Ping: Larry Jaques - Re plate Joiner

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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.
Bill
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Bill wrote:

Sorry, that was supposed to be PJ7000.
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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.
Mike M
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On 10/28/2012 5:36 PM, Mike M wrote:

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.
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On 10/28/2012 6:08 PM, Swingman wrote:

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.
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Unquestionably Confused wrote:

We sure have our fair share of "perfectionists" around here! :) Thanks for the lesson!
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On 10/28/2012 6:39 PM, Unquestionably Confused wrote:

Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, good to know!
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Swingman wrote:

I'm sorry to hear that.. ; )

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 "alignment" purposes.
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? Easy...a pencil.
Cheers, Bill
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RE: Subject.
A PC690, a couple of fly cutters and a 5/32" straight bit eliminated any consideration of a plate joiner for me.
Lew
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*snip*

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 week.
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.
Puckdropper
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Make it to fit, don't make it fit.

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On 10/28/2012 7:40 PM, Bill wrote:

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.
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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.
Mike M
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Mike M wrote:

Now that I have better grasp of what is at stake, I'll try to learn a little more about the Domino. My first impression is that it appears "heavier duty". Your post was helpful to me. Thank you!
Bill

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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.
Mike M

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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:

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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 shop.
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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.
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On 10/29/2012 12:20 AM, Mike M wrote:

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 material"? ;)
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 saws ...
... 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! :)
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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. Mike M
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On 10/29/2012 10:10 AM, Mike M wrote:

Nice drive-by ... you suck! :)
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