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Porter Cable 557 Biscuit Joiner

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Forum topic by handystanley posted 12-18-2012 11:10 PM 1859 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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handystanley

165 posts in 1572 days


12-18-2012 11:10 PM

For those of you who have a Porter Cable biscuit joiner (model 557), would you recommend getting it just with the 4” blade or also with the 2-1/2” blade?

The reason I ask is because if I purchase it new…it only comes with the larger blade. If I purchase it reconditioned it comes with both blades.

Thanks.

-- "Projects beget projects and projects beget the need to buy new tools and that is what the cycle of life is all about." Stan Pearse, Novato, CA


19 replies so far

View syenefarmer's profile

syenefarmer

390 posts in 1739 days


#1 posted 12-19-2012 12:03 AM

In all the years that I’ve had my 557 I’ve never used the smaller blade even once. Then again, in all the years that I’ve had my 557 I still haven’t used it enough to come close the justify what I paid for it. YMMV.

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 1668 days


#2 posted 12-19-2012 12:17 AM

I actually just sold mine off, but I had it with both blades. I thought I would use the small blade but never did. But like syenefarmer, I also didn’t use the 557 that much.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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Loren

7580 posts in 2306 days


#3 posted 12-19-2012 12:46 AM

You can get round biscuits made by Lamello for doing door
frames and things like that. Cut the slots with a 5/32” x
2” diameter router bit. The go way deeper into the
wood than the PC small biscuits too.

Aside from that, I have a 557 and I do use it occasionally.
I bought it used and it didn’t come with the smaller
blade.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View MichaelR's profile

MichaelR

42 posts in 1087 days


#4 posted 12-19-2012 12:51 AM

I use the smaller one a lot more than I thought I would. Throwing together a simple picture frame or a simple 1/2” ply box. But, like has already been said, I don’t use enough biscuits to have paid for the tool itself.

View handystanley's profile

handystanley

165 posts in 1572 days


#5 posted 12-19-2012 02:02 AM

Here is my immediate application on why I am considering purchasing the biiscuit joiner.

I am needing to build a soffit box above the trim of our bedroom window that a window curtain and mini blind will be secured into. The box will be about 6 feet long and project out approximately 4 or 5 inches…maybe less. As I do not want the end grain to show I want to miter the ends at 45 degrees.

Because it is a 45 degree joint I cannot use my Kreg pocket hole system and I do not know how I can put the router at an angle to use a edge lock bit.

Any suggestions?

-- "Projects beget projects and projects beget the need to buy new tools and that is what the cycle of life is all about." Stan Pearse, Novato, CA

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7580 posts in 2306 days


#6 posted 12-19-2012 02:11 AM

Do you have clamps for miters?

A box with mitered corners can be closed with band
clamps but a 3-sided soffit with mitered corners is
not so easy.

Miters look cool, but a deep rabbet leaves just a sliver
of end grain exposed and is easy to put together and
clamp or nail. You could pocket screw it too.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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Grandpa

3136 posts in 1334 days


#7 posted 12-19-2012 02:11 AM

I have that biscuit joiner. I am currently using the small biscuits in some plywood for my granddaughter’s “horse barn”. It is like a doll house but it is for horses. I like the small biscuits for this type of thing but I find them difficult to find. They are FF size. I bought my biscuit joiner from CPO Outlets. They had a good price at the time.

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 1668 days


#8 posted 12-19-2012 02:17 AM

Not that I’d ever dissuade anyone from a tool purchase, and a biscuit joiner would certainly make quick work of your project.

Another way to go would be splines. Cut your mitered parts, then tilt the TS blade to 45 to cut a spline slot along the length of each miter. Assemble the mitered box and drive a 1/8” spline into the slot.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

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Grandpa

3136 posts in 1334 days


#9 posted 12-19-2012 02:24 AM

I have that biscuit joiner. I am currently using the small biscuits in some plywood for my granddaughter’s “horse barn”. It is like a doll house but it is for horses. I like the small biscuits for this type of thing but I find them difficult to find. They are FF size. I bought my biscuit joiner from CPO Outlets. They had a good price at the time.

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Grandpa

3136 posts in 1334 days


#10 posted 12-19-2012 02:25 AM

Sorry but this thing is leaving your post hanging and then we get a double…...bad as a nail gun.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112105 posts in 2235 days


#11 posted 12-19-2012 02:35 AM

I was also going to suggest making a splined miter joint too. Biscuit joiners are handy but I would not put one high on my must have list since I hardly use the three I have. I would invest in some that is used more frequently like a router or ?

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

1325 posts in 915 days


#12 posted 12-19-2012 03:06 AM

+1 on splines

-- Art

View Mip's profile

Mip

318 posts in 736 days


#13 posted 12-19-2012 03:18 AM

I don’t have a biscuit (or plate joiner as I like to call it; you put honey on biscuits) but I found plans to make a base plate for my router to use as a plate joiner. It works great. There are some drawbacks though, it only cuts slots for #20 plates, and I can’t cut slots in the middle of a board to have the other board installed perpindicular to the first, as in a bookshelf. I do use it occasionally and the price was right, even with the drawbacks.

View handystanley's profile

handystanley

165 posts in 1572 days


#14 posted 12-19-2012 03:44 AM

Thanks everyone for your feedback.

Using my table saw or my compound mitre saw to cut slots for splines could be a way as mentioned by live4ever.

@a1jim: You may have a point. Although I have a router I REALLY could use a router table. Been thinking about getting a router lift from Woodpecker and a PC variable speed router motor…but now we are talking about another forum! LOL!

-- "Projects beget projects and projects beget the need to buy new tools and that is what the cycle of life is all about." Stan Pearse, Novato, CA

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1280 posts in 2395 days


#15 posted 12-19-2012 03:53 AM

I use my 557 enough to warrant having it. Bisquit cutters, IMHO, are worth having in the shop. I use them a lot to align boards and connect face frames to cabinets. There are many ways to skin a cat. It comes down to preference, use, quality of joint or connection, and availability of the tool.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

showing 1 through 15 of 19 replies

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