I glued up four 3/4" thick, 2" wide, 3' long birch boards. I used a
biscuit joiner with #10 biscuits. I think I got a pretty good hang of
ensuring the slots were cut evenly.
After I finished glueing, I noticed that the resulting 8" wide board
had uneven surface due to slight misalignment of the 2" boards from
which it was made, maybe not more than 1/16" of an inch, but it was
obvious that it wasn't due to the different thicknesses of the boards,
since in that case one side would be perfectly flat and the other
Anyway, since this is my first edge joining, I would like to ask the
experienced guys, do you find this normal? If not, how do I ensure it
doesn't happen? I neither have a jointer, nor a thickness planer, so I
am limited to an old orbital sander to fix this problem.
Well, you will find that you don't actually need biscuits for edge
gluing for strength but for alignment they are very helpful. That
being said here are a few pointers.
1. When cutting the biscuit slots
On Mar 15, 6:40 pm, email@example.com wrote:
1. When cutting the biscuit slots
- Clamp the boards down to the table before cutting slots
- Be very careful with technique to apply down pressure on tool
when cutting slot
- Be sure you mark the "up" side of the board so you use the
same alignment when you put then together later
2. Utilize "flattening" techniques when clamping up the panel
- You can use "hand screw" clamps across the ends of the panel
- And\or you can use clamping cauls across the panel, lots of
methods for this but here is a good description
3. You could buy a hand plane and start learning the old school method
of flattening the panel after it's glued. Confession: I consider
myself an accomplished woodworker and I really don't know the proper
techniques of using hand planes. I'm signing up for my first class
I think I mastered it pretty well. I have Ryobi JM82, well yeah, not
deWalt or Porter Cable, but I still think it can cut good slots. I
developed a technique to ensure that the fence is resting square on
the workpiece, and if it is flat then the slot should be parallel.
Yep, I'll try that. Thanks.
There must be something about them since people pay so much money for
them despite all the other more modern tools.
I had the same problem with the Ryobi JM80 biscuit joiner. The blade
cuts a thicker slot than most other joiners. I contacted Ryobi to see if
I had a defective blade. Their tech support told me they intentionally
made the blade thicker to prevent the biscuit from telegraphing through
to the surface.
I dumped the joiner.
For what it's worth, I don't use biscuits or dowels for edge
joining, as the glue provides more strength than the wood. Biscuits
or dowells are there solely for allignment. And with 2-4 inch boards,
I don't use anything but glue. That said, the above comments are very
useful if you do use a biscuit cutter.
I have a 13" planer, and when I have a 16 inch board to make, I use
glue, and a load of clamps. Some to squeeze the joint, smaller ones
on the ends to keep the edges flush ( one per joint, each side ), and
cauls if needed for the middle. After drying overnight, I use a plane
to get the big chunks down, a belt sander if I get lazy, and then a
ROS and finally hand sand paper to finish. I keep forgetting to use
my scraper, but am usually impressed when I do use it.
I do use dowels when joining longer boards, just to make the
assembly easier to handle. It's a race to get the joint glued,
alligned and clamped within the open time of the glue, and the dowels
seem to help there.
Hope this helps.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, March 15, 2008 10:25 PM
Subject: Re: Uneven surface after edge glueing
So then, you do find it normal to have an uneven board after the glue
dried? Even after clamping everything you can? More to my previous
all my slots are done right, and I clamp it the way you do, should I
expect an uneven board?
I don't use biscuits but I would suspect unevenness to be a function
of their spacing. Even using a spline I would suspect some.
One thing not mentioned is that you shouldn't be too quick to cut down
the uneveneness on your glue up. A lot of moisture was added to the
wood by the glue so let it dry thoroughly before you sand/plane it
down else you'll be sanding/planing a second time.
I'm at the other end of that spectrum.
I'm not sure that I"m an accomplished
woodworker, but when I started ruining
wood, I did the very thing that you
mention in #3 above. I took a course at
a local college and all they taught us
was hand plane techniques. At the time,
I felt we weren't getting anywhere
because we weren't "making anything".
In the end, we never did. Ostensibly, we
were supposed to make a small bookshelf
out of pine, but in the end, that was
secondary. As I recall, it never got
But I could sharpen. I understood how a
plane worked, and some of the reasons it
wouldn't do as I wished. It started a
love of planing that continues to this
day. Once the technique is acquired, it
stays with you, and classes like that
To the OP: What was mentioned above
about planing is very good advice.
Planing that 1/16" would take very
little time and you'd end up with a nice
flat smooth surface. However, as
mentioned there is a learning curve
associated with planing, and having a
dull plane iron is worse than not having
a plane at all. Inasmuch as I'd
encourage anyone in the hobby to learn
these skills, you probably don't want to
take the time at this point in your
project to buy the necessary tools. (The
plane is only the start. Sharpening is
key to the whole thing working.)
Maybe it's just as easy to take it into
someone and have them belt sand it for
you for this go-round. But keep in mind
hand planing for the next one...
