OK, what's the deal with my PC biscuit jointer?

Folks -
I have PC biscuit jointer (type 2) and it's not quite a year old. I know from surfing around here, that there is some sort of shim for the type 1's, IIRC.
The problem? I am building an aux 90 degree fence and I've ended up with some slop. Using the base as a reference in making my cuts the two pieces should line up exactly, but after I got everything cut, I discovered that the vertical leg of the 90 was set back from the base by about 1/32+ over the length. I used the TS table and had everything all solid and square, so I thought, but no such luck.
This isn't the first time I've had trouble with vertical creep of the biscuit slot and it keeps cropping up. I don't have any obvious slop or wobble in the cutter, so what is going on? I specifically purchased the type 2 to avoid whatever problem the shim set up attempted to solve.
Here's what I have ended up with, if you'll forgive my ASCII:
| | | | | | | | | _ | | | | | |__| |_ | * * _ _______________ | | | | |_| |______________________
The upper asterisk shows that I referenced that corner to the base of the biscuit jointer, the lower asterisk shows I referenced the upper, outside corner of the lower piece. The slot, therefore, should be exactly the same height/depth from the reference points, but it aint!
What gives?
John Moorhead Lakeport, CA
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On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 04:54:55 GMT, "john moorhead"

if I'm reading your ascii right you are referencing backward. your asterisks should meet.     Bridger
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No troll would go to the trouble of ASCII art. Do you think this could be a genuine post ?
--
The software said it ran under Windows 98/NT/2000, or better.
So I installed it on Linux...
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On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 05:19:06 GMT, "David Binkowski"

I've never seen John Moorhead troll. at least not under that name.... ; ^ )     Bridger
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Bridger -
Right you are! My illustration is worng... The single asterisk is the reference for both parts... Typing ASCII art makes my brain hurt.
I am building Jim Tolpin's "Universal Rip Fence" from his book "Tablesaw Magic" and this is the vertical fence attachment for the Bies.
The vertical fence features a cuppla threaded inserts and t track in the vertical face for fixtures, sliders and featherboards, etc. The alignment of the fence is dead on at the end of the fence, but it is misaligned slightly at the head.

What I am saying is, regardless of my illustration, I *know* I had the parts properly aligned and ref'd when I made the cuts, because I *have* made the mcsnake of getting the cuts reversed. I've had this same problem in making a simple biscuited edge joint in gluing up boards into panels. Invariably, I will have a vertical misalignment of the boards over the entire panel, say 16 x 24, of 3/32 or 1/8" (total, top & bottom) . As I see it, a properly cut biscuit joint *should* be dead on vertically as those biscuits snug up pretty quick.
I hope I've made myself clearer... Thanks for pointing out my twitchy finger.
John Moorhead
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John- I get alignment problems with the biscuit jointer too. funny, wasn't the idea of that tool to make alignment automatic? : ^ ) usually I can trace it to operator error- things like failing to notice that the board had a little bow in it so the reference surface wasn't sitting flat, or not holding the fence tight enough to the board. I reference from the bench top as much as I can- and if I were to fail to notice twist in the board I could get misalignment from end to end.
having a jig come out wonky really sucks- you can never quite trust it to make straight cuts, even if the misaligned part isn't critical....     Bridger
On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 05:24:05 GMT, "john moorhead"

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Reference the other side of the joint, lay the vertical piece over onto the flat piece, cut both joints in this position.
--
Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
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On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 04:54:55 GMT, "john moorhead"

John -
There would be no reason to expect that these parts would line up, if I understand what you are saying you did. You should have had the vertical piece in your drawing positioned with the left side from your drawing facing down, to match what you did with the horizontal piece. As I understand what you are saying, you instead had the right side facing down. Whay would you expect those slots to match? Those are different distances.
Tim Carver snipped-for-privacy@twocarvers.com
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OK, It is important to be sure that your plate joiner is hanging off the end of the board with it not touching the work surface. Basically you should be sure the wood you are cutting is at the edge of the work surface and the joiner is hanging from the wood and not accidentally setting on the work surface also. If the joiner rests on the work surface while cutting a slot you may be cutting the slot too high and throwing your alignment off. I had this problem and it took too long for me to figure what I was doing wrong.
Also, IIRC the preferred ones are the Type 1 or type 3. I believe the type 2 was the one that was changed to satisfy DeWalt and the Type 3 fixed the fence problem that the Type 1 never had.

1's,
so
same
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welcome to my world, John. I've been bitching about the crappy fence on my 557 but other folks think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. I've learned to "baby" the damn thing when cutting slots, so that they come out pretty close to perfect. Had I been a wiser man I would have purchased the Makita or Lamello...
dave
john moorhead wrote:

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John, First, if I was going to make the joint you show and wanted the LH face of the vertical board to align with the end of the bottom board, I would have referenced the slot from the LH face of the vertical board (the opposite face from what you show). In other words, reference the cut from the same side of the two surfaces that you want to be perfectly flush. That way, even if the two boards aren't exactly the same thickness, they will still perfectly align on the reference face.
The other problem I have experienced with my PC joiner is that, when I slot a 3/4" thick board while it is laying flat on a benchtop, the base of the joiner will rest on the benchtop and leave the fence about 1/32 inch above the top face of the board. This raises the slot about 1/32" above the board center. To prevent this, I have learned (the hard way), to always shim the board a small distance above the benchtop (or extend the board over the edge of the bench) to make sure that the fence references the biscuit slot from the face of the board - not the benchtop. Since I became aware of this problem, I haven't had any more trouble with mis-aligned slots with my PC joiner. Better luck next time, Jim Seelye

know
1's,
with
pieces
that
over
square, so

the
outside
same
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1/32 inch above the top face of the board
This is common with most every joiner. Learn to reference properly and you don't need to shim in the typical joint.
BAD Said>I've been bitching about the crappy fence on my 557
The "fence" has nothing to do with this particular joint. All cuts should reference off the same point and all material will be laying flat on the bench and the "fence" isn't used. The bottom of the joiner is used in this joint for reference purposes.
--
Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
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to take your comment a bit further, let me mention that I've placed workpieces on my bench and put the base on top of a 1/8" shim to get the slots in the middle, eliminating the need to use the fence. Did I mention that I hate that sloppy fence? :)
dave
Rumpty wrote:

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Dave,
I use about 10,000 biscuits a year, don't go nuts trying to get the slot in the middle of any piece of wood. Learn to reference...that's all you need to know how to do...!
FWIW, take a 3/4" piece of wood, place that 1/8" spacer under your joiner, cut a slot, now turn the piece of wood over and cut a second slot. Now you have two slots centered perfectly on the wood. (BTW this works on any thickness of wood.)
--
Rumpty

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