Here is Rockler's Dowel Pro Jig -
And their Porter-Cable Bisquit Jointer-
How much better (and faster) is using bisquits, for keeping boards
aligned, than is using dowels? I don't have a bisquit jointer, but I
do have the dowel jig. I'm considering getting the bisquit jointer.
I have 1200 bd ft of mahogany and am drawing out plans for an
entertainment center (12'W X 8'H X 25"D) .... no plywood on this
project. I have had, somewhat, similar panel projects in the past,
but not as big.
Is using bisquits a faster process than using dowels. To me, in the
past, using dowels took lots of time, since I seem to measure and cut
each one individually, more so than using a standard measure/stop for
drilling holes and cutting the dowels (or most of them) to a set
No question, the biscuit joiner is a lot faster. Lay out you boards,
mark a line every foot or so using your square, an go for it. But it
might have a little more slop in the alignment as not all biscuits are
created equal and you might move the machine an infinitesimal amount.
I prefer to use cauls and clamps.
Or you might consider the Lee Valley panel clamps & glue up a whole
bunch at once.
Last year, I inherited a partial woodshop and a shed of lumber....
about the same amount of cherry and, also, lots of white oak and
walnut. Some of you may recall, back then, I had asked about an old
1950s Craftsman table saw and lathe. I did donate the table saw to a
worthy cause. A machinist friend made an extension for the lathe bed,
so now I can turn items nearly 8' long. I gave the old lathe cabinet
(on wheels - custom made) to a local young woodworker. I re-wired the
shaper (dry rotted wiring) and am debating keeping it or giving it.
There is a work table (2 solid doors hinged together, ie., flip top),
such that, not flipped, the table top work space is 30" X 7'.
Flipping half of the top, opened to a 60" X 7' work surface.... pretty
neat! I'm debating giving away this work table. Some time ago, I
bought the house next door and have been remodeling it for a
woodshop. Some of these inherited items don't fit my remodel/set-up
Actually, I've been looking at the cherry, also, so I'm not dead set
on using the mahogany. I've pulled out about 300 bd ft of each and
have been inspecting and trying to decide what might be best for the
project. Most boards are 1" X 8" X 12' (some 14 & 16 footers) and
many with coon/possum/roach/spider shit and other similar surface
stains. A light planing has taken care of most of the stains.
Today, I made 12 sets of panel clamps, 2" X 3" X 40" long to 60" long,
so buying them won't be necessary. My widest (back) panel will be
50". I'm still debating buying a bisquit jointer. I've been looking
at the slot cutters. I'll probably get both.
I do have an inspiration picture, but I can't post on abpw. I can
email the pic for those who want to see.
:> > "Sonny" wrote:
:> >> How much better (and faster) is using bisquits, for keeping boards:> >> aligned, than is using dowels? I don't have a bisquit jointer, but I:> >> do have the dowel jig. I'm considering getting the bisquit jointer.
:> > You don't need to buy a busquit joiner if you have a router.
:> > A 5/32" slot cutter and a 5/32 straight bit and you you're covered for #20:> > biscuits.
:> > Lew
:> Being new to the craft, can you explain how this is done?
:> Thank you
: I think you 'll be able to find an explanation when you do a Google
: search. (Don't tell anybody, but the natives get a little cranky
Good suggestion, but the basics for the original poster are:
The advantage of a dedicated biscuit joiner are that you can put
slots into the edge of a piece of wood or plywood (there is a fence that
pivots down; fence is placed against the wide part of the board,
and the spring-mounted joiner is pushed into the wood, cuting a slot),
and the face of a piece of wood, by clamping a fence (i.e. another
piece of wood) across the board, retracting the joiner's fence,
and placing the joiner up against the board.
You can do the same operations, but not quite as comfortably, with a
plunge router (assuming you have one). For edge jointing,
you use a bit that has a narrow, wide cutter (like an
upside down T, with the upright part the shaft of the router
bit), which cuts into the wood's edge.
