Biscuit jointer, bandaid or needed tool?


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Been on the fence about getting a biscuit jointer. Is it simply a bandaid for less than perfect face joinery, or does it provide stability for things i haven't had to deal with yet?

 

please note ,this is NOT bashing those that use them. I am sincerely curious.

 

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I own one and i firmly believe that there are no uses where you need one. Classic joinery will take it's place 75% of the time and for the other 25% save and buy a domino.

I don't even like festool.

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Just now, Chestnut said:

I own one and i firmly believe that there are no uses where you need one. Classic joinery will take it's place 75% of the time and for the other 25% save and buy a domino.

I've never seen a joint where I've wanted a biscuit,but I've been doing SMALL projects. For large panel glue ups, what do you think about em?

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I join almost all my tops together with it, but it's not structural it's purely alignment. I've done some shop tables where i attached the legs to the aprons. That was a mistake that resulted it me falling 4 feet off of a broken table back first on to the floor. I will say that that was probably more my stupidity than biscuit joints being poor.

I use mine for cabinets a lot to join plywood together for that it works pretty good but it's only because I'm to lazy to get a dado setup.

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I use have had a biscuit joiner for many years and I use it often in my work. 

It works great for helping to align edge joinery glue-ups, especially in boards that are not perfectly straight. 

It is common that the dimensions of plywood don't fit my needs and I can use biscuits to join them and they look factory made when I am done. 

It also works well for right angle sheet goods joinery in plywood, MDF, and particle board. 

I also own a Domino when I need something more like true tenon joinery because biscuits are not tenons. 

The Domino largely took the place of using my floor standing mortiser and cutting tenons at the table saw or WoodRat. I have the smaller Domino so if I need larger M&T I fire up the big mortiser again. 

Overall, I would say that a biscuit joiner has it's place and you will probably end up using it. 

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2 minutes ago, Eric. said:

"Need" is always a strong word in woodworking.  A Domino makes the biscuit joiner obsolete.  But if I didn't have a Domino I'd own one.  I still have mine but it doesn't get much use anymore.

This is a very accurate statement. 

 

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I bought one way back.  A very nice Porter Cable before they went south.  After using it once I realized I was not sure why I thought I needed one (peer pressure without a doubt, that's why I have a CMS out in the shed too) and sold it for not too great a loss.  The buyer did the sort of work where one is used a lot and was glad to get another one.

I found that for alignment they are not accurate at all, as tenons they're not but, could allow for some shear strength if your only alternative is a butt joint.  Take this with a grain of salt from someone who couldn't really find a use for one.  Someone who knows how to make one sing will have a different opinion

 

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I have 2 Lamello biscut joiners ( one of the finest ones made) I used them for years to help align panel glue ups and casework corners. Then I got a Domino and the biscut joiners sit collecting dust.

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I bought a domino, and thought I would save the PC biscuit cutter for alignment of panels, as biscuits are far cheaper than dominos.

After it sat unused for a year or two, i sold it off and bought a stack of 4/4 cherry with the proceeds.

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I don't like them. I have used mine on 3 projects and gotten poor results. I don't know if I mess it up every time or what but my panels do not come out nearly as well as not using biscuits.

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I've had a biscuit joiner for years, since before Lamello's patent ran out, & still use it occasionally. But not for aligning for glue ups; there are better ways of doing that. They are great at reinforcing butt joints in sheet goods projects. I just glued up a 45 degree joint in a prefab butcher block counter using double rows of biscuits. Easy, quick & strong enough.

The key to getting any strength at all with biscuits is to THOROUGHLY apply lots of glue to both the biscuit and the slot.

After saying all that, I'd go for the Domino any day over the biscuit joiner if I didn't have either.

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1 hour ago, Cliff said:

I don't like them. I have used mine on 3 projects and gotten poor results. I don't know if I mess it up every time or what but my panels do not come out nearly as well as not using biscuits.

@Cliff in this one.  Even though I have gotten great results with biscuits, cauls are a better choice.

An no one has mentioned the WORST part of using a biscuit joiner - cutting into a biscuit!  Aggggg that sucks!

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3 minutes ago, Pug said:

An no one has mentioned the WORST part of using a biscuit joiner - cutting into a biscuit!  Aggggg that sucks!

No worse than cutting into a domino..

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2 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

 

I don't have a biscuit cutter OR a domino, and so far, I don't feel particularly under-priviledged.

 

Watching stuff like this:

 

 

 

on youtube has convinced me that almost all of MY tools are pure luxury...

That is cool as heck. Apparently he has no intention of getting married.

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  • 2 months later...

Interesting thread. I recently heard someone criticize biscuit joints, and I thought he was probably in the minority. But it seems that many of you see limited use for one, if any use. 

I searched for a thread about it because I'm currently doing a project that involves gluing 2 1/2" pieces together. My thought is that biscuits don't do much as far as adding strength to the glue joint. If I can align the pieces without biscuits, then the biscuits would be an unnecessary step. 

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On 5/9/2016 at 1:54 PM, gee-dub said:

 

I found that for alignment they are not accurate at all

That's exactly the issue I had. Biscuits have been zero help in aligning. I don't know if I'm an idiot or what but my best glue ups have all been with no helpers.

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