none of the biscuit jointers I've used could cut the slot in the
bottom of a dado. in a rabbet you might be able to get in there with
most of the shoe hanging over the edge. I can see how adding a biscuit
to a dado or rabbet might make a strong joint, but seems more hassle
than it's worth to me.
I suspect that if you really need the wood version of cordon bleu, you
could cut a mortise in the bottom of the dado. Cut away part of the
tongue in the other piece, and then cut an equivalent mortise into that
piece. If you made the mortise the narrow width of the biscuit and the
depth in each piece half the length of the biscuit, you could then place
the biscuit into the mortise when you joint the pieces.
With the biscuits length perpendicular to the edge of the piece it could
add a fair amount of strength. This would be like the Egyptian method
of cutting biscuits in their 3000 year old sarcophagi.
"dan" <> wrote:
: Can you put a biscuit in a dado or rabbit? Would you even want to?
While everyone is giving you grief, I'll attempt to give a straight
answer. Generally, people use splines in dados and rabbets. There's
no reason to cut a long straight groove and put a short, round thing
in it. Think of a spline as a long, shallow rectangular biscuit cut
to fit a dado or rabbet.
A related joint is a floating tenon joint, which you can think of as a
rectangular biscuit, although it's usually deeper and narrower than a
biscuit. Also called a loose tenon joint.
Mortise & Tenon
To address your original question and clarify the above, in joinery,
biscuits are used to reinforce butt and miter joints and would not
traditionally be used in "housing joints" like rabbet, or in dadoes.
A spline, in traditional joinery, is actually related to the "tongue and
groove" joint and is considered a "loose tongue".
A "loose" or "floating" tenon is an element of "mortise and tenon" joinery.
If you get a chance, grab a copy of Day and Jackson's "Good Wood Joints", a
handy reference on the traditional uses of the many types of woodworking
joints, their terminology, and the regional differences in same.
Been there, done that...
When I first got into biscuits, I thought they were fantastic and that I'd use a
LOT of them..
Reality sort of set in after a while, and I realized that they were great for
some things, but with a tight joint and good glue, they were over kill in most
I built a few jigs like this one of Ken's,
And they're great for drawers and stuff where you need accurate, repeatable
Please remove splinters before emailing
The reason I ask is that I'm building some shop cabinets and right now
for my template cabinet I'm using rabbet ends and a dado center
support. This is taking a considerable amount of time to do cutting the
rabbets and dado with a router. I plan to build between 10-15 of these.
I was thinking biscuits could reduce my time, but I don't want to do
that at the expense of strength (normal usage shop cabinets).
They used to be a mainstay of buiders and woodworkers. But has fallen on
hard times with many people now considering them to be some kind of monster
consuming poor innocents everywhere. Many people like the newer and smaller
sliding compound miter saw.
Tom Watson, one of the most experienced cabinetmakers on this forum,
recently posted an excellent treatise/method of plywood top/bottom/end
panel, and intermediate shelf joinery in a recent thread with the subject
Do yourself a favor and take a look at it. He also posted pictures on APBW
To cut back on your time, using Tom's or any other method, consider "batch"
cutting your dados for your tops, bottoms and shelves all at one time in a
wider sheet of plywood, then rip these to the project width of the end
Besides the time savings, a big plus in doing it this way is that your
center shelves will be guaranteed level (providing you take pains in
correctly setting up for the center dado cut using a single top or bottom
edge as a "reference" edge).
On the subject of biscuits for your application ... they are basically
intended for reinforcing "butt joints", so, while you may sacrifice a bit of
strength when compared to a housed joint, for your application biscuit
joinery may well be quite sufficient.
I've done lots of work and saved Tom's description and pictures.
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