Gluing up panels use biscuts?

I am making a cradle for our first grandchild out of 1/2 inch oak (glued up panels). I always have alignment problems when edge gluing so I am thinking about using dry (no glue ) biscuts to help keep things even, anyone else done this and did it work? Thanks for any and all help. Larry
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Wed, Jan 2, 2008, 8:20pm snipped-for-privacy@fuse.net (larry) doth query: I am making a cradle for our first grandchild out of 1/2 inch oak (glued up panels). I always have alignment problems when edge gluing so I am thinking about using dry (no glue ) biscuts to help keep things even, anyone else done this and did it work? Thanks for any and all help.   Larry
I'm not a fan of cradles. Use for a few weeks, the kid outgrows it, then it's a dust catcher, and in the way. Make a rocking chair instead, and use it for years.
Not a fan of toy boxes with lids, for little kids either.
JOAT You can't always judge by appearances, the early bird may have been up all night.
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I don't often agree with JOAT, but this time I do. Seventeen years ago, I built a cradle in anticipation of the arrival of my daughter. It is a rocking cradle with a hood, based on an old colonial design. We took some photos of her in the cradle, but in truth, we never used it much. The cradle was too close to the floor to be practical. Nobody wants to squat down to their knees with that precious cargo in their arms. Much easier to just put her in her bed, or in the carrier thing. She outgrew it very fast too. Then my son arrived at 9 pounds 12 ounces. He filled the cradle up from day one! When I build another cradle, it will be the swinging type that sits higher off the floor.
Now to your question. Unless the boards are warped and need to be forced into alignment, I haven't found biscuits to be that much help. The biscuit has a little bit of slop that allows a little misalignment. I can do better aligning by gluing just one joint at a time and paying close attention to alignment. When you only have one joint to fiddle with, you can get pretty close, even without biscuits. Instead of biscuits, I've gone back to my doweling jig for joints that need help in alignment. It's slow, but more accurate. I like the other suggestions to start with over-thickness boards and plane or drum sand to final thickness after glue-up, even if it means taking the panels to another shop. Don't forget to leave room on each end for planer snipe.
DonkeyHody "Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas Carlyle
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Thu, Jan 3, 2008, 5:49am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net (DonkeyHody) doth sayeth: I don't often agree with JOAT, but this time I do. <snip>
No prob. I just remembered, there is one type of cradle I approve of, besides doll cradles that is. That's a rocking chair cradle, half rocking chair, half cradle. Then when the kid gets too big for the cradle part you can let the cat sleep in it, to h old knitting, magazines, et al. I would hav said to keep a cooler of beer, but you don't want to shake beer up, so keep the cooler on t he floor or a small table.
JOAT You can't always judge by appearances, the early bird may have been up all night.
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1/2" is too thin to use biscuits. instead, get the mating surfaces nice and straight and square, so they fit well with no gaps. prime both mating surfaces with thinned glue, let it get almost dry, apply full strength glue and do the glue up. use wide masking tape for the clamps, a piece about 6" long spanning the joint and pulled tight about every 4 or 5 inches along the joint on each side of the panel. keep the alignment with cauls across the face. do your thicknessing after glue up.
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"larry" wrote:

1/2" tough to keep aligned.
Personally, I wouldn't sweat it.
Glue up 5/8"-3/4" panels. If they are not aligned, NBD.
Allow about 2 weeks to cure, then take them to a commercial drum sander and size to 1/2".
Lew
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Is not!
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(Larry W) wrote:

well, OK, there's room enough to get a biscuit in. however, it leaves danm little wood on either side of it, and biscuits have a habit of swelling in place. the odds of it showing up as an ellipse shaped lump shortly after you apply the finish and deliver the piece are pretty high.
I don't use biscuits on anything thinner than 3/4", and then I shift them a bit towards the back side of the joint.
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You could probably create a tongue and groove joint with a few rip cuts with your 1/8 in blade on your table saw almost as fast, if boards are too narrow for biscuits. An 1/8 inch cut on each side of tongue end and two 1/8 inch passes, direction reversed, on groove edge. No matter what you do some sanding. scraping or hand planing is almost always necessary.. Make sure you let joint dry for at least 24 hrs to make sure all swelling has gone away..
http://www.woodworkingtips.com/etips/etip021206sn.html
http://www.woodmagazine.com/wood/story.jsp?storyid=/templatedata/wood/story/data/237.xml
http://canadianhomeworkshop.com/toolbox/toolbox_edge_gluing.shtml

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Sure, you can use biscuits to help with alignment. The only reason I don't do it is the extra time it takes but it is really nice to have them for alignment. You could glue them too, no problem with that.
1/2" is pretty thin but if your design has enough structure you should be able to pull them flat during assembly if you get any warping. Be careful not to ly them down on the bench or floor so one side is exposed and one not. Always keep even air flow on both sides until you get the box assembled.
The cradle can be a great toy for baby dolls if it is a grand- daughter. Or even just a great keep-sake. Make sure you read up to see if there are any dangers to avoid in the design. I know that cribs have lots of dangers that have been designed out over the years and older cribs are pretty much illegal to sell and shouldn't be passed down.
Sounds like a great project. Maybe you could use some exposed dovetails at the corners! Did anyone see the Popes outer casket with those big dovetails a few years ago?
BW

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larry wrote:

Yes, and Yes.
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For some reason I had the problem of biscuits telegraphing after finishing glued panels aligned using them. It was with 3/4" cherry boards that had been sanded through 220 grit paper with a satin poly finish. You could only see the problem in certain light but was clearly visible. I did use glue sparingly on the biscuits. I use dowels to align my glue-ups since and have had no problems. I would worry about the 1/2" material doing the same. Of course the biscuits would certain work in 1/2" stock but I would use a few dowels instead. A spline would work also.
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bookman wrote:

The OP asked about dry biscuits.
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wrote:

The problem with biscuits, especially in thin material, is that they swell. That's what they're supposed to do, right? But in thin material, they swell and deform the surface. If you go back and sand them level again, when the biscuits start to dry and shrink again, you're left with little divots in the wood where you sanded it flat.
I think you're right in this case, use dowels for alignment, or perhaps even better, metal pins that won't swell or contract at all.
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On Jan 4, 8:51�pm, Brian Henderson

The problem with biscuits is that you can't be sure we've heard the final word on them. When they came out, Norm was fawning over them like someone had reinvented the nail. They added "a lot of strength" to the join. Then he noticed these little bumps appearing on his stuff and he wasn't so sure about the. Later, he was gluing up table top halves and using bicuits "for alignment purposes because they don't add that much strength" to the panel. I'm waiting for the next biscuit chapter.
Personally I get better alignment results with cauls than with biscuits anyway.
FoggyTown
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wrote:

Agreed, I don't use my biscuit jointer all that much these days and I see the same phenomenon going on with the Domino right now. It's revolutionary! Just wait 5 years and we'll see.

That would be my suggested way of going but a lot of people can't put a joint together without some kind of alignment device stuck in the middle.
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"larry" wrote

IME, the thinner the material, the greater the possibility of clamping/alignment issues can arise during panel glue-ups. No problem using dry biscuits in 1/2" stock to help with this if you think it necessary.
Dry biscuits shouldn't telegraph in 1/2", can make clamping panel glue-ups a bit less fussy, and that alone is often enough to save the day .... not that they're necessary by any means.
Glued biscuits with anything less than 1/4" of material to the stock face is asking for trouble, IME ... but you are obviously aware of this.
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How about cutting a 1/16 or 1/8 slot in eash edge, and use a spline? If doing this, should the spline grain run accross the joint for strength? Thanks, Cliff
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