High-end biscuit joiner vs low-end

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Chef Juke wrote:

The Porter Cable 557 comes with a 4" blade for standard biscuits and a 2" blade for the smaller face frame biscuits. The DeWalt DW682 has the 4" blade only.
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Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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I bought the Dewalt about 2 months ago. I've used it twice so far to cut a dozen slots. It seems to be a solid, well made tool. The settings make sense and are easy to understand.
The first time I used it was for a face frame. I had some trouble with the slots being aligned. I ended up measuring them and found they were off by about 1mm. I did use the same reference face by the way. I recut the slots with more attention to how I was holding the tool and managed to get them aligned OK.
The second time I used it was for edge banding around a plywood top. The edge banding was around 2 1/4" wide. This time I did a lot better but still had 1 slot that didn't align quite right. After a lot of measuring it turned out that the slot was fine but the piece had managed to warp itself overnight.
I probably need some more experience with the tool in order to judge consistency. I don't have a proper bench yet so I had to adapt a bit. I didn't use the top handle of the tool. Instead I used my free hand to hold the fence down onto the work... I also noticed that it's fairly easy to tilt the tool after you place it on the piece you're cutting. This causes the blade to cut at an angle and then the biscuit doesn't align right. Trying different biscuits in the same slots also seems to make a difference.
I could really use some tips on getting slots cut correctly the first time.
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I can warn you of one problem that most every one experiences. If cutting slots in the edge or end of a board "do not" use the surface of the bench as the reference for the plate joiner if your good surface is not on the up side. Use the fence on the tool for reference and be sure that the material being cut overhangs the end of the work bench so that the plate joiner dies not accidentally come in contact with bench top.
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On Wed, 4 Jun 2008 13:50:18 -0500, "Leon"

Why? I don't see what the problem would be.
-dickm
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wrote:

Typically you mark the good side so that you can reference everything with out having to think the reverse. Very commonly solid wood is attached to the edge of plywood and unless both are perfectly the same thickness you can throw off the height location of the slot being cut. If one board is thicker than the other and the good side is up your slots will be off the same distance as the difference in thicknesses. If you let the fence rest on the material rather than having the plate joiner base setting on the bench the upper surfaces are correctly referenced.
Add to that if you are using the bench surface to reference the plate joiner to the material, debris can often raise the plate joiner up and throw off the slot locations.
Add to that if the material is slightly warped and bows and you use the bench surface to reference the plate joiner it will cut the slot lower down from the top surface of the material. The plate joiner should always be referenced off of its fence for consistent cuts.
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wrote:

I used to be a Rockwell only user, then I switched (for no particular reason) to DeWalt and about a year ago I switched to Porter Cable. I've been happiest, so far, with Porter Cable. They just seem to be better and put a little more thoughtfulness into their products. A real thorn in my side with DeWalt is the damn cases they make for their tools. They are the most ill conceived pieces of crap I've ever seen. That might be the ultimate reason I switched. I think it's just like everything else, the eye of the beholder.
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I'm JC and I approved this message.





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Thanks JC ..this is just the kind of comparison info I was looking for
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wrote:

I just can't justify a $500 biscuit joiner. My Skil biscuit joiner is not the best, but I might use it 4-5 times a year in favor of traditional joinery. The dust collection bag is useless and I always end up shooting sawdust all over the place, but it does cut a nice accurate slot. The Lamello biscuits are better than PC biscuits, but either one will do.
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Phisherman wrote:

Hook it up to a shop vac. Works like a charm with my PC joiner.
Chris
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On Wed, 04 Jun 2008 15:51:58 -0600, Chris Friesen

I do the same with my DeWalt and a $20 Craftsman "Auto Switch"
It all works like a charm, and the hose and switch are also handy with sanders, the Kreg Jig, etc...
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Just want to add that dust collection on the Dewalt is excellent with a shop vac. I'd suggest laying hands on the PC and the DW to see which one you like best.
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wrote:

I was at the New England show where it was a contest between the DW and the Makita 3901. The Makita was about $25 cheaper so that was it. Never had any regrets. A great tool and used a lot.
Barry
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I had a DeWalt and ended up exchanging it for a Porter Cable, for some reason the depth setting on mine (and the three stores near me, Lowes, Woodcraft and Home Despot) wouldn't do anything less than a large biscuit no matter what setting I turned it to. The Woodcraft guys were perplexed. In the end I exchanged it for a Porter Cable, and while the gear drive for the head is a bit nosier, I've otherwise been quite happy with it.
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MT - Diagonally parked in a parallel universe.


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make
Maybe so. I'm willing to bet however, that the Domino will make major inroads on that market. Lamello brand isn't cheap so if one might be willing to spend the bucks on one, then it's not that further a reach to buy the Domino.
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wrote in message

I have the Domino and the PC 557 and PC556. The Domino is superior in all respects. IMHO it will make Lamello have to rethink its pricing policy.
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"Leon" wrote

And/or its technology.
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I was almost going to add that but regardless of the technology of the Plate joiner, you still have to use biscuits as the fastener. The Domino's are superior. Now if Lamello develops something better than the Domino, that would be a way to go.
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I am not going to guess at what Lamello is considering. It takes a particular kind of company to innovate, particularly in today's market. It must be fustrating for them. They were considered top of the line for so many years. And this upstart Festool comes along and just blows them out of the water in a catagory not known before.
If I was Lamello, I would be looking at alternatives to the generic biscut. And like you mentioned, I would target the Domino as the machine to compete with. If they came up with a machine that could do a little more than the domino at a good price point, that would a good start.
One problem with trying to compete with Festool is that they don't just make one tool. They have a whole family of tools. And that family just gets bigger and bigger. And we all know how hard it is to compete with families.
Soooooo....., even if Lamello did make a good alternative to a biscut joiner, a lot of folks would end up going with Festool because of their complete line. After all, when you get to this level, you aren't just competeing on price anymore. (Besides, they wouldn't have a systainer!)
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Festool has been around since 1925, Lamello 1944, I think Festool is due. ;~)
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I think it's going to be worse than that. Despite it's exorbitant price, I can envision the Domino killing off most of the biscuit joiner market. It might take a little while, but it will happen. A slightly different but mostly similar competition will enter the market and the biscuit joiner will become a relic that only will only be used by very few.
I'd liken it to a recent news story I saw on SUV's. Because of the gas crunch, fewer and fewer people are buying them and they're being sold at well below blue book value. At a certain point there comes a time when you can't lower the price anymore because it's going to cost you money. Lamello will see that relatively soon I think.
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