I bought the Dewalt about 2 months ago. I've used it twice so far to
cut a dozen slots. It seems to be a solid, well made tool. The
settings make sense and are easy to understand.
The first time I used it was for a face frame. I had some trouble
with the slots being aligned. I ended up measuring them and found
they were off by about 1mm. I did use the same reference face by the
way. I recut the slots with more attention to how I was holding the
tool and managed to get them aligned OK.
The second time I used it was for edge banding around a plywood top.
The edge banding was around 2 1/4" wide. This time I did a lot better
but still had 1 slot that didn't align quite right. After a lot of
measuring it turned out that the slot was fine but the piece had
managed to warp itself overnight.
I probably need some more experience with the tool in order to judge
consistency. I don't have a proper bench yet so I had to adapt a
bit. I didn't use the top handle of the tool. Instead I used my free
hand to hold the fence down onto the work... I also noticed that it's
fairly easy to tilt the tool after you place it on the piece you're
cutting. This causes the blade to cut at an angle and then the
biscuit doesn't align right. Trying different biscuits in the same
slots also seems to make a difference.
I could really use some tips on getting slots cut correctly the first
I can warn you of one problem that most every one experiences. If cutting
slots in the edge or end of a board "do not" use the surface of the bench as
the reference for the plate joiner if your good surface is not on the up
side. Use the fence on the tool for reference and be sure that the material
being cut overhangs the end of the work bench so that the plate joiner dies
not accidentally come in contact with bench top.
Typically you mark the good side so that you can reference everything with
out having to think the reverse. Very commonly solid wood is attached to
the edge of plywood and unless both are perfectly the same thickness you can
throw off the height location of the slot being cut. If one board is
thicker than the other and the good side is up your slots will be off the
same distance as the difference in thicknesses. If you let the fence rest
on the material rather than having the plate joiner base setting on the
bench the upper surfaces are correctly referenced.
Add to that if you are using the bench surface to reference the plate joiner
to the material, debris can often raise the plate joiner up and throw off
the slot locations.
Add to that if the material is slightly warped and bows and you use the
bench surface to reference the plate joiner it will cut the slot lower down
from the top surface of the material. The plate joiner should always be
referenced off of its fence for consistent cuts.
I used to be a Rockwell only user, then I switched (for no particular
reason) to DeWalt and about a year ago I switched to Porter Cable. I've been
happiest, so far, with Porter Cable. They just seem to be better and put a
little more thoughtfulness into their products. A real thorn in my side with
DeWalt is the damn cases they make for their tools. They are the most ill
conceived pieces of crap I've ever seen. That might be the ultimate reason I
switched. I think it's just like everything else, the eye of the beholder.
I just can't justify a $500 biscuit joiner. My Skil biscuit joiner is
not the best, but I might use it 4-5 times a year in favor of
traditional joinery. The dust collection bag is useless and I always
end up shooting sawdust all over the place, but it does cut a nice
accurate slot. The Lamello biscuits are better than PC biscuits, but
either one will do.
I do the same with my DeWalt and a $20 Craftsman "Auto Switch"
It all works like a charm, and the hose and switch are also handy with
sanders, the Kreg Jig, etc...
** http://www.bburke.com/woodworking.html **
I had a DeWalt and ended up exchanging it for a Porter Cable, for
some reason the depth setting on mine (and the three stores near me,
Lowes, Woodcraft and Home Despot) wouldn't do anything less than a
large biscuit no matter what setting I turned it to. The Woodcraft guys
were perplexed. In the end I exchanged it for a Porter Cable, and while
the gear drive for the head is a bit nosier, I've otherwise been quite
happy with it.
Maybe so. I'm willing to bet however, that the Domino will make major
inroads on that market. Lamello brand isn't cheap so if one might be willing
to spend the bucks on one, then it's not that further a reach to buy the
I was almost going to add that but regardless of the technology of the Plate
joiner, you still have to use biscuits as the fastener. The Domino's are
superior. Now if Lamello develops something better than the Domino, that
would be a way to go.
I am not going to guess at what Lamello is considering. It takes a
particular kind of company to innovate, particularly in today's market. It
must be fustrating for them. They were considered top of the line for so
many years. And this upstart Festool comes along and just blows them out of
the water in a catagory not known before.
If I was Lamello, I would be looking at alternatives to the generic biscut.
And like you mentioned, I would target the Domino as the machine to compete
with. If they came up with a machine that could do a little more than the
domino at a good price point, that would a good start.
One problem with trying to compete with Festool is that they don't just make
one tool. They have a whole family of tools. And that family just gets
bigger and bigger. And we all know how hard it is to compete with families.
Soooooo....., even if Lamello did make a good alternative to a biscut
joiner, a lot of folks would end up going with Festool because of their
complete line. After all, when you get to this level, you aren't just
competeing on price anymore. (Besides, they wouldn't have a systainer!)
I think it's going to be worse than that. Despite it's exorbitant price, I
can envision the Domino killing off most of the biscuit joiner market. It
might take a little while, but it will happen. A slightly different but
mostly similar competition will enter the market and the biscuit joiner will
become a relic that only will only be used by very few.
I'd liken it to a recent news story I saw on SUV's. Because of the gas
crunch, fewer and fewer people are buying them and they're being sold at
well below blue book value. At a certain point there comes a time when you
can't lower the price anymore because it's going to cost you money. Lamello
will see that relatively soon I think.
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