..Kev

Triton Dual Dowel Machine

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32 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

Doesn't Darrell Peart make alot of his furniture with biscuit joints? What kind of experts are we talking about? I respect Marc but i'm not sure i'd call him an expert on stuff like this, mostly because he claims not to be an expert. His words not mine.

I"m not saying that it's good by any means but does the term good enough when used properly enter, yes. Is it better than Walmart particle board with those awful cam locks? Yeah probably. Would i use them to make something with a very delicate design no. A lot of what woodworkers do is overkill to the extreme. Justify it how ever you want. 

I do find it interesting that he claims T&G is stronger.... i disagree with that. I'd call biscuits and T&G roughly equal in an end grain situation. There isn't a lot of glue area and the sides of the groove break off fairly easily.

I just chose Marc because this is his site. If you google around you'll dig up lots of articles from various magazines and such making similar claims to Marc. If you dig even harder, you'll probably find someone claiming biscuits are the strongest connection available.

I've already made my case. I think a single biscuit has poor grain orientation for a rail and stile joint compared to common alternatives. Adding a second biscuit will strengthen the joint, but doing so does add time and you certainly need to get the depth right to get a good fit. 

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3 hours ago, Chestnut said:

Doesn't Darrell Peart make alot of his furniture with biscuit joints?

Yea, I was surprised in his guild build just how much he uses them.  It seemed like he uses them way more then his domino, and his reasoning seemed sound.  He did make two points that kind of stuck with me, One, the quality of the machine and the cut that it made and two, the quality of the biscuits them selves.  It kind of made me wish I had kept mine when I got my domino.  It wasn't a Lamelo like Peart's but it was a good early model Porter Cable.

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2 hours ago, Isaac said:

I just chose Marc because this is his site. If you google around you'll dig up lots of articles from various magazines and such making similar claims to Marc. If you dig even harder, you'll probably find someone claiming biscuits are the strongest connection available.

I've already made my case. I think a single biscuit has poor grain orientation for a rail and stile joint compared to common alternatives. Adding a second biscuit will strengthen the joint, but doing so does add time and you certainly need to get the depth right to get a good fit. 

Woah woah woah. I'm not claiming it's good by any means. In the ranking of connections methods it's just above a strait end grain to face grain glue joint. I"m just saying where used properly it can be acceptable and it's an option to do woodworking over not doing anything. I'd rather see a beginner use biscuits and get hooked than fail at M&T or other techniques get discouraged and toss in the towel.

People make it seem like the biscuits and the biscuit joiners aren't worth anything. The joint has greater strength than 0 not by much but alas 0.1 is still greater than 0. Rail and stile is not the place for them neither is apron to leg. unless your apron is 12" tall and you put like 6 biscuits in there, even that seems foolish.

Trying to keep this lighthearted and friendly.

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45 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

Woah woah woah. I'm not claiming it's good by any means. In the ranking of connections methods it's just above a strait end grain to face grain glue joint. I"m just saying where used properly it can be acceptable and it's an option to do woodworking over not doing anything. I'd rather see a beginner use biscuits and get hooked than fail at M&T or other techniques get discouraged and toss in the towel.

People make it seem like the biscuits and the biscuit joiners aren't worth anything. The joint has greater strength than 0 not by much but alas 0.1 is still greater than 0. Rail and stile is not the place for them neither is apron to leg. unless your apron is 12" tall and you put like 6 biscuits in there, even that seems foolish.

Trying to keep this lighthearted and friendly.

Its all good. I was just surprised to be questioned on it so much when it is pretty widely held belief, so it is not just my belief. On the other hand, I'm not just parroting someone else here, I've already made a specific case for why I think it is notably inferior connection to other common options. A dowel jig is cheaper than a biscuit joiner. :) 

It is better than nothing. No one is disputing that. 

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No expert greater than Norm Abrams used biscuits on a regular basis, but I think it's important to pay attention to the way he used them.  He used them when joining two long grain edges of planks together.  i believe I've seen him use them for apron to leg connection but in those cases I'm certain it was light weight, low use instances and not as a replacement for a tenon.  The point needs to be made that they were not used as the single method of joint but rather that the surfaces to be mated were also liberally applied with glue.  While he rarely said it, he would not have claimed the biscuit added any strength to the joint.  They were for alignment and the strength of the joint came from the adhesive bond.

Further, I've never found biscuits that had a grain because the ones I've used were composites, essentially particle board.  The lack of grain, in my opinion, would make them even weaker.

I guess the key to the discussion, in my opinion is to know how to use the right tool for the application and then to know what the addition of that tool really adds to the work in progress.

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1 hour ago, Byrdie said:

Further, I've never found biscuits that had a grain because the ones I've used were composites, essentially particle board.

The good ones are made from Beech.

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Hi there ! You guys are arguing about insert strength which does not really matter in frequent uses. Floating tenons, dowels, pocket holes, biscuits... have different strength for sure. BUT, as long as you use a modern wood glue, especially long grain on long grain, event without any alignment/reinforcement, the glue should be stronger than the wood itself. Obviously you can experience good results with any jointing system as long as the wood grain is properly oriented.

End-grain is another story. Only long grain brings strength to a joint. So you want at least dowels or floating tenons. Biscuits or pocket screws would be weak in this situation. Biscuits are fine with modern glue and long grain applications. You want to consider traditional joinery, engineered when glues was not as good as today's. Ask yourself if the joint can be strong enough with a rabbit skin glue or so. You would not use biscuits without a proper glue, while dowels and floating tenons can hold only with friction. QED...

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I've never seen a biscuit with the grain running straight end to end. Is always at 45*. When a properly executed joint is broken, yes, the biscuit sometimes breaks, but the wood on either side is also destroyed. I've made and broken many joints just to test this.

I have made frame and panel doors using biscuits to join rails to stiles for a bathroom cabinet and after many years of hard use, they still survive. That is a moderate stress use for which they seem to be okay. I certainly wouldn't use them for a joint that requires a great deal of strength. They are not intended for that.

Those that write off biscuits as an 'alignment aid' either don't have much experience using them, or are not installing them properly.

I know many look down their noses at biscuits (along with pocket screws), and I do agree that they don't have much of a place in fine woodworking. But when used within their intended parameters, they're a good, inexpensive, and East to use choice.

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