Biscuits

Hi group, I have a question about plate biscuits. How tight should they fit in the biscuit slot? I'm using # 20 biscuits and cut the slot with a 5/32" slot cutter on a router ( I don't own a biscuit jointer and this a new thing for me) it seemed loose to me. I then switched to a 1/8" cutter and the fit was much better, snug, press fit by hand. You don't have to drive them in. Does one have to allow space for the glue? Is that the biscuit cutter setups for routers use a 5/32" cutter? Thanks, Jim
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Sun, Jan 27, 2008, 4:54pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@remove.earthlink.net (James) doth sayeth: Hi group, I have a question about plate biscuits. How tight should they fit in the biscuit slot? <snip> With a good gravey, it shouldn't matter.
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5/32 works for common biscuits (# 10 & 20 ). The actual size is 4 millimeters, but 5/32 is quite close.
The initial fit is loose because the biscuits swell with the moisture absorbed from the glue. The biscuits are actually made of compressed wood, typically beech, that is intended to expand. Because of this, you should be using a water based glue.
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Robert Haar wrote:

I will probably be using Titebond III. Jim
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Couple of web sites to check: All about Biscuit Joiners: http://www.woodzone.com/articles/biscuit/biscuit_joiner.htm
Biscuit Joiner Tips and Tricks http://www.homeenvy.com/db/9/149.html
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It should be "very" easy to put in the slot but snug enough that it will not fall out of a dry slot when turned upside down.
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On Sun, 27 Jan 2008 16:54:10 -0000, "James"

The fit should be such that the biscuit can be inserted without any force. The biscuit swells when wet with glue or even moisture. Keep biscuits stored in an air-tight container.
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For some reason I feel compelled to repeat what I read here on the wreck some years back: biscuits not only swell, but they often swell and then shrink a little. I think it's because some of the moisture goes into the surrounding wood.
If you sand before they shrink - which is usually about 24 hours - there will be small depressions in the panel and they're usually not noticeable until you've got a nice shiny finish on it. Most of us wait a day anyway but if you're in a hurry it's something to keep in mind. Even if the glue dries nice and quick those biscuits might not.
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Does a test biscuit fit better if you wet it and let it swell up?
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says...

You could get a 4mm router bit, that would cut exactly the right size slot.
Having said that, bisquit joiners have come down in price a lot (at least around here), Lamello and Makita are very nice ... much safer, more convenient and quicker than a router I'd bet.
-P.
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