First impressions of biscuit joinery

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Forum topic by Tedstor posted 08-08-2012 12:16 AM 1202 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1643 posts in 2655 days

08-08-2012 12:16 AM

Topic tags/keywords: biscuit joiner jointer joining tip

About a year ago I bought a Craftsman biscuit joiner online after reading some favorable accounts on biscuit joinery. I had seen the joiner in-person before and it looked solid enough. Maybe not as nice as the Dewalt and PC models, but better than the HF and other plastic-fenced models I had seen. And at $90, it seemed like a good middle-of-the-road tool with a commensurate price point. A few weeks later Sears had the joiner on sale for $85 and I had a $10 off coupon. Using in store pick-up I got it for $75 which I thought (and still think) was a pretty good deal.

I had a few ideas for projects that would benefit from biscuit joinery when I bought the tool, but my ADD antics got the better of me and those pojects have been postponed up until today. I decided to make a small toolbox for my machinist/precision tools using a couple big box pine boards I’ve had lying around. I used the BJ to join the side panels to the bottom of the toolbox, and dovetails to join the back panel to the sides. Thats as far as I’ve gotten so far, but my initial impression of the BJ is very good. I’m not sure how joinery could be made any quicker, easier, or (nearly) foolproof. I did actually stumble a bit at first when I discovered that the joiner blade was cutting the slots a hair too shallow. Fortunately, the craftsman has an adjustment feature that quickly corrected the issue. Otherwise, there was virtually no learning curve and the joints went together in no time.

I haven’t used this (or any other) BJ enough to write any sort of qualified review.But I must say that I’m happy with the tool.A lot of people look down their nose at CM power tools, and perhaps with good reason. I’ have personally had good experiences with almost all the CM power tools I’ve owned, and this one is no different (so far). [The only exception being an entry-level cordless drill I bought many years ago which sucked from day one]. All the parts are tight and sqaure and the fit and finish seem good.While I couldn’t say if it could handle the rigors of a commercial shop, I have no reason to believe it won’t handle my home shop for years to come.

Bottom line is that biscuit joinery will be used a lot more in my shop moving forward and the craftsman joiner will never see another prolonged period of idleness. Perhaps being a new tool, I’m still in the honeymoon phase. But given types of relatively straight-forward projects I tend to build, the bisciut joiner will likely be a game changer for me.
Sorry for the lack of pics, I sort of wrote this rambling on a whim. but in case you’re not familiar with the tool in question, here’s a stock pic:

4 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1735 posts in 2831 days

#1 posted 08-08-2012 01:28 AM

Glad to hear it Ted, I ve been using one I guess about 25 yrs or so. I use it often and dont see anything in the future that is going to change that. Enjoy ! JB

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2872 days

#2 posted 08-08-2012 01:34 AM

Nice report! Since you let slip that you have machinist tools, might I suggest you make several cuts in some scrap, including thick stuff that you could run the fence up high for.

Then with your calipers, measure the distance from the top of the slot to the top of the board, both ends of the slot.

If those numbers are more than a few thousandths different, remember that in biscuit joining that error is doubled when your two pieces are united.

Power aside, the two areas of potential weakness in a BJ are sloppy slidage and lack of parallelism between blade and fence. If you’re good on those, that tool will get plenty of joyful use.



-- " 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 ShaneA's profile


6951 posts in 2620 days

#3 posted 08-08-2012 01:36 AM

Can be a useful tool for many applications. It has its structural limitations, but as for ease of use, it is a good joinery option. Face frames and simple plywood carcass assembly seem to be my main uses.

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2314 days

#4 posted 08-08-2012 02:01 AM

Love biscuit joiners and have been using one since the mid-90s when DeWalt came out with there’s. Have subsequently bought PC and moved up. The biggestest difference I’ve observed is the initial parallelism (as discussed very succinctly by Lee) and the durability of the different makes in maintaining that parallelism. Enjoy and keep an eye on play in the blade.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

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