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Biscuit joints on cutting board

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Forum topic by Steve Kreins posted 03-11-2014 02:26 PM 814 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Steve Kreins

351 posts in 378 days


03-11-2014 02:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question trick face grain cutting board thinner

Have you ever thought of making the face grain width a little wider and using Biscuit Joints for strength? This would allow for a thinner board with increased strength. I have some 15/16th inch pecan that would make a beautiful cutting board and I’m thinking of giving this a try. Any thought?

The board shown here is obviously thin. I like trying to think outside of the box.

-- I thank God for everything, especially all of you!


15 replies so far

View jerrells's profile

jerrells

867 posts in 1632 days


#1 posted 03-11-2014 02:33 PM

I my opinion biscuits are only for alignment not strength. The strength comes from the bond of the edge of the two mating boards. Yes, to be technical they may provide a little strength in shear, the edges moving in opposite directions or up and down. That is my two cents.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View Dallas's profile (online now)

Dallas

3195 posts in 1235 days


#2 posted 03-11-2014 02:53 PM

Be careful using biscuits in that way. Biscuits swell and will deform the board.

Also, modern wood glues, (PVA’s like Titebond), are stronger than the wood fibers themselves.

15/16” isn’t that thin. Breadboards and cutting boards that were part of the cabinets and drawer systems in the olden days (Before the 1980’s?), were often only 3/4” thick.

Oh, and I have made many pastry boards and cheese boards and serving boards that were only 3/4” thick.
As long as the joint is square and tight, a biscuit isn’t going to add much.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Todd's profile

Todd

269 posts in 424 days


#3 posted 03-11-2014 03:31 PM

+1 to what Dallas said. Modern glues are stronger than the wood. I would be worried more about getting the joints square. I have never had a problem with a glue-up that had tight joints.

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1593 posts in 1117 days


#4 posted 03-11-2014 03:49 PM

The strongest glue joint you’re going to get is long grain to long grain. Biscuits aren’t going to improve the situation, so it seems unnecessary.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5387 posts in 1980 days


#5 posted 03-11-2014 03:55 PM

It looks like you are putting long grain, to long grain, no need for a biscuit there, the glue itself is way stronger than the wood fiber. Your board is actually going to be a bit on the thickish side so no problem there. Just level them up, make sure everything is flat, parallel, and square, glue it up, and then flatten any imperfections that arise in the glue up process, sand it, route it or whatnot, and then finish it… It will be beautiful!

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3556 posts in 1561 days


#6 posted 03-11-2014 03:57 PM

I have used biscuits for cutting boards thinner than 1” and they work great. People get the notion that biscuits add no strength from an old FWW magazine test. However it was a very specific test for racking of corner joints. It had nothing to do with long grain glue joints. I feel that biscuits do add considerable strength to a joint. It is a mechanical connection, which is always good to have. Somebody’s bound to throw a CB in the dishwasher.

Another misconception is that biscuits will swell or deform the wood. As long as the stock is at least 3/4” thick and the biscuit is centered, you will not have any problems. Biscuits will only be problematic on very thin stock.

Long grain glue joints are strong enough on their own, and that’s why most people don’t use them for CB’s and tables. I have found them useful for aligning thin strips of wood for CB’s, and there are tons of other uses for biscuits in case good construction.

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

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

1929 posts in 545 days


#7 posted 03-11-2014 04:28 PM

Willie,

I know you love your biscuits (I do, too, but prefer mine with sausage gravy!). If long-grain to long-grain is a particularly strong glue joint, and with a good glue the joint is stronger than the wood, how would a biscuit add strength since the weakest part of the board is the wood itself? Just trying to understand.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View tme4tls's profile

tme4tls

21 posts in 1371 days


#8 posted 03-11-2014 04:37 PM

I personally can’t see that biscuits will make much of a difference but if that is how you want to build them, who am I to say you are wrong or right.

View mrjinx007's profile

mrjinx007

1828 posts in 515 days


#9 posted 03-11-2014 04:44 PM

Consider if you are making a functional cutting board to be used on a regular basis; placing biscuits will limit the amount of wood you can trim/shave to re-face it.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View Steve Kreins's profile

Steve Kreins

351 posts in 378 days


#10 posted 03-11-2014 05:25 PM

OK, it seems about 90% no, 5% maybe and 5% yes. Since I’m a non-conformist, (went to school at UC Berkley), I think I’ll do some experimenting with it. Here’s the deal, an awesome LJs Buddy sent me a biscuit joiner and I know the standard uses, I’m just trying to get creative. Fine Woodworking has a great 2 part video on biscuit joints. Biscuit Joiner Tips and Tricks

I do appreciate the input and because of that I will not use what little expensive wood I have for the experiment, but I’ll have fun anyway. You guys are awesome!

-- I thank God for everything, especially all of you!

View Todd's profile

Todd

269 posts in 424 days


#11 posted 03-11-2014 06:00 PM

I use biscuits myself, but not for these types of glue-ups. When I do use them it is in very specific situations where I need the alignment help. I used them on my toychest project to align the sides and posts while gluing and screwing. There is nothing wrong with using them, I just don’t believe they add strength in the situation in question here.

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3556 posts in 1561 days


#12 posted 03-11-2014 06:07 PM

Charles,
You have a solid argument. Here’s how I look at it (and I don’t think there is a right and wrong here)... The biscuits increase surface area for the glue to bind the joints together. In the event that the more exposed surfaces of the joint started to fail with repeated water exposure, the biscuits may help hold the joint tight.

I also agree with Todd, the usual way I use biscuits is for some specific alignment help (vertical drawer dividers on dressers or case goods), or to reinforce end grain to long grain joints (web frames etc.).

Interesting topic anyways.

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

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5387 posts in 1980 days


#13 posted 03-11-2014 06:23 PM

I was wondering, you were if I recall right asking about using a router / table to cut biscuit slots not too long ago. Congrats on the Biscuit joiner! I have really come to love mine although it doesn’t get used much… (Still looks brand new)...

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

1593 posts in 1117 days


#14 posted 03-11-2014 06:28 PM

My biscuit joiner looks brand new too, I venture to guess a lot of others’ do too. It doesn’t get much use, but it’s also one of the few tools that’s easier to store in the plastic case than it is elsewhere, and it always gets cleaned off after use. I couldn’t see myself parting with it…as soon as I do, I’d need it again. I’ve actually cut more slots for table top fasteners than I have for biscuits, using the biscuit joiner.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View grumpy749's profile

grumpy749

220 posts in 1125 days


#15 posted 03-12-2014 12:52 PM

The biggest advantage of biscuits is the ease of alignment at glue up. The added strength is marginal at best. I know some purists will argue that a biscuit acts like a loose mortise and tenon joint but not necessary in this application. If you like um use um Steve. Now there is a problem however when going from edge grain to end grain. You know that extra step you cut to make it a cutting board instead of a glued up table top. The biscuits will show through here. Keep on keeping on Steve. Hope your feeling ok.

-- Denis in Grande Prairie. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mistery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.....Pink !

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