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Freud Biscuit Joiner

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Forum topic by USCJeff posted 05-26-2007 05:39 AM 4035 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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USCJeff

1044 posts in 2812 days


05-26-2007 05:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: biscuit joiner freud joint joinery

Picked up my newest toy on the way home from work today. I fell prey to my Lowe’s addiction and stopped by to “browse”. They had the Freud Biscuit Joiner for $80 versus the normal price of $99. I’ve wanted one for a while, but I’m not quite up to the Domino level yet. I had read a review on different joiners and am aware that this joiner fell in the middle of the pack. At $80, I think I’ll get my money out of it. The better ones in the review were in the $180-$210 range. I am also aware that biscuits add no strength to joints and can actually weaken them if too many are used. I bought this because I hate assembling larger projects and trying to clamp everything without moving anything. That’s worth $80 to me. I use my Kreg R3 PH jig for a lot of things, but biscuits are nice since they are hidden.

I do have a question? Having never used this tool, what’s the scoop on the biscuit #’s. 00, 10, 20? I notice they get thicker as the number grows higher. Is there a rule of thumb about what size works best for various stock thickness?

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-- Jeff, South Carolina


12 replies so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 3058 days


#1 posted 05-26-2007 05:53 AM

I use biscuits because they do add strength to a joint. The #’s are the over all size of the biscuit. I have almost never used any but the # 20’s in cabinet or furniture.

View Karson's profile

Karson

34911 posts in 3144 days


#2 posted 05-26-2007 06:12 AM

I think the size is more to do with the width of the cut. You don’t want to go so deep in something that is narrow. Also a style and rail doesn’t have a lot of width at the joint, so by not cutting deeper you are not cutting wider.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 2812 days


#3 posted 05-26-2007 06:26 AM

Jeff, Dennis,

I believe you are both correct. For an edge to edge glue up, long grain to long grain, conventional wisdom is that biscuits are for alignment, provide no structural strength to the joint, and can weaken the joint if too many are used. A clean flat long grain to long grain glue joint will be as strong as the wood around it.

For an end grain to long grain, such as in a bookshelf shelf to case side glue joint a biscuit does add structural strength. The biscuit glues to some of the long grain in the slot in the end of the shelf and provides structural strength against shear at the case. Similar arguments anywhere end grain is mating up with long grain.

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2812 days


#4 posted 05-26-2007 04:36 PM

Good call Colorado/Dennis. I should have been more clear in my statement. I was basing my comment on the biscuit not adding strength based on tests done gluing up panels. I wasn’t referring to perpendicular joints as I normally would use either a dado or a pocket hole if it wouldn’t be noticeable. Both of those provide more strength than biscuits by them self. Of course, I might start using biscuits to keep things at 90 and level and then sue a pocket hole for strength. The common consensus among a few sources states that glues are much better now and that face to face glue ups are much stronger than they once were. End grain or porous stock without grain filler is a different story.

I read about the sizes. Freud states to use the biggest biscuit you can while not allowing the slot to be taking away too much wood on thin stock. The size is width as Karson said. I misstated when I said thickness. They are all the same thickness, thus you use the same blade.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2905 days


#5 posted 05-26-2007 05:36 PM

I think you will find the biscuit joiner quite handy Jeff. It does provide some extra strength in joints. It also helps with the alignment, as you said earlier. The different sizes of biscuits are helpful, since you can usually find a size to join what you want together.

Last year, I bought a Porter Cable biscuit joiner. The one extra feature the PC has is the Face Frame size biscuits. These are small (smaller than #0), and can be used in a number of places other biscuits can not. But, they do require a different blade to cut them. The PC comes with this extra blade. I do not know if it would fit other biscuit joiners, but it would be handy if so.

One thing the biscuits joiner does is cut a shallow groove. This is not as deep as the Domino. If you have thin stock, this would be an advantage. It might not have the strength of the Domino, but it would not go through most materials you would use.

Good luck and let us know how you like the tool. You could use your experience as a blog on the subject.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 3055 days


#6 posted 05-26-2007 05:37 PM

Congratulations on your new toy. Have fun!!

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2830 days


#7 posted 05-29-2007 05:33 AM

I have one on my Christmas list….:( long wait…. I borrowed one to do a nightstand for my daughter last year. I couldn’t believe how easy it made it go. Great tool for for the purpose. Let us know how it goes.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2780 days


#8 posted 05-29-2007 07:39 AM

Just one thing to watch with biscuits. They are intended to swell, so if using them on panel glueups, make good and sure the glue is dry before you start sanding. What can sometimes happen is you can get sanding away, come back the next day and see depressions over the biscuits where the glue and wood has dried out completely. Other than that, they are pretty decent.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2812 days


#9 posted 05-29-2007 05:33 PM

Quite true Tom. The blade cuts the grooves a little thicker than the actual biscuits, but some biscuits will swell more depending on all the variables involved (glue, density, etc . . .)

Bob, keep it on your Christmas list. I wasn’t sure how much I would use it, but now that I have it I keep thinking of ways that it makes many processes easier. Strength aside, it is worth the cash for the alignment help. It keeps things together while I’m reaching for clamps but since they swell, they have some play so that you can wiggle the boards into alignment while you clamp.

1ST IMPRESSIONS: Ok, I’ve used the Freud 100 over the weekend for a glue up of a new workbench top and for some “T” style joints for lower h style fence. The fence was 3/4” inch stock so there was no setup needed for the biscuits as all biscuit joiners I’ve seen are set up by default for 3/4” stock. Obviously, this process went as fast as I could move my hands. For the bench top, the stock was thicker so I had to make the fence adjustments. Again, piece of cake. Glued it up, put the clamps on loose, held everything level, and then tightened the clamps. Possible regret: I typically don’t do many projects with nonstandard angles. If you do panels, 90 degree, and 45 degree work, this is a great joiner. If you do anything else, get the 102 (or a Domino if your one of those blessed souls) as it has a fence that will lock at any angle.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2905 days


#10 posted 05-29-2007 05:56 PM

I bet you could make a jig to hold the biscuit joiner at a different angle, or maybe even an adjustable jig. Then you could use it on your other projects.

I have a PC biscuit joiner, and the front guide will adjust from 0-90 degrees, so you can set any angle you want. Like you, so far I have only used it for standard angles. It is a big help when gluing up pieces to make larger panels and such. The alignment is a big help.

Glad you had a chance to use your new tool. Keep at it and you will find more things to use it on. By the way, if you make a table, the biscuit joiner can cut the grooves in the aprons for the z clips. If you use it at the standard height, they will fit just right. This is useful in case you have built a table, glued up the aprons, but forgot to cut the grooves for the z clips. The biscuit joiner will take care of it in a snap. The Domino will also, since they both work in the same manner.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2812 days


#11 posted 05-29-2007 10:26 PM

Bill, Funny you should mention a jig for the different angles. I just thought about making some door stop-like wedges for some of the angles that I might need. I could make one in the time it took to walk to the miter saw. Tape it to the joiner. Voila!

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View 303Woodwork's profile

303Woodwork

25 posts in 1257 days


#12 posted 08-26-2011 12:38 PM

At $80 that’s quite a bargain!
“I could make one in the time it took to walk to the miter saw. Tape it to the joiner.” Good idea!
Did you ever do it?

Freud Biscuit Joiner

-- Gotta love woodworking!

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