Larry, I recall you own some Makita tools, and I know you use your
tools. I was looking at the Makita plate joiner (J7000). If you have a
plate joiner whose precision you are very happy with, I hope that you'll
share with me which one you are using. I'm trying to make sure I choose
one with a reliable fence.
Of course, anyone is free to reply to this thread.
I've got the PC 557 which has a good fence. To be honest it hasn't
been used in sometime. If I went looking for it and it wasn't there I
would be more worried about not being able to remember what happened
to it. Some of it is having the Domino, but had better luck with
pocket screws, or splines. But that's just my opinion others may
really like and use them.
I have the 557 also, and it has been the favorite amongst the old
timer's for years, although I couldn't vouch for the current version
made in who knows where.
Basically I use mine only for gluing up flat panels and reinforcing
miter joints on wide frames, but, and not having a Domino (not worth
breaking out the Multi-Router for something the 557 can do) it's not
something I would like to be without.
Bill, I'm not sure about the other brands on the market today, but one
of the 557's selling points in years past was that it included a smaller
blade for face frame biscuit application ... although I don't use it for
face frames, it is handy to have that smaller biscuit option, used more
frequently than you would suspect at first blush.
Nothing against the Makita as I have no experience with it. I bought
the PC557 a number of years aqo not because I needed it at the time, but
because I WANTED one<g>
It sat in the shop watching all kinds of projects but rarely was called
off the bench. I think I may have used it for its intended purpose
three or four times making up some cabinet face frames and it performed
as expected. The quality and finish was top notch and I would not
hesitate to purchase it all over again... because
Among its hidden talents which I discovered out of desperation (seeking
to find an EASY way to undercut door jambs as I was installing a new
kitchen floor) is just that: undercutting door jambs for flooring.
It is WONDERFUL at that task. With the fence/blade set at its lowest
level it's "just right" for laminate flooring, such as Pergo, et al.
Going with 3/4" wood or machined hardwood, etc. just make a spacer plate
out of plywood and use the adjustment on the PC557 to fine tune it from
"close" to PERFECT.
One of the many reviews I read, said "be aware that they dropped the
price by $20 and stopped including the extra blade, which they sell for
$34". The current situation (at Amazon) is that the tool is $207 with
only the standard 4" blade.
The P-C 557 was surely on my "short list" (which I haven't quite had for
24 hours yet). I pondered that maybe it was better to buy a tool that
has been upgraded more recently, but maybe I have that backwards! P-C
surely isn't the label is used to be.
You mentioned the smaller biscuits (size "FF"). They sound handy for
I'm going to try to work with some of that Formaldehyde-free
("Purebond") plywood and see if I can do so without experiencing
allergic reactions. If so, then I'll procede with this.
It took a long time for the biscuit joiner to make it into my radar
screen...much like the "impact driver" did this summer. Gosh, what next!
It just doesn't get much more exciting than learning about a new tool
you can put to use. Even seeing an old one that someone else put to
use is pretty interesting! Tool with the most bank for the buck?
Just make sure to get yourself a good pencil sharpener. I went with a
manual one that you mount on the wall and use it on average about twice a
Used to use a knife before that, and while it worked it was a hassle and
took a couple of minutes versus less than 30 seconds with the sharpener.
I used to use a lot of biscuits or so I thought. Save up and get the
Domino. Yes 3 times more expensive but you will use it at least 5 times
more than the plate joiner. ;~) I have had my Domino for about 5 years
now and have probably used 3~4 thousand Dominoes. In the 23 years that
I have a plate joiner I have not use half that many biscuits.
I get way more bang for my buck with the Domino that I did with either
of my plate joiners.
That's why I still have mine. I have a skylight rebuild to do in my
living room where it may be the best solution. I forgot all about the
face frame benefit and somewhere I have shims for the face that were
available to solve a problem. I need to build storage. I took
advantage of the woodpecker full slide drawer deal and plan to build
more storage. I should have 10 20" full slide and 10 22" drawer
slides by pairs.
Having read Mike Marlows post I'll jump in with him. If you don't
have a table saw or a great track saw don't buy the Domino. A great
table saw will let you build jigs and other things which will do more
for you then a biscuit cutter or a domino. Really it should be your
primary tool. For some of the projects you've mentioned I would
concentrate on the tool which will likely be the center of your shop.
Here , here.
I don't own a Domino.. I do my M&T using tablesaw , moritsing machine,
drill press, router or by hand.
I have a Dewalt biscuit joiner... hardly use it. (it is very good,
although not as good as the old porter cable)
What Mike and Mike said is abolutely true. The tablesaw should by higher
on your list. I don't know if you have a bandsaw, but that too is above
the biscuit joiner. The bandsaw can do cuts that would be too scary on
the tablesaw. A good glue joint doesn't require biscuits.
The only thing biscuits do is allow you to align more easily (usually)
but when edge joining, I stopped using the biscuits. I get better
alignment by working the joints. For perpendicular joints, a dado or
groove is more efficient, and stronger.
While the need might be there, you can really get by w/o one. Get one
used and you'll save yourself some money.
Now I wish I had more time to work in the shop.. the job and 4-5 hours
of commuting is eliminating all shop time.. Damn, when you don't have a
job you can't work (no funds, no drive) when you have a job ... you
can't work... no time..
Looking forward to a day when I can get back to working wood... and
soon. To all the other east coasters in the path of Sandy good luck.
I put all my stuff high this time.. Irene did me in.. first flood I ever
had in this house.. this time all my equip is I hope out of harms way.
If we get the 10" that they predict... I may have to move some stuff higher.
On 10/28/2012 9:34 PM, Mike M wrote:
I would not want to do without mine, but it really depends on what you want
to do. For someone who does a lot of cabinets a table saw is almost a
necessity, although many pro cabinetmakers, who work mostly on site, have
gone to track saws lately.
Someone who wants to concentrate on furniture may well do better spending
money on a top notch bandsaw plus a track saw, especially in a smaller
Agree with you other then I would think with furniture making as
oppossed to sheet goods you would really be better off with the
tablesaw. I've got a sliding table on the unisaw and still go to the
TS55 for sheet goods. But if I had to rip 4X4 material to dimension
I would want the table saw.
Despite the fact that unless you have a 12" Unisaw saw, you won't be
_ripping_ "4x4 material" in one pass either (like a bandsaw will), what
piece of furniture have you seen lately that requires ripping "4x4
Besides, pick up any furniture catalog, you know - those things that
seem to come twice in the mail everyday <g> - and you'll notice that
most furniture, relative to cabinetry, has one design feature in common
... curved components.
You can't easily cut curves on a table saw, but a bandsaw excels at it,
and a top notch bandsaw will "rip" much thicker material than most table
... just ask any sawmill owner. :)
I would venture to say that any fine furniture maker worthy of the name,
who was forced to make a choice between a table saw and a bandsaw, would
choose the bandsaw without question.
IMO, and with the advent of the track saw, you can do without a table
saw if you must make a choice; and which one you purchase as a mandatory
tool for your shop should be based on the preponderance of the type of
work you do.
That notwithstanding, you would have to pry _my_ Unisaw from my cold
dead hands! :)
Have to agree with that don't know why I used that size when I was
thinking 8/4. On the larger size I would definitly go to the band
saw. When I got my bigger bandsaw I kept the old one just so Ididn't
have to change blades very often. LOL I'm lazy.
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