biscuit joints

going to be fitting some wood worktops soon apart from the "dog & bone" fixings is it a good idea to fit a couple of biscuits in there as well, straight butt joints. If so, can you use a router to cut the holes for the biscuits. I have a router but not a B/ joiner. Anyone done this, where did you get the router bit? Anything I should know about using biscuits as I have never used them before or seen them being used. I assume you glue them into the joint or should you leave them free. As you can tell any advise appreciated!! many thanks, Simon
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them
==============================Just because some manufacture came up with the idea of a standalone Biscuit jointer does not mean you can't use the Router as one. no one ever heard of dowling the joint.
Just get a strait flute quater inch place router over the side of worktop with the guide on top and plunge the router in to the desired level. Go get some doweling and hey a better joint.
Grouch
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simon beer wrote:

Certainly won't hurt - should help keep everything in alignment as well.

yes
You can get biscuit cutters from Trend and most of the well known bit makers. Some come as sets with interchangeable bearings to provide the different depth of cuts required for the different sized biscuits. Screwfix also do each size individually.
http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?id ˆ398&ts‡685

You glue them in. The biscuits are made of (usually) compressed beach wood - they are very tough and designed to expand slightly when they come into contact with the glue - hence they also create an "interference" fit.
Using biscuits with a router is a little more tricky than with a jointer because the diameter of the cutter is not the "right" size. The cutter in a jointer can make the right sized slot in one plunge action. With the router you will need to plunge the cutter in and then move to the side enough to create a wide enough slot. Having said that it is pretty straight forward.
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On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 19:23:34 -0000, "simon beer"

It is certainly worth using some biscuits because they will give you an accurate vertical alignment.
It would be better to use a biscuit jointer, but for this application a suitable cutter (e.g. a Trend one) used carefully would work. With a biscuit jointer there are generally at least three settings for the major biscuit sizes being 0, 10 and 20 - with 20 being the largest. Progressively the slots need to be cut wider and deeper.
For this application, it doesn't matter too much if you make the slot a bit longer than necessary and it doesn't matter within reason if they are slightly deeper than half a biscuit. What is really important is not to make the slots wider - the biscuits should be a light friction fit. Any wider and the worktops are free to move vertically and the exercise is pointless.
I used number 20 beech biscuits, and in a worktop 600mm or so deep used five per joint. Offer up the worktops together and mark the positions in pencil then cut the slots.
The beech biscuits work by swelling in the presence of water. Generally I use an aliphatic yellow wood glue such as Titebond, although for a worktop, especially a chipboard one, I prefer to use polyurethane glue. With a water based glue, the edges and slots and the biscuits themselves should have glue brushed onto them and the joint assembled. With polyurethane glue, I tend to apply glue to the edges of the material and in the slots but to dip the biscuits briefly in water - not for too long because you don't want a soggy biscuit.
Assemble the pieces and you can clamp using the dog and bone fixings. Do them up almost tight before finally aligning the worktops horizontally and vertically and then tighten. If you use polyurethane glue, you need to work quite quickly because it begins curing quite quickly as evidenced by foaming from the joint. You can wipe off the foam with a rag soaked in meths before it cures or it will scrape off afterwards.
It's an idea to wear some latex gloves if you use polyurethane glue because it will remain on your fingers for a week otherwise. PU glue cures in about four hours. I would leave aliphatic glue overnight in this application.
.andy
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wrote:

sniped
It's a wood worktop. Was going to use PVA but are the glues you talk about better? Never heard of Titebond, where would I get it and do you have the name of a polyurethane glue. Which would you recommend for a wooden worktop. Think I'll get the biscuit jointer that PoP has linked to at screwfix, should be ok for the little use that I will give it.
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On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 21:48:44 -0000, "simon beer"

You can use white PVA if you like - it takes rather longer than yellow aliphatic glue to cure. For this application, not that big a deal.
Titebond is a brand name and there are several types. They do an original version with a red top, a waterproof with a blue top and then various other types. Most of the online tool sites carry it - I generally get mine from Axminister Power Tools. Web site for Titebond is www.titebond.com

There are numerous ones. I believe the original was called Gorilla glue, There's a Titebond one and several others. After opening, it is a good idea to squeeze out any air before putting on the top and not a bad idea to keep it in the fridge. Moisture from the air will make it spoil after a while. Really good stuff, but as I say avoid the fingers with it.

I just put a beech one together for my office and used polyurethane. It takes about 4hrs to completely cure.

One other tip to add is to make sure that there aren't any chippings or bits of sawdust under the fence as you cut because again it will offset the cut.
.andy
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On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 19:23:34 -0000, "simon beer"

Definitely fit biscuits. There should be at least 2 biscuits for a regular worktop joint - midway between the gaps between the 3 worktop bolts.
As for biscuit jointer, don't write off the one available from Screwfix:
http://tinyurl.com/2jgep
For £35 you get a useful tool which will make biscuit jointing very simple - no messing about setting up router bits, and as the router bits are heading towards £10 each you wouldn't take long to justify the cost.
I've got this biscuit jointer and it does a fine job. The only cautionary note I would offer is that make sure you press the jointer plate down firmly onto the top of the worktop before diving the cutter in. If you don't then you could line up the worktop joint incorrectly. Believe it or not it's easy to assume the plate is level on the surface of the worktop without applying much pressure, and that could easily lead to disaster.
PoP
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wrote:

the
did
them
looks worth having at that price. Are all biscuits the same thickness, just longer and wider?
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On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 21:40:25 -0000, "simon beer"

Essentially yes, in the common 0,10,20 sizes.
You can also buy various other fittings such as plastic joiners, hinges, etc. that will work with this system
.andy
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On Mon, 16 Feb 2004 21:40:25 -0000, "simon beer"
snip

Personally I have nearly given up on using a biscuit joiner to assist in joining boards/worktops etc. I 've had as many bad joints as good ones. Wind in the wrong direction or an 'R' ion the month tends to throw them out and when a biscuit jointed join is out of alignment there is no cure apart from tearing the joint apart and removing the offending biscuit.
I might add that I have been using these machines for over 12 years. The first machine I had was the original Elu which plunged with a sideways movement. An excellent machine it had the ability to adjust the position of the slot in a 90 degree direction with relation to the slot itself, (Only the best Lamellos can do this now I believe), I dropped it once too often which did nothing for its accuracy.
Current machine is a Bosch (after rejecting two DeWalt). Its a nice machine, as accurate as the Elu was, if not built quite as strong.
Still hanker after the Lamello but with access to a line boring machine I don't biscuit joint as much as I once did.
Paul Mc Cann
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