I have the PC 557 and highly recommend it. Your $279 price is pretty
high - I bought mine at Home Depot for around $200 a 4 or 5 months
At the time I was mulling the same two models, I ended up going w/ the
PC for 2 reasons:
1. It got almost universal praise in this current iteration (Type 3)
- previous versions had some fence issues. Make sure you end up with
a Type 3 (or later?).
2. As with most PC stuff, it looked like you could hurl it from the
top of a building without harming it. I take care of my tools, but I
always appreciate something built to live longer than me.
The only downside I've noticed is that it does make a bit of a racket
- kind of a metal on metal noise that I've read is completely normal
for this model.
I don't know if you can get a good deal from Amazon.com in Canada, but the
PC557 is on sale in the US through May 30 for $177.98 US with free shipping.
I have a PC557 and have been very satisfied with it.
Don't try that with the 557 ... the fence is cast and cracks fairly easily
when dropped, even while in the case.
I've known two 557's to do this. Mine was in the case and was dropped off a
lower bench shelf, less than a foot off the floor. Not an expensive fix, but
for a tool that you only take out just when you need it, it's a bummer to
have a project waiting around on a part.
Actually if you can get an older Type 1, the fence is fine. It was changed
on the Type 2 to get out of a patent problem with DeWalt and the Type 3
fixed the Type 2 "patch".
Unfortunately none of the PC stuff is built as well as it was 15-20 years
ago. I have had 6 PC tools over the years and the earlier tools were
certainly better built than their replacements. PC has not faired well in
recent years since it has fallen to "step child" status.
Yeah that is normal. My previous PC Biscuit Jointer, the model before the
557 was almost whisper quiet by compairison and belt driven.
I have the PC and like it. Two reasons I chose it:
1) It has a 135* fence which registers the slot to the outside of a
miter so any mis-alignment will be on the inside. Most other cutters
register on the inside of the miter.
2) It has a beefy handle to grab and hold it steady while plunging
the cutter, the others I looked at did not. In retrospect this is not
all that important since I usually hold it inplace by the fence.
I chose the PC because of the ability to use the smaller FF biscuits.
I have used them more than I have the bigger ones and as far as I know
PC is the only one that has the capability to cut the slots for them.
Unless you're absolutely sure you'll want to use those tiny
biscuits (w/ required blade change) that the PC can handle,
go with the Dewalt. The vernier adjustment for the fence is
really nice and beats the PC hands down.
I have The Porter Cable unit. With ANY biscuit joiner, I would recommend
practicing on some scrap wood first. This will reduce the need to replace
project wood which can be pricey. I have used the smaller biscuits on some
face frame work. I have never used any other biscuit joiner.
One important point about biscuits in general. They come in a sealed
container. There is a VERY good reason they do. They will swell up with
moisure if left out. This is made a whole lot worse in the summer and if you
have a basement shop. If you buy the bicuits in bulk and do not go through
them quickly, find a good way to keep them dry. I acutally used the plastic
food saver vacum bag system. It does work well. Good luck with the Biscuit
joiner, what ever the brand may be.
That will be why Lamello always sell cardboard boxes full of loose
biscuits then, with no sealed plastic bags in sight, just a bit of
paper telling you about the other biscuits in the range.
The commonly promulgated "advice" to seal biscuits in triple
hermetically sealed containers full of dry nitrogen and silica gel,
taking them out 10 seconds before applying glue etc keeps being
repeated but in my experience they only soak up moisture if you live
in stinkingly humid environment aka a swamp or a jungle or spill your
coffee over them.
I've no air conditioning in my house and live where there is around
6ft of rainfall per annum (6 inches of snow) with temperatures ranging
from -10deg F to 90 deg F over the year and humidity ranging from 40 -
90+% I've a couple of loose biscuits close to my desk that have sat
there for at least 2 years and maybe longer, the desk is 10 feet from
the opening into the kitchen that regularly produces massive changes
in local humidity. I just measured these old biscuits against a few
selected at random from a new box that I bought earlier this year that
have since sat in an air conditioned workshop. They are within three
thousandths of an inch of each other in thickness. (0.157"- 0.160")
......but, and this slightly amused me, the thickest ones are the new
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