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View Oldschoolguy's profile

Biscuit jointers

by Oldschoolguy
posted 01-09-2019 02:08 PM


42 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5747 posts in 3001 days


#1 posted 01-09-2019 02:20 PM

I had a Ryobi BJ for some time, and found it to be more trouble than it was worth. Trying to get the fence registered to 90° was a not-so-quick exercise. I went to a PC 557, and can’t recommend it enough for a biscuit joiner. To me a close second would be the Dewalt model. You won’t have to spend near that much on either as used show up frequently. If you opt for a used PC, look at the motor label and try to get a type 3, they had fence problems on some of the earlier ones that were fixed on the later models. Also, the PC came with 2 blades; one a very small one for FF biscuits…used ones are sometimes missing that blade.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View BlasterStumps's profile

BlasterStumps

1420 posts in 948 days


#2 posted 01-09-2019 02:29 PM

I use a router bit made for cutting biscuit slots. Works quite well.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

672 posts in 1257 days


#3 posted 01-09-2019 02:38 PM

I have the Makita. It works great, but has one flaw. The chip discharge opening (to the bag) will plug off too easily. I’d buy the PC if starting over.

View pottz's profile

pottz

6343 posts in 1493 days


#4 posted 01-09-2019 03:09 PM

i have one and use it quite frequently.i just used it glueing up boards to make a table top,not for added strength but to keep the boards aligned.i started with the dewalt many years ago but then upgraded to a porter cable which i think is one of the best on the market today.very easy to use,good quality.i always hook mine up to a vac,if you dont it can clog sometimes.its a tool i wouldn’t be without,many will disagree though.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View knotscott's profile (online now)

knotscott

8332 posts in 3884 days


#5 posted 01-09-2019 03:12 PM

Had one for a few years early on, then realized it’s far from a necessity. Biscuits aren’t needed often, and when they are, there are several good methods for using them that don’t require a specialized biscuit cutter….router, TS, etc/

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

6444 posts in 1221 days


#6 posted 01-09-2019 03:16 PM

in the cabinet shop we had a porter cable and it was a very good machine but when I bought 1 for home shop I bought a cheapo cheaponese now most time it just sits there :<)))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View RobHannon's profile

RobHannon

317 posts in 1039 days


#7 posted 01-09-2019 03:17 PM

I have an older Dewalt and it is very easy to use and setup, but I almost never use it.

What are you using it for? Good chance you can accomplish the joint another way with tools you have and save the money for more wood. More wood justifies more projects that require more tools. Post the projects here and then we can get inspiration for more projects and more tools. Everybody wins.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2839 posts in 2805 days


#8 posted 01-09-2019 03:24 PM

I have an older Porter Cable and have used a friends newer Dewalt. Depth and bevel setup on the Dewalt was better. Would I sell the PC to upgrade? No – I don’t use biscuits enough.

View Holt's profile

Holt

280 posts in 3137 days


#9 posted 01-09-2019 05:28 PM

I bought the DeWalt simply because Porter Cable got into some kind of infringement problem and had to make a change that wasn’t all that great. The storm of what model types were good and bad and how to tell them apart was so aggravating that I punted and bought DeWalt.

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

742 posts in 419 days


#10 posted 01-09-2019 06:23 PM

I have the harbor freight brand. Cheap only paid $54 with coupon a couple years ago. Used it on about 30 projects, and had no issues. It’s not the same quality as some of the other brands, but saves money for other tools.

View Kazooman's profile (online now)

Kazooman

1358 posts in 2460 days


#11 posted 01-09-2019 07:14 PM

I think the Lamello is the gold standard, but it is more than double your budget. I have the DeWalt. It works just fine. The only issue with it is that it sounds like it is tearing its guts out when you fire it up. Still going strong, so I assume that is a “feature” and not a flaw.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4983 posts in 1098 days


#12 posted 01-09-2019 07:14 PM


I bought the DeWalt simply because Porter Cable got into some kind of infringement problem and had to make a change that wasn t all that great. The storm of what model types were good and bad and how to tell them apart was so aggravating that I punted and bought DeWalt.

- Holt

What change did they have to make?

