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Biscuits or Pocket Screws

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Forum topic by hjt posted 253 days ago 892 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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hjt

773 posts in 1737 days


253 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: biscuit joinery pocket screws jointing

While I’m sure both have advantages. Tell me which you prefer – use most often and why one over the other?

-- Harold


16 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

7236 posts in 2247 days


#1 posted 253 days ago

Biscuit joiners have that moveable fence on the better ones
that can be used for angle joinery in furniture. If all you’re
doing is making square cabinets and book cases, it doesn’t
matter – I use confirmat screws.

I’m making chairs now and some of the joints are most
practical to cut as butt joints and use dowels or splines.
I can use dowels because I have a Hoffman dowel
joiner which is like a plate joiner but it drills a pair of
holes on 32mm centers. It works just like a biscuit
joiner in terms of angle joinery setups however.

Pocket screw holes are ugly in my opinion. I use them
for dirty work and in concealed locations but that’s it.
Aesthetically they are just as ugly as Confirmats but they
show in a different position and are more versatile
but less accurate in terms of alignment tolerances.

I think in the end a biscuit joiner with a good fence will
allow you to grow more in terms of doing polished
curved designs. A lot of people just want to make
boxes and that’s ok. Virtually all of the joinery
techniques advertised and taught are oriented towards
making square things. The plate joiner is an inexpensive
tool (now that the Lamello patents have expired)
that allows one to branch into complex geometric
forms without mastering the complexities of cutting
and fitting angled tenon shoulders.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1232 days


#2 posted 253 days ago

Loren pretty much said it all.
I have a Craftsman Biscuit Joiner that works well. When alignment is paramount or tricky, the biscuit joiner is better.
My Kreg Jig is easier/quicker to use. Its especically good if I just need to slap together a shop fixture or bookcase. I wouldn’t use it for anyting that needed to look especially nice. Not unless the joint would be concealed.

View pmayer's profile

pmayer

565 posts in 1664 days


#3 posted 253 days ago

+1 what Lauren said. I used to do most of this stuff with biscuits, but I am a recent convert to pocket screws for face frames. Simple, fast, strong. I hate the look of them however, even when plugged, so if there would be any visibility to the pocket in the finished project, I will pass and go with a biscuit or some other approach.

-- PaulMayer, http://www.vernswoodgoods.com

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3271 posts in 1412 days


#4 posted 253 days ago

I use mostly mortise and tenon construction, but every project has a few biscuits and a well placed pocket screw or two.
I like biscuits to make web frames for dressers and sideboards. Biscuits also are a great way to align drawer dividers on dressers with two rows of drawers.

A pocket screw is a great way to attach a thin top rail to a leg (for instance the rail above a drawer on a library table). The pocket hole is concealed with the tabletop.

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

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1470 posts in 1026 days


#5 posted 253 days ago

use both at the same time. alternate P/Screw , biscuit. etc,. The P/Screws save the bother of clamps.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1084 posts in 554 days


#6 posted 253 days ago

I haven’t used either, outside of a couple “pocket” screws for things in the shop, but I’ve enjoyed reading these responses. Being an almost exclusively hand tool user it’s good to know these things for future references.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

13272 posts in 937 days


#7 posted 253 days ago

For me, it’s 2 different things for 2 different things. I use both depending on the need.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View NeverWas's profile

NeverWas

2 posts in 493 days


#8 posted 253 days ago

I use both for but for different things as does Monte.

-- Dick, Nebraska

View emart's profile

emart

234 posts in 1227 days


#9 posted 253 days ago

I typically use biscuits or dowel joints. As others have said pocket hole screws are useful but are pretty ugly and not very strong compared to any type of splined glue joint.

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them https://www.custommade.com/by/emeraldcrafts/

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1674 days


#10 posted 253 days ago

I’m a pocket joint fan buy ONLY when the pockets are out of view (e.g. back of picture frame).

IMO, biscuits primary benefit is to help with alignment (especially when the joint has an odd angle). If I am just butting two boards together for a table top, I don’t bother with biscuits or anything else. Glue is all you need. Biscuits do not offer much, if any, additional strength.

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

View ~Julie~'s profile

~Julie~

572 posts in 1633 days


#11 posted 252 days ago

Neither.
Tenons or dowels.

-- ~Julie~ followyourheartwoodworking.blogspot.ca

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile

joeyinsouthaustin

1211 posts in 672 days


#12 posted 252 days ago

I’m in the both, and sometimes both at the same time category.

-- Who is John Galt?

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

489 posts in 1498 days


#13 posted 252 days ago

pocket hole joinery easy glue and scerw up and just as strong as any biscuit orTenons,dowels.Everything I buildt is 100% pocket hole joinery and I have poven it on here.But I have never had any one call it ugly?

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

1052 posts in 397 days


#14 posted 252 days ago

I’ve never found a need to use biscuits, although I bought a biscuit joiner. I can see a couple of isolated cases where they could be helpful, but they don’t seem to bring strength, so they seem more trouble than worth as alignment tools.

As for pocket holes, I used to use them all the time, but use them much less now that I have learned M-T well. But I am always amused when I hear they are not strong. If you’re joining two 1” pieces of wood at a right angle, they’re not very strong, but when used with cabinet construction for the box or face frame, I cannot imagine any traditional joint that could be any stronger (and they’re very quick for in that use).

View hjt's profile

hjt

773 posts in 1737 days


#15 posted 252 days ago

Great discussion folks. Hope more join with their thoughts. David – beautiful work. I’m with you, I do not think of pocket holes as ugly at all. I admire the look.

-- Harold

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