Yes, I am really looking forward to learning how to sharpen, setup and
use the various planes. I've seen the old guys (I'm 50 so I guess they
are really old) do magic with a sharp well handled plane and I really
need the skils.
I'd be really interested to hear how
those classes work out for you. If you
get a half-decent instructor, I think
you'll find that it's not only time
nicely invested in skill acquiring, but
it's a really enjoyable gabfest on top
Let us know how it goes.
Yes, I was wondering how good the instructor will be. I'll let ya
Having taught various subjects myself over the years, I realize it is
as much the student as the teacher. I taught a one day technical class
to several hundred folks at the same time and got reviews from "You
are a god" to "You are worse than a high school science teacher."
An Ulmia finishing plane with a lignum vitae sole is a beautiful tool to use.
Really really sharp, really really fine setting, I usually flatten my panels
first with a homebrew jack plane and then with the Ulmia with cuts angled at
around 30-45 degree to the joins, in a diamond pattern; mostly because I seem
to work with stubborn timbers that are prone to tear-out, even with this tool.
The more stubborn the timber, the more I go cross-grain. Once the plane finds
nothing more to flatten I switch to the cabinet scraper.
firstname dot lastname at gmail fullstop com
1/16" seems like a lot of slop for a tight-fitting, aligned biscuit.
Half that or even less would be more what I'd expect if the stock was
finished to the same thickness.
One trick to help is to use a batten across the boards (place a piece of
wax paper between it and the surface to avoid gluing it to the finished
piece) and clamp it to hold the alignment (this also aids in maintaining
/establishing a flat piece by counteracting the tendency of the clamping
pressure to cause bowing).
Here's where a scrub plane, sharp scraper, belt sander or similar will
come in handy lacking the surface plane. It's a ready-made excuse,
That is one of my concerns. The biscuit seems to be loose in the slot.
I bought another bag of #10 (Freud) - same thing. My technique? I
don't wobble around with the joiner, I use one quick move to cut the
slot and retract it, that's it. I don't think this is causing the slot
to be wider than it should be. Change the cutter? I don't know. When
you say tight-fitting, you mean, there should be slight resistance
when inserting the biscuit, and it should not be easy to take it out?
No, it should be snug, not loose in the slot.
Some less expensive biscuit cutters I've seen reviewed have problems w/
runout/wobble in spindles. Also possible the cutter isn't mounted
perfectly flat against the spindle or there's a manufacturing defect
there. Also the cutter itself could either not be quite flat/in line or
just slightly oversized...
I suspect the Ryoby, sorry. I just did a real slap-dash job making a pine work-
bench top - put bisquits in every 8" to help with alignment. I have a Makita
bisquit joiner, and I use Lamello bisquits. I didn't glue the bisquits this
time, but I have to lightly tap them into place with a wooden hammer, or press
them in with my thumb - they don't fall into the slot even when dry. I glued up
without any further alignment procedures described by other posters and the
biggest step on the surface would be around 1/5 of a mm -- um, not sure what
that's in inch but I guess well below 1/32 in any event; mostly I can't see any
stepping at all.
I made all the cuts with the 'native' setting of the joiner, in other words I
lightly press the board to be joined face down on to one of my worktables and
slide the joiner across the table top to make the cuts, not using any fence for
height setting, which works well for 3/4" boards. Because it eliminates any
accidental angling of the cuts, this makes it somewhat more accurate, in my
experience, than using a fence for height adjustment, but not THAT much of a
difference if one works carefully with a fence.
firstname dot lastname at gmail fullstop com
If you set the biscuit in the centers the boards could be different
thicknesses and both side wouldn't be flat. Make sure you're setting the
biscuit offset from one side and keep this side down when gluing up.
Maybe then you can get one good side.
I'm not that experienced, but I do glue-ups often.
Yes, it's normal to not execute a new procedure perfectly the first time,
at least for me.
Start with correct components. Tune your table saw. It sounds like it may
not be cutting perfect 90deg. The problem could also be different
thicknesses. Get a micrometer and angle, ensure parallel - consistent
thickness and right angles on all edges.
Perhaps a jig with a hand plane for 90's, easier done on a well tuned
tablesaw or chopsaw.
A jig with a router for a thickness planer. Like this. Plans and usage
instructions available in many routing books.
Whenever this happens to me it's because I rushed, didn't measure and
check angles and started with material of different dimensions or angles.
I do marquetry and the condition of the starting components, their
dimensions, angles and moisture content, determine the success of the
Use a micrometer and hand pick your stock for critical sections of the
project. You may find variances within your stock.
In the end some tasks are more difficult without tools available for that
task. A jointer and a thickness planer would probably fix everything.
Have someone else with the tools prepare this stock for you.
On Sat, 15 Mar 2008 18:40:30 -0700 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
No, this is not the usual in gluing up panels. It is very important
to make certain all the boards are flat, square, 90-degree edges, and
the same thickness. Work on a well-lit flat surface to check the fit
for any gaps. K-Body clamps work best for panel glue-ups. Over
tightening clamps may cause misalignment. After the boards are in the
clamps, check again for flatness with a long straightedge or winding
sticks. Biscuits are optional.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.