using the cutter. If done right it should not be any worse than using a biscuit cutter.

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2969 days

#2 posted 11-20-2011 03:42 AM

You shouldn’t have any problem using the router for your slot cutting. Just add on a piece to make the baseplate more stable like HerbC said.

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2837 days

#3 posted 11-20-2011 07:23 AM

If you’re concerned about accuracy (exact width and depth) of the cut, rout out your a bit shy of the needed space, then finish or expand the notch with straight chisels. Otherwise, jump directly to a post above us.

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3065 days

#4 posted 11-20-2011 07:40 PM

I agree with Herb’s approach. If you are intimidated by that approach, You also might try doing this by using a drill and making a series of holes, and clean out the waste with a chisel. Doesn’t have to be super clean for this application.

I am assuming that the top is made from solid wood, so you therefore will use this system to allow for expansion and contraction. you could also accomplish this by attaching a wooden block to your cabinet sides, and drilling a hole through it to run a screw to the top. Make the hole slightly over sized so that the screw’s threads won’t bite in, and then also elongate the hole in the direction of your wood movement by rocking the drill back and forth in that direction while the bit is protruding through the hole. Essentially you are creating a sloppy hole that will still hold the screw solidly, and this will accommodate enough wood movement for most cabinet applications. I wouldn’t necessarily try this on a wide kitchen table, but it would probably work for that as welll, depending on the species, cut orientation of the boards (quartersawn will expand and contract less) and seasonal humidity changes in your home.

-- PaulMayer,

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3074 days

#5 posted 11-20-2011 11:52 PM

Another idea is to put the board for the apron on your table saw with the blade all the way down. Clamp the board in place and raise the blade as it’s cutting.

Determine in advance how many turns you need to get the blade up to the right height.

This would give you an elongated slot, but I don’t see any harm in that.

This strikes me as a better idea than trying to handle a router.

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

View HerbC's profile


1756 posts in 2859 days

#6 posted 11-21-2011 02:10 AM


That would be a good solution if you were building this from scratch but it appears to me that the cabinet is already built and he needs to groove the “apron” (my term, not the OP) which is already assembled in the cabinet, they’re just replacing the top…


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2983 days

#7 posted 11-21-2011 05:43 PM

Have you considered using these?
Just a thought, otherwise as Herb describes is about the best way to go.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3419 days

#8 posted 11-21-2011 06:16 PM

I’ve use the ones Greg mentioned on multiple occasions. They’re super easy to install and have held up for years.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop's profile

Drew - Rock-n H Woodshop

644 posts in 2691 days

#9 posted 11-21-2011 07:03 PM

I agree with Greg. Figure 8’s are super easy to install. You just need a Forstner bit and a drill and Voila you have an easy way to attach your top.

-- Drew -- "I cut it twice and it's still too short!"- Rock-n H Woodshop - Moore, OK

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