-- There are 10 types of people—those who understand binary, and those who don’t

View pottz's profile

pottz

6343 posts in 1493 days


#13 posted 01-09-2019 08:16 PM



I think the Lamello is the gold standard, but it is more than double your budget. I have the DeWalt. It works just fine. The only issue with it is that it sounds like it is tearing its guts out when you fire it up. Still going strong, so I assume that is a “feature” and not a flaw.

- Kazooman


yeah i had one,always sounded like a bearing was going bad-lol.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View JRsgarage's profile

JRsgarage

367 posts in 1017 days


#14 posted 01-09-2019 08:19 PM



I bought the DeWalt simply because Porter Cable got into some kind of infringement problem and had to make a change that wasn t all that great. The storm of what model types were good and bad and how to tell them apart was so aggravating that I punted and bought DeWalt.

- Holt

I think the one to avoid was type 2 which were the ones right after the law suit. PC probably rushed in redesigning the fence

-- “Facts don't care about your feelings.” ..., Ben Shapiro

View FreddieMac's profile

FreddieMac

147 posts in 856 days


#15 posted 01-09-2019 08:20 PM

I purchased the Ryobi plate joiner back in August for a computer desk project. I joined the top of the desk with it and did not have many problem. It was pretty easy to setup and use. I know plate joiners have a bad reputation, but I have had some success with mine since august.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2404 posts in 2498 days


#16 posted 01-09-2019 09:15 PM

Thankfully I borrowed one several years ago and found it frustrating to use and mostly unnecessary, and never bought one. Havent looked back since…

View oldnovice's profile (online now)

oldnovice

7499 posts in 3876 days


#17 posted 01-09-2019 09:21 PM

I have a DeWalt DW682K and I like everything about it except the chip collection which is poor.
I normally buy Porter Cable but I did not like the model that was available so I went with DeWalt and 8 years ago.
DeWalt and Porter Cable are both parts of Stanley so the parent company did not lose out.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View bmerrill's profile

bmerrill

58 posts in 582 days


#18 posted 01-09-2019 09:48 PM

Have a DeWalt purchased for one specific project. Worked very well.
Its for sell now. PM if interested.

-- "Do. Or do not. There is no try". Yoda

View PPK's profile

PPK

1526 posts in 1318 days


#19 posted 01-09-2019 09:54 PM



I use a router bit made for cutting biscuit slots. Works quite well.

- BlasterStumps

Me too. Way cheaper than the biscuit machine. Just as fast, in my opinion. I use biscuits so infrequently.

-- Pete

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3012 posts in 3946 days


#20 posted 01-09-2019 10:00 PM

If you’re going to do a lot of wide glue-ups, then it’s nice for aligning the joints. If they fit through my planer (no larger than 12 3/4” then I do the best I can and plane the difference. They don’t really help much structurally, just alignment.
I found a nearly new Dewalt one on Craigslist for $60. Otherwise I probably would never have bought one.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View steve104c's profile

steve104c

52 posts in 1746 days


#21 posted 01-09-2019 11:59 PM

I have a Porter Cable. Love it. Has 2 different cutters. Use #0 to #20 biscuits. Easy depth, angle and thickness setting. Steve.

View skatefriday's profile

skatefriday

452 posts in 1991 days


#22 posted 01-10-2019 02:42 AM

Buy my Porter Cable! Used once. Never left box since.

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2467 days


#23 posted 01-10-2019 02:54 AM

Cannot think of a use for one. It does NOT add strength in any way, is lousy for alignment, and is one more thing you have to buy and store.

Glue should be enough or get a dowel or domino joiner.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2627 posts in 3505 days


#24 posted 01-10-2019 04:44 AM

I have Freuds they have easy depth adjustments !
One has cutter for #10
Other one has cutter for #20
I bought used !
I use mine occasionally to do glue ups of table tops and side panels. Helps align the boards till I get clamps tightened up.
I used to use router with special slot cutter. The biscuit machine is easier to line up cuts

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View John_'s profile

John_

213 posts in 2214 days


#25 posted 01-10-2019 05:34 AM

I have a Lamello and although it was expensive, I have been very pleased with it and use it quite often still

BroncoBrian – take a look at this video if you can’t think of a use for a biscuit

https://youtu.be/lU1w52XR5T0?t=39

View jutsFL's profile

jutsFL

191 posts in 349 days


#26 posted 01-10-2019 06:18 AM

Ive got the makