I have to restore a relative's kitchen wall cabinet carcass (x4) &
worktop end (x1) due to various leaks. They are custom sized, german
maker (castle) with an unusual dark brown pippy-oak laminate that is
not common these days (1983).
Despite custom size, I can get chipboard wall carcass for £120+140 and
an end for £70 - but the laminate & colour are miles off. Worse,
mountings are perfectly aligned for water, gas & elec services - the
existing units used a horizontal baton which hooked over a wall
mounted horizontal baton so permitting wall screws to miss services (a
fact common units seem oblivious to).
I can get PAR euro-oak from SL Hardwoods.
That allows me to reduce the wall cabinets from 370mm depth to 265mm
depth, allowing me to drop their height considerably (2ft above the
worktop with a relative 5'0" is hilarious).
I can get a) joint-genie dowel jointing kit for £35-45 or b) Screwfix
Erbauer biscuit jointer for £60. The problem with the latter is the
fence adjusts at one end and depth gauge is subject to economic
forecast error: science fiction.
Which would be better - dowel-joint or biscuit-joint?
I will need to get the planks pre-cut as no decent table saw, but
otherwise simple joinery & assemble.
I tend to find the biscuit wins for most work where you want absolute
alignment on one axis, and a little bit of wiggle room on the other.
Dowels are less forgiving, but if you get the positioning spot on in
both directions, they are probably a little stronger.
You might consider these fixings which require no glue although it can be
They're quite easy to use especially if you do a test piece to see how
they fit and they're very solid when correctly fitted. Two different sizes
available - browse Screwfix page.
Using Ubuntu Linux
Thanks to both.
Biscuit jointer would make it easier to do a coffee table of 70-80cm
length - most are either too small, square or too long.
I had seen those fixings on an Ikea cabinet I picked up for
"evaluation", did not know screwfix sold them. I can use them to
repair/strengthen a wardrobe (stunning german pearl gloss laminate on
the most atrocious quality carcass to cut costs). I think Isaac Lord
may do some such, I'm sure there is a plastic jig somewhere to go with
A few more jobs to finish before I begin (found a cable run between
tiles & close boarding, would have been fun renailing a few tiles).
Almost always, biscuit.
Biscuits locate in one axis, aren't fussy about the other. Dowels need
you to get _both_ right, which makes them hard work to align and set
up. You can do this, but without custom jigs to do it, it's far slower
Dowels do have a small advantage in chipboard, as they don't require
such a large slot. In chipboard, smaller biscuits are stronger than
If you're biscuiting, use a biscuit jointer and not a router. They're
supposed to be quick, or else pointless - cutting them with a router
For a jointer, find a £200 quid one and study the fence design
(adjustable for height and angle). Then buy the £50 copy of it. Don't
buy the fixed plastic fence versions though, as they're awkward to
use. In practice, and when you can, avoid the fence altogether and
just place the pieces flat on the benchtop to align them.
Noted, and biscuit it is - many thanks for the helpful reply.
Screwfix reviews on the Erbauer indicate it just needs alignment &
checking it was assembled correctly. Making an external jig (flat
benchtop) is simple enough anyway.
Indeed avoid any with a plastic fence, I've memories of cheap stamped-
metal baseplate jigsaws which true to name required extensive "jigs"
to produce anything approaching a decent cast baseplate unit used
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