For slots in the middle of a board, you plunge a straight bit into the wood and
move the router along a fence so it's the right length.
Personally, I'd use a biscuit joiner if I have more than a few of
these slots to cut.
-- Andy Barss
If you're really slow and super-careful I am sure dowels will be more
accurate - I can be really careful with bisquits and still sometimes get
an alignment error of 1/2mm or so (that's around 0.02 inches). It cleans
up with the minimal glue squeezeout.
However, bisquits are MUCH faster once you get to know some tricks, I'd
say by a factor of 10 or more (that is, I used to have locator jigs for
dowels but no drilling jig), and (good) bisquits are also considerably
stronger i.m.o.. Ever seen a chair or cheap table where dowels have
broken out the stretchers? Doesn't happen with bisquits. No way would I
go back to using dowels because of that alone. N O W A Y. It's the
way forces and leverages act on dowels and get transmitted back to the
board they're in. Not an issue with making panels, I grant you.
B.t.w. there's bisquits and then there's bisquits. I once ordered a box
of Lamello bisquits (compressed beech hardwood, manufactured to very
high standards) and got given some cheap pine ones instead --- I
foolishly accepted the delivery but in the end I gave that box away
after using about 20 or 50 of the sloppy uneven horrid things. (BIX
Makita and Lamello bisquit joiners are both very good, no idea about
other brands like PC; they're not sold here. Don't get a cheap knock-
off, but you knew that ;-) Friend tried to save some money and nearly
lost his thumb because of a design flaw. Couple of months' worth of
involuntary holiday resulted ... he's got a Lamello now.
I have a doweling jig and used it once when I was a beginner ww, it
sucked, was really hard to use. Then I used the table saw to run a
grove and used a plywood spline, easier, but a pita. I then got a glue
joint for my molding head, still a pita. I then learned joints simply
need glued, no reason for dowels, splines or fancy glue joints.
I never used a biscuit joiner but I've seen them in use and they look
simple as all get out. On the other hand, I use clamps and cauls as
needed and never had a problem. I just glue the stuff up and get joints
just as accurate as you get with a biscuit jointer, and never once had a
glue up failure. I guess if I were in a small production commercial
shop, I would look into the biscuit thing in place of cauls? I know I
see Norm and Scott on TV use about a hundred biscuits every couple of
feet. I think the most I would need in an 8' glue up would be 4, which
is about one more than should be needed? How warped is that wood?
I guess if I spent $700+ on a biscuit joiner that wasn't needed for
strength, and only lined things up a bit easier than using cauls, but
not any better, I'd use the thing. Otherwise, spend the money on a
bunch of various types of clamps of which you can never have too many
and have at it:-)
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My father has a biscuit jointer, and I borrowed it once for doing some
edging. After a bit of trying, I found that no matter how careful I
was, I ended up getting errors as often as not(about 1/2 mm or so),
which added a lot of extra work. It might have been the model of
biscuit jointer, or my inexperience, I don't know. In any case, I got
out my router, and cut some splines. I got no error whatsoever after
many edges, so that's my prefered method now.
Biscuits go very quickly, and the limited depth means that they can be used
where dowels aren't really practical. On the other hand they shouldn't be
used as a substitute for a mortise and tenon like dowels can.
For limited production you can cut biscuit slots with a router and a slot
cutter, but it's not nearly as convenient as using the purpose-made tool.
All I will do is vote with some of the previous posts. Biscuits are
quick and do add some strength; but they do not guarantee smooth
joints in themselves. You will still have to check joint smoothness
or do some sanding/planing afterward.
BTW, 1,200 bd ft will build a lot of entertainment center. Would love
to see pics when done (or in process).
The PlateJoiner will be less fussy with left and right alingment. It will
also be a faster process.
A warning however, alswys use the fence to index the plat joiner and have
the edge/ end of the wood always hang over the end of the bence. This will
help insure that the plate jointer does not rest on the table/bench top.
Debris under the work piece and or plate joiner will throw off slot
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