After dragging you all through the coals regarding the best biscuits, I
am now working backwards to the best biscuit joiner! See the following
thread on biscuits:
As I had mentioned in the thread above, I have already purchased the
Dewalt DW682K biscuit joiner but now I question whether I should have
bought the Porter Cable 557. I can still return the Dewalt as I have
yet to use it. The one feature I really need is face frame biscuits
which can be readily accomplished with the PC but not the DW. Also,
there seems to be an issue of small wood components (to be joined)
falling into the fence of the BJ and that PC has addressed this with an
insert; is this true?
I am looking for your opinion(s) on these two tools.
I look forward to your responses.
I have a Lamello Classic...in a box. I now have a PC 557 (FF was one of
the reasons). The Lamello Classic is no Top, which was stolen and the
best yet....but for the money?
I have played with the DeWalt. A loooong time ago, I used an Elu on
quite a few projects and liked it. They look similar. I never liked
the thin base plate.
I borrowed a Freud one time also...so I have been around a few biscuit
That Freud had too much slop in the action. Can't comment on them
The feel, the option for FF biscuits and dust collection of the PC 557
are the reasons why I always reach for it. The insert for the fence
makes working with small pieces a lot nicer.
I prefer the Lamello biscuits and just love this thing:
Had mine for 20+ years now.
I recently bought the Dewalt and am extremely pleased with it. But now
you have me curious about something... Can you or someone explain what
you mean about the PC doing face frame biscuits while the Dewalt cannot?
Porter-Cable markets a "face frame" (FF) biscuit that's about 5/8" shorter
than a standard #0 biscuit, and slightly narrower as well.
The PC 557 has four depth stops (20, 10, 0, and FF), and also comes with an
extra blade for cutting FF slots. This blade is about an inch smaller in
diameter than the standard biscuit blade. If you don't have that blade *and*
the proper depth stop, you won't be able to cut a slot that FF biscuits will
That's not to say you can't use your DeWalt biscuit machine for making face
frames -- you can (with limitations) -- just that AFAIK you can't use it to
make slots for the Porter-Cable FF biscuits.
AFAIK, the smallest biscuit slot you can make with the DW machine is for a #0
biscuit. The biscuit is about 1-13/16" long, which means a slot about 2" long.
Obviously that's not going to work to make biscuit joints in 1-1/2" wide rails
and stiles, and may not work for 2" stock. If you don't mind building your
face frames with stock that's between 2" and 2-1/4" wide, #0 biscuits will
work fine. But if you want to use narrower material, that means some alternate
form of joinery. Those alternate forms could include:
- pocket screws
- mortise and tenon
- lap joints
- PC 557 and a pile of FF biscuits :-)
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
To piggyback on this thread, I see that many recommend the PC 557 and
most relate the choice to the FF capability. I already have a Ryobi
detail biscuit joiner which works well for me for smaller jobs (like
face frames, picture frames and thin boxes) but I have a real POS old
full size joiner that I would like to replace. Which joiner would you
choose if the FF capability had minimal value to you (yeah it would
have some value, but I can certainly live without it and even if I had
it would probably just pick up the detail joiner rather than fool
around changing blades on the PC). Is the PC still the choice
(assuming I want to stay out of debt for this purchase and so won't be
looking at a Lamello)?
As I said in my reply to another post in this thread, I recently
purchased the Dewalt. Since it is my first biscuit joiner, my opinion
might not carry much weight, But I can tell you, from a rookie's
standpoint, I can't imagine it being any simpler to use or doing a
better job. In other words, I'm a fool and it appears relatively
foolproof. (And $100 cheaper than the PC)
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the DeWalt. The PC, with it's smaller
FF biscuit capability, is just a tad more versatile when/if you need that
The smaller biscuits come in handy for me when to simulate joinery without
having to resort to a nail gun on a prototype which just may find some
actual use, or when reinforcing miter joints on small frames.
If you don't need that capability, the DeWalt will certainly serve you well,
and you can buy some wood with the leftover $$
Don't beat up on yourself for this one Charlie; the reason I started
these two threads is that there is limited current information on the
topics (I Googled).
As for the deciding factors, pro PC, there are three that I am aware of
(many thanks to you all for your input): the fence insert for cutting
smaller pieces that may fall into the fence opening, more depth
adjustability and the FF biscuits.
I have read about shimming the fence for the Type II but Type III has
no issues. Do you all have a Type II and you shimmed and is someone
using the Type III?
Charlie M. 1958 wrote:
I have the Dewalt and it is fine. If I had it to over again I'd probably
get the PC, but I solved the face frame biscuit issue another way, which
may be better. I bought a biscuit slot cutter set (either Infinity or
Whiteside - I buy which ever is an sale at the moment). Drop that in the
router table with a larger bearing on top and you have FF size slots for
the 2" face frames when you use them on smaller projects. Since the PC
requires that you change cutters to do the smaller FF biscuits, I'm not
sure there is any difference in set up time. The slot cutter set is about
$50 so you're still ahead $50 in the cost differential between Dewalt and
Only real downside to the Dewalt is the little dust bag clogs real easy.
I just leave it off and try to aim the waste stream at a backstop to keep
it from going all over the shop.
In that case, return the Dewalt. I have the PC, it's a great machine.
The Dewalt is probably a good machine as well. If you think you might
use the face frame biscuits, then it's worth the extra $50 or whatever
to get the PC (It's been a long time, so I don't know). Plus, it seems
like you will be happier with the PC.
I just saw the PC on sale at Home Depot. I assume it's the same model.
I must say though, I haven't used the face frame biscuits that much. On
a few small things.
If you are going to make a lot of face frames, get a kreg jig, along
with this clamp.. http://www.hartvilletool.com/product/12282 .. Then
use a clamp like a Bessey K-body to clamp the the face frame "T" shape
(the wood) to the face frame clamp. That lines up the pieces in that
dimension (basically the alignment that a biscuit would give you).
Sorry if that is not clear, I can explain better if need be.
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