I want to build a step stool using some free plans I found online. The
plans call for the use of a biscuit joiner to glue-up 2 pieces of
cherry. I don't own a biscuit joiner and was hoping to avoid purchasing
one. I haven't had a need for one since this will be my first
glue-up project (all of my project heretofore have been created using
I currently own a table saw, miter saw, jig saw and a router. I was
wondering if this might be the time to get a router table, since I know
you can get slot cutting bits that mimic the cut of a biscuit joiner and
a router table is much more versatile than a BJ. Alternately, I could
use a dowel jig for the glue-up, and use my tool budget for a planar
You don't need a biscuit jointer for this (or most) projects.
A biscuit jointer simply makes alignment of the two joining faces more
acurate. It isn't really for strength.
You can make biscuit slots with a router table (i have done this). It will
be difficult to get the slot in the same place on both boards that are being
joined. If one of your boards has a light cup to it, the slot on this
board will be off set. A biscuit jointer has less contact surface area than
a router table therefore it is less effected by slight cups in your stock (i
didnt see a jointer in your equipment list, so I will assume that this might
be a problem for you.)
I would BUILD a router table and then BUY a planar.
I can see using biscuits for solid wood in certain instances. If you're
assembling a large surface such as a table, biscuits would speed up the
assembly process and go a long way to avoiding the glue drying prematurely.
It would add to that concept if the project being assembled was more
difficult to construct than simple adjacent boards for a table top.
A better description of your stool would be helpfull. A one step I
envision a angled MT Joint. A two step I envision a glued up side panel
and using hand cut dovetails for the step to side panel joint.The glued
up side boards need a straight side that can be done with a hand plane,
glue and clamp. A BJ is used for alignment and not for strenght. You
can buy router bits for your hand held router that would be used for
edge joining two pieces but not nessesary.I have a BJ but it would be
at the bottom of my list of tools needed and certainly not be used for
a stool. When you build a piece think of the different ways to build
it. There is never a right anwser but many wrong ways because of wood
Spend your money on more clamps and wood. Make sure the edges are jointed true,
and edge glue them.
You may need a couple of the clamps to keep the joint aligned to reduce future
sanding. The glue
joint will be stronger than the wood itself.
When you're ready for a router table, try to figure out a way to drop it in the
table on the right
side of the TS and save some $ and floorspace. If that doesn't work, and you
don't use the router
all that much, bolt it to a piece of 3/4 ply big enough to fit over your trash
can or can clamp to a
pair of sawhorses.
Spend the router table $ on more clamps and wood. You can't have too many
clamps or enough wood,
although SWMBO is starting to look askance at all the stuff I have squirreled
away down in tunnel
Yea, the BJ is pretty expensive, unless you get the HF one.
I have a Craftsman BJ attachment ($10 on sale years ago) on a yard sale
It has worked great for years, but I agree with others that biscuits don't
help the joint much, if any.
It's nice to have the alignment help sometimes, though.
If you are edge glueing boards to make a wider panel, glue alone will do it.
The biscuits can help with alignment but, in a joint like this, that's all
they do. Many, many boards were edge glued before the biscuit.
As the others have said, glue alone will do the job. However, if you do
wish to use biscuits you can purchase a bearing guided slot cutting bit
for the router and do the grooves for the biscuits free hand. No need
for a table. Another use for this bit is feathers. We used them a lot
prior to biscuits. Groove both edges of the to be joined boards, cut a
plywood feather (Strip) and glue into the groove on on board and knock
the second board on to it.
hope this helps a bit
I was going to mention the slot cutting bit but you beat me to it. I
bought the bit to try biscuit joining rather than spend the monney for a
joiner. It worked well. It beats dowels since you only have to worry
about accuracy in one plane.
I probably spent too much for the bit but I think it was worth it.
Depending on the width of the cherry, and, the size of your T/S you
might be able to use the T/S.
If the boards are wide it works fine. Just set the fence to approx the
center of the butt ends and set the blade to about 3/8" height and
drop the butt ends into the blade. Use CAUTION - do not apply
If this is too much for you, the Router would be your next best bet.
It all depends.. Do you see yourself doing solid wood projects in the
future? If so, a biscuit jointer is a great investment. Get either the
porter cable or dewalt.
Don't bother trying to do it with a router bit, that is a PITA. In
addition, I use a biscuit jointer to help me align face frames to
plywood carcasses. In short, my biscuit jointer gets used on every
project I do.
If money is tight, make a homemade router table and use the money saved
on a biscuit jointer.
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