Slightly off topic but I looked at the prices for the biscuits at HD while I
was looking at the joiners and I noticed that were priced at about $5 for
50. When I got back to the office, I checked Lee Valley and they sell them
for $11.50 for 200 or $39.50 for 1000. I think I'll be buying mine at LV.
They ship via UPS and according to shipping instructions, UPS charges $16
for the brokerage fees plus shipping charges. I'll stick to Lee Valley.
So we're all supposed to guess you're not in the US after you mentioned
Home Depot? <G>
It's still a good deal for those who are, or if you need something else
from them, or wait for it... can walk in! <G>
What brand are you using. I have some Freud's and they are just as likely
to fall in the slot or need to be hammered. I keep them in a Tupperware
container. I strongly believe that brand has a lot to do with how well they
hold up in humid conditions. Or maybe it may likely be the quality control
at the factory. They may always have had to be hammered or soaked in water
for a decent fit. LOL.
I have both PC brand that I've had around for years, in a size I don't use
very often, and some that I do that I bought in a huge bag at the
woodworking show a few years ago.
Maybe, like plywood, biscuits aren't what they used to be?
Speaking of which, yesterday I bought a sheet of QSWO 3/4" that had voids in
it, and a sheet of both "Russian" and "Baltic" birch 1/2" plywood that is
visibly not up the quality of the scraps left in the shop from the last time
I bought, middle of last year.
Things are more than halfway to hell in this country and you can now
see/feel the heat in things like plywood in just a few months time.
Well, mebbe. Sometimes.
The neighbor who got me into this hobby was building a television stand
for one of his friends from work. Really nice oak veneer plywood.
Picked up at the local HD.
Some days, you're the windshield. Other days, the bug. ;-)
hold up in humid conditions. Or maybe it may >likely be the quality control at
the factory. They may always >have had to be hammered or soaked in water
Leon I have been using the Porter Cable Brand for a long time and
they have a pretty consistent "not quite snug finger push fit". I buy
them at Amazon since they have the best price with free shipping on
the 1000 pack.
I actually bought one of those 1000 biscuit packs of #20s and used
everything down to the last few broken ones. It literally took about
3 years, and they were always in that bag with the top folded over.
That's it for humidity protection. And while we aren't Houston we can
hold our own with humidity. (It has lightened up this morning and is
a mild 74% this morning.) I never had swelling issues. Besides, I was
on another tack: like flooring, I wanted my biscuits to swell as much
as possible BEFORE using them so they wouldn't swell inside a joint.
But I never had a swelling problem there, either.
I only have an occasional biscuit that is larger or looser than the
rest. I am suspecting quality control as well as I would bet none of
these guys make their own biscuits, but actually job them out.
This is one of those issues that was a favorite a couple of years ago
on the group and people reported that they saw swelling of their
joints at the biscuit points. I always wondered if they were the guys
that hammered or tapped the biscuits in. If I find one they won't go
in with finger pressure or a very slight tap, at 0.02 each, I'll set
that one aside.
That's more information than I need.
ohhh the biscuits...naaa.. I never had a problem with them either...
other than some cheapos I bough, which were all over the map in
thickness, and flaked apart. But that os years ago. Now I spend a few
extra dollars, and enjoy Lamello brand biscuits. I hear the Keebler
ones aren't too bad either.
Hey, at least it isn't as bad as it was many years ago. High humidity
was as good an excuse as any for swelling issues!
I actually decided that after my personal experience with the biscuits
not needing a sterile, zero humidity, temperature controlled
environment that it was an issue that I should ignore on this venue.
Long held beliefs that are parroted by someone without actual
experience can be hard to shake loose.
Almost as bad are the talented and experienced. Once they have
something in their head... >>it must be right<< because they have
A while back, TW posted a very pithy reply to someone about the
biscuit joiner not having any value as a mechanical joining
mechanism. I never having believed that, I posted response with my
own crude experiments showing that it indeed, did. Then for something
for the more high toned, I posted a link to a commissioned study that
proved that in certain circumstances, not all, the biscuit joiner was
indeed a viable mechanical fastening device.
TW never responded. Even with a virtual plethora of empirical data
including the foundations of the testing protocols, he just went
away. Not one comment.
Now sitting here thinking, usually there was an announcement of the
farewell tour of a month or so before he left. Did I miss that?
