I'm in the process of building a built in linen closet in my newly remodeled
bathroom and I'm planning on making the face frame out of 1x2 maple with FF
biscuit joints. I made a couple of 90 degree test joints out of scrap stock
about 12" long (end grain to long grain) and had some problems. The first
joint broke with little effort when I applied pressure from both ends in an
inward fashion. Turns out I did not get enough glue on one half of the
biscuit and it didn't grab at all. With no biscuit to hold the joint the
end grain side peeled a thin layer of the long grain off as the joint broke.
I Remade the joint after cutting and jointing the surfaces again and this
time it held strong while applying inward pressure. I thought I had it
right but upon light outward pressure the joint split right apart again,
this time taking a chunk out of the long grain side that encompassed the
entire biscuit so the biscuit and surrounding wood were still fastened
securely to the end grain side. I'm a little shocked at how easy this wood
broke and I wondered if I'm expecting too much out of this type of joint.
The pressure applied was by hand only and I'm no muscle bound weight lifter
so I would not expect this to break like this even with a straight glue up
and no biscuit. BTW, Titebond lll is the glue and it was clamped over
Yes you need to glue it well but regardless, here are some other ideas.
1. When gluing endgrain you can do what's called "sizing" to add
strength. You first put on a tin coat of diluted yellow glue, maybe 30%
water added and let it dry, then glue the joint normally. This will add
2. Face frames do not typically endure much pressue to the corner
3. In production shops we do not typicially use biscuits, just pocket
screws and glue. You can use both if you wish. We use a commercial
pocket screw machine that makes pockest at only 6 degrees, as opposed
to the 12-15 degree pockets of smaller Kreg type pocket holers, so we
don't suffer much rasing of the joint by the screw. A biscuit can stop
this. Regardless, we use a clamp positioned mostly on the piece you are
screwing too with just a lip over the piece you are screwing in,
clamped down to the table. This keeps the pieces in enough alignment
for minimal sanding for a flush fit.
4. Once attached to the cabinet the FF is very ridgid. We do sometimes
use biscuits to keep alignment of the FF to the case but you have to be
very careful with your layout. [Pointer, we keep a large number of pipe
clamps on hand just for FF to case attachement. We use glue only so we
have no Norm holes I mean nail holes to patch.
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