As my woodworking skills improve I slowly move into cabinetmaking.
Cabinetmaking involves a lot of joinery. I am trying to realize what joinery
method is best an when. As far as I understand there are pocket hole
joinery, mortise-and-tenon, dowel and biscuit. To me dowel and biscuit seem
to be the easiest and quickest. I understand that smallest biscuits are 2"
wide so they cannot be used to join narrow stock. Do these two methods have
drawbacks and which situations when they are not good choice. I already have
PC Biscuit Joiner and feel pretty comfortable using it. I do not have
doweling jig but it is not expensive so I can buy it if necessary. Any
advise would be appreciated.
First of all, I wouldn't include biscuits as a type of joinery. They help
with alignment, but don't really add strength, which is what joinery is all
about. From what I read, dowels can be a real challenge when the alignment
is not right on (ok, so what isn't). Pocket holes have their place, but
personally, I wouldn't use them on "fine" furniture (but in my mind, they're
a dream when building face frames). To add to your list, I'm taking a
woodworking class right now and the main guy there really likes the use of
splines. You really can't go wrong with the old standby, the mortise and
tenon. Many people who hang around here seem to be happy with a loose tenon
system as well. As you hint at, every joinery method has its place.
Well, I'm mostly going by what has been posted here. It would be
interesting to see the methodology of their tests. As with pocket holes,
I'd leave them out of really nice stuff. It's hard to imagine them adding a
lot of strength to, say, a table top, since they wouldn't be adding that
much surface area. For something like a face frame, it just seems easier to
use a pocket hole. Ah, well...to each his own. If it works for you (that's
the communal "you"), go with it.
For a glued up panel, whether you use biscuits, tongue and groove, splines,
dowel's,or nothing but glue, the subject of strength is immaterial since a
properly jointed, glued, and clamped panel is already as strong as the
species of wood will allow.
Using a glued up panel as a basis for saying that biscuits shouldn't be
considered as a type of joinery not to mention it not adding much surface or
strength to a panel (IE table top) is a pure case of ignorance is bliss and
I'd have to opine that if think you are going by what you see posted here
you probably should get some reading glasses before some other newbie thinks
you know what you are talking about..
If you'd like, I can point you to many discussions on the rec regarding the
use of biscuits and their impact on joint strength. Better yet, DAGS in the
rec archives and you can find them for yourself. Personally, I don't use a
lot of pressed wood in my construction, so I don't find it an issue. It's
interesting that you feel the need to belittle me rather than just state
your opinion with facts to support it, like charlie did. I'll admit that
after going back and reading through some of the archives that there is more
of a mix of opinion on the rec regarding biscuits and their strength-adding
properties than I recollected. Happy, now, Mike?
As for belittling, you managed that yourself.with the your statements which
I prefaced my post with.
I just have a problem not pointing out when someone is blowing smoke up the
groups ass and making like they knew what they were talking about. Possibly
even having actual experience on the subject they were pontification about.
Some poor slob may take your bad advice as some sort of fact.
YOU wouldn't include biscuits as a type of joinery? GMAFB.
You want to play the game don't go whiney when your hand gets called.
Way to ignore my main point, which was that there have been plenty of other
posts here that supported what I said. I didn't just make it up. There
have been posts on both sides. You don't agree, fine. You want to look
like a big man by trying to put me down, feel free if that's what you're
into. I've said that I was repeating what I believed the preponderance of
posts on the subject to be. I've since said that upon further review, the
posts on the subject are more mixed. I'd also say pontification is a pretty
strong word. In my original post, I wrote two whole sentences on it. I
guess you used it as hyperbole to try to make your point appear stronger.
Beyond that, I didn't give any advice, just my opinion. Advice would be me
saying "don't use biscuits", which I didn't say. After reading some more on
it today, I conclude that biscuits are, in fact, a type of joinery. What
seems to still be up for debate is whether they're a very good one. I've
read posts on both sides. Contrary to your belief, your opinion is not of
universal authority. .
I see. Just what aspersions was I casting, hmmm? Did you actually pay any
attention to this thread? One person felt the need to be unnecessarily
harsh in his reply to my post. Another simply pointed out a difference of
opinion backed up with facts and (oh no) a discussion took place. I found
out that my recollection of what had been posted here was not 100% correct,
though plenty of people had posted previously with the information that I
passed on. After going back and reading some more, I decided that I was
incorrect. Personally, I don't think that excuses the conduct of others,
but you might disagree.
As I recall the FWW test was as shown below.
<------+--+ Force applied to this part
+--+----------+ This part held fixed
That really doesn't deal with twisting or compression - just
And I think they used two biscuits not one.
One of the recent woodworking magazines - with several articles
on mortise and tenon joinery - used the Dropped Anvil Test on
small simple tables. The bicsuited table failed on the first drop -
at the leg to apron joint. The M&T table top split on the second
or third drop.
Now when they come up with an attractive "through biscuit"
FWW, take a look here:
for a report on the "TESTING OF PLATE (BISCUIT) JOINERY AND ADHESIVES FOR
APPLICABILITY IN CONSTRUCTING ARCHITECTURAL PRODUCTS"
For cabinet making, all have a place.
Many like the pocket hole screws for face frames. Dowels have been used for
this for years and is quite simple.
Biscuits work well for many type of joints but work very well for joining
panels. I'm a fan of dowels for face frames only because I've been doing it
so long. Maybe I'll switch to a pocket hole screw system... maybe.
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DW and I are doubling our kitchen size, first half
complete. Used dowels, biscuits and pocket screws.
As stated, each has it's place. By the way, biscuits
come smaller then 0 size, FF are 1.25"
Alexander Galkin wrote:
Di Cristoforo's (sp?) book on joinery probably has every joint you
think of and many you'd probably never think of. The illustrations
Tage Frid's WW 1 & 2 did have a joint I'd not seen anywhere else -
a tapered slip joint - the taper being towards the outside face
of the joint. Used when veneering spans joints with grain running
90 degrees to each other.
Tage Frid's books shows not only the various joining methods, but
also the sequence of cuts - very handy to know what the joint
looks like AND how to cut it.
Both books use line drawings to illustrate the joints. Today
colored photographs seem to have replaced line drawings -
and often don't illustrate what you really need to see as
well as a good line drawing can. The emphasis seems to be
on the "sizzle" and not the "steak".
The really handy thing about traditional joinery is that you
can dry fit parts - and in some cases, the entire piece
BEFORE committing to glue or screws. The 7 drawers in
my drill press cabinet work well and still haven't been
glued together after two years of use.
With the PC biscuit jointer you also have the option of using face frame
biscuits which are 1/2" wide by 1 1/4 inches long to the large #20 1" wide
by 2 1/4" long. With that range you can easily put a whole cabinet together
using nothing but biscuits. They'll do everything from face frames, to face
frame mounting, to installing shelves, to aligning boards to glue up panels.
What you have to remember is that glue area has a lot to do with joint
strength. Three #20's spaced across the width of a shelf will give you
plenty of strength for a normal kitchen cabinet shelf but I wouldn't want to
trust three face frame sized biscuits for the same job.. If you suspect a
shelf will need to take a more then normal load or just want to play it save
you can stack 6 biscuits and you'll be able to stand on the thing..
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