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Blog entry by woodinit posted 07-11-2008 03:17 AM 824 reads 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Fellow LJ’s:
I’ve been shopping the net for a biscuit joiner…and need your input. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

- Porter-Cable has the best handle and power switch arrangement, not to mention top quality – and the price to go with it. It’s probably the top of the list (except Festool’s REALLY high-end thang!)

- DeWalt is almost the same tool except the t-handle isn’t on the fence, it’s on the motor. But the fence, motor, switch and price are about the same as PC.

- Makita has a good unit as well, but right up there price-wise too. Handle is same as DeWalt and all others.

Has anyone had good/bad experience with these? Anyone want to make a recommendation on these three or a suitable alternative?

Thanks in advance!

-- woodinit Prov. 3:5&6



14 comments so far

View DustDawg's profile

DustDawg

9 posts in 2359 days


#1 posted 07-11-2008 03:31 AM

I own the Porter Cable 557 and have been very pleased with this unit. There are plenty of tool reviews on the net and you can simply perform a Google search for such.

Although somewhat dated, you can pick up a free download, plate joiner tool review on Plans Now at:

http://www.plansnow.com/reviewjointer.html.

You’ll see that the Porter Cable continues to receive top honors in many of the woodworking magazine tool reviews for price and quality.

Good Luck,

Steve

View brianinpa's profile

brianinpa

1810 posts in 2469 days


#2 posted 07-11-2008 03:33 AM

I have used the DeWalt version and came to the conclusion that I do not like biscuits. When I went through woodshoop in high school, we used dowel pins, and they have stuck with through all the years. Good luck with your purchase

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 2514 days


#3 posted 07-11-2008 03:55 AM

also the pc fence tilts both ways to 45 and 135 while the dewalt doesn’t. i would probably go with the dewalt though because they have very good quality and my dad and i own a lot of dewalt tools and have been very happy with every one of them.

View jlsmitty's profile

jlsmitty

14 posts in 2356 days


#4 posted 07-11-2008 03:58 AM

I have a DeWalt and very plesed, maybe Brian will sell you his cheap. I started with dowels and like biscuits better, that is one of the fun things of woodworking, different ways and opinions.
Smitty

View scottb's profile

scottb

3648 posts in 3073 days


#5 posted 07-11-2008 04:16 AM

Bought a Ryobi and returned it almost immed. (Couldn’t keep the fence aligned for more than one cut.) got the Dewalt instead, and still am very happy with it.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2568 days


#6 posted 07-11-2008 04:20 AM

I bought the Dewalt about 10 years and have not had any problems with it. I tend to agree with Smitty in that I like biscuits better than dowels but I do not use them as much as I used to do.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

712 posts in 2364 days


#7 posted 07-11-2008 05:01 AM

I have the PC 557 and don’t know what all the excitement is about. I am not impressed with the tool. It became impossible to adjust the height of the fence, even with a pair of vice grips to turn the knob. I had to disassemble the tool and bore out one of the guide pin holes, a 3/8” bit fit into one of the holes but not the other. Of course, I could have gotten a bad one.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View jimp's profile

jimp

207 posts in 2507 days


#8 posted 07-11-2008 06:05 AM

I have the DeWalt and I really like it, but I haven’t used any other brands.

-- - Jim, Carroll, OH

View kem's profile

kem

56 posts in 2464 days


#9 posted 07-11-2008 06:44 AM

I have the Porter-Cable also and haven’t had any problems with it. In your description above, it sounds like all three are about the same price and the PC has “the best handle and power switch arrangement” and a few more features that others have pointed out.

-- Kevin

View rhett's profile

rhett

699 posts in 2413 days


#10 posted 07-11-2008 06:57 PM

I worked in a woodshop that had the Dewalt and I own a Freud. They both worked equally as well for their intended purpose. On most jointing operations, I don’t even use the top fence, setting the units base flat on a bench gives the most consistent results. Even 45 degree joints can be done with a 90 degree fence. I am now using a domino, and see no need for owning biscuit jointer. If you pay the shipping I’ll send you my freud.

-- It's only wood.

View Richforever's profile

Richforever

739 posts in 2466 days


#11 posted 07-12-2008 03:25 AM

I like my DeWalt. When I bought it, I called some tech support people at a tool supply catalog. They said that PC had lost a lawsuit because they infringed upon DeWalt patents. The settlement meant that they had to make their adjustments less accurate. That’s why I bought the DeWalt.

I’m using biscuits less and using pocket screw joints more. They seem stronger and easier to make.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View woodinit's profile

woodinit

12 posts in 2373 days


#12 posted 07-16-2008 04:49 AM

Rhett – If you were serious, I’m interested in the Freud biscuit joiner you no longer use. If you were just having fun on the blog – ya got me good :). I am still interested, even if you would rather sell it than donate it – either is fine with me. Toss me a note at bgtanners@hotmail.com and we’ll work something out. Thanks again!

-- woodinit Prov. 3:5&6

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1489 posts in 2871 days


#13 posted 07-16-2008 05:52 PM

I have the DeWalt on indefinite loan from a friend, and find nothing to complain about with it. The handle location works just fine, the power switch seems to me like it’s in the perfect location, the adjustments work fairly well for me. If I need to nail out a quick edge joint for a table top or to put edge trim on veneered plywood, it’s the tool I reach for.

With the dust collector hooked up it works fairly well, I’ve occasionally had to open it up to clean out the dust chutes, but generally it’s been maintenance free.

I also have the Festool (”...REALLY high-end thang”) Domino. I don’t always use it over biscuits, but if I could have only one of these tools, I’d definitely go for the Domino. It’s the one tool I’ve got where I don’t worry about keeping a set-up because it’s so easy to get it back to precisely where it was. Tenons don’t require router jigs. It’s a different class of tool. And, yeah, I could use it for joining table tops too.

I can’t compare the DeWalt to other biscuit joiners, but I’ve got several cheap tools which I know aren’t great tools, and the DeWalt isn’t one of them. It seems llike a solid execution of a basic concept that works fairly well. I’m sure that if I had the Lamello I could tell you why the DeWalt isn’t the greatest thing, but I’ve no complaints so far.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View woodinit's profile

woodinit

12 posts in 2373 days


#14 posted 07-19-2008 09:09 PM

A special note of thanks and 10 “atta-boys” to rhett. Guys, he shipped me that Freud biscuit joiner before I could even get a check in the mail to cover the postage! It arrived yesterday and I’m looking forward to using it on my next project. Rhett, thanks a ton! Your generosity is very much appreciated. If I find this little machine doesn’t quite meet my needs, I’ll be pleased to pass it on to another lumberjock. I tossed a check in the mail to cover the shipping.

-- woodinit Prov. 3:5&6

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