Pro Woodworking Tips.com
Using Biscuit Joiners
These relatively new tools are invaluable to cabinet and furniture makers. They have a small
circular blade, which is plunged into the work piece. A football shaped, pressed beech biscuit is inserted into the
slot, and expands when the moisture from the glue comes into contact with it.
The tool has an adjustable fence which controls the height and angle of the cut. It also has a
depth stop, to control the depth of the cut, which is numbered to correspond with the biscuit size. The three
common sizes are 0, 10, 20. The larger the number, the larger the biscuit. These are very easy tool to work with,
and have a very small learning curve.
This is one of the tools that has come along in the recent years, that has managed to take off in a
big way. The time savings realized in using these tools is huge.
We use biscuit joiners almost everyday, and would have to rethink many of our processes, without
When we build case work we use the biscuits to both strengthen the joint, but also to align the
parts. Care must be taken to work from the right surface of the work piece to ensure a flush fit. For example, when
attaching a cabinet side to side to a bottom, if you index the tool from the inside face of the bottom piece, the
joint may end up not being flush. Since the side piece slots are indexed from the ends of the piece, you should
index the top and bottom pieces from the side that you want flush with that edge.
Another way to explain that would be to say, slot the side pieces from the inside faces of the
cabinet, and the top and bottoms from the outside face of the cabinet.
Another consideration is to keep the slots about 4" away from the edges. This way you will have
room to add screws without screwing throught the biscuit, and also not be so close to the edge that you split
Another use for these tools is cutting a slot along the entire joint. For example, a splined miter
can be made by cutting the slot across the entire length of the miter, on both pieces. You can the use a
contrasting colored wood to make a spline with. This will strengthen the joint, as well as add a decorative detail.
Care must be used when doing this so as not to let the tool get away from you. It's best to plunge cut a series of
cuts side by side, rather than to try to use it as a circular saw.
We have several brands of these tools in our shop, and if I had to pick one I'd probably stick with
Porter Cable. I have not used the Dewalt unit so I can't comment on it, other than to say I've been told it's very
There are several after market metal biscuits, to serve other purposes. Some are pinned, and are
meant to allow pieces to be dismantled. Others are actually a hinge.
All things considered, this should be among the first portable power tools you invest in.
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|Porter Cable 18 Ga., 2'' Brad Nailer Kit, Model
This Nail Gun includes a 1/4'' male coupler with dust
cover, safety glasses, traveling case with 5,000 brad storage capacity, 1,000 brads, oil and
Porter Cable 18 Ga., 2'' Brad Nailer Kit, Model