I'm not looking for the additional strength but more to help with alignment
issues when gluing up a panel. I've spent too much time planing and sanding
a panel to make it flat and needed a quicker solution. I'm sure there are
other solutions that are cheaper but hopefully this will work well for me.
Biscuits do help with that goal, however they are not the final solution as
it generally takes a combination of methods/techniques, plus good clamps, to
get flat panels/parts.
Both edges being joined obviously need to be either 90 degrees, or
complementary angles, that add to 90 degrees. One way to insure this is an
edge joining technique whereby you alternate opposite faces of each joint
against the joiner fence, thereby insuring complementary angles even if
there is a slight discrepancy in either your table saw rip blade, or the
After setting up the biscuit joiner, make sure that you cut all parts from
the same "reference" edge/face.
Also make sure that you use just the right amount of clamping pressure so as
not to bow the panel.
A final little trick I use during the glue-up is to add "clamp assists" on
the opposite ends of each glue joint. These help keep the panels/parts flat
and surfaces aligned when under clamping pressure:
Or got to the Jigs and Fixtures page and scroll down to "I-beams/clamp
Just drill a number of aligned 1" holes in a long board, then rip down the
middle, then crosscut to size. I make boxes of these things at a time ...
like clamps, you can't have too many.
Good luck. I have not been to impressed by the alignment capabilities of
biscuits, specially when gluing up panels. Always seems there is some
mismatch and, with the biscuit in the joint, that mismatch is permanent. I
quit using them for this reason. When gluing up panels, no biscuits means
more slipping around but the parts can be pushed into alignment with hammer,
cauls, et. With biscuits, they're stuck.
> I'm not looking for the additional strength but more to help with
> issues when gluing up a panel. I've spent too much time planing and
SFWIW, I don't even try.
Glue up oversize panels, then head for the drum sander shop.
End up with sanded to size (thickness) panels, no pain, no strain.
Heh. About 6 years ago I built a 2-seater with a slatted back for some friends.
All the slats were put in with bisquits. A couple of (hyperactive) kids have
been using that thing as a jungle gym ever since. Still as good'n tight as the
day the glue set.
I think it helps to use the good compressed beech Lamello bisquits rather than
some softwood junk, though. I've seen bisquits that looked like reconstituted
pine to me :-\
firstname dot lastname at gmail fullstop com
I used to use PC and do recall them being less of a problem. Seems the more
recent biscuits are the ones with the problem. IIRC I would get 10-12 thick
ones in a new bundle of 1000. I have been using a plate joiner since 1989
and have used thousands. I really seldom use the new 557, well new 7 to 9
years ago, because of the inconsistancies in the biscuits that I was
getting. In the batch of biscuits that I was using last week I bet every
other biscuit hade to be hammered or persuaded with the clamps to close the
gap. Normally I would toss the biscuit but I was afraid I would run out. I
solved that problem with the Domino, I hope. ;~)
Either way I think the swelling is probably a mistaken condition that is
probably a QC problem 99% of the time with certain brands. IIRC I got a
deal on Lamello biscuits many years ago and they were very good.
Really and truely, if you consider that they are all stored in the same
place, if swelling was an issue it should affect all of them, not just a
few. Probably further proof that it is a QC problem rather than a swelling
Now here is a hoot, I just measured my biscuits. Not sure of the blrand
but they have 20 USA on the side and hace a small diamopnd pattern around
the flat and surface where the lettering is. They measured any where from
.1565" to .1590" in thickness, a difference of up to 2.5 thousandths. Not
In another container P -o-C on one side and 0 USA on the other and they
measure .1460", .1645", .1580", .1655", a difference of almost 2 hundredths.
So much for PC. LOL
According to PC their cutter cuts in widths of .155" to .160" 2 of the 4
biscuits would be a tight fit.
Due to the discussion hereabouts I paid attention this afternoon while using
both #20, and #FF biscuits, to frame 3/4" ply with 2" wide 3/4" oak edging.
The PC #FF biscuits for the mitered corners were all over the place in
thickness, but only one out the one's I grabbed didn't go in with finger
pressure. It was a different color, much darker than the others.
It dawned on me that the mitered end grain FF biscuit cut would have been a
job for the Domino ... it would have kept me from having to change the 557's
big cutter for the FF cutter.
Hmmm .... ;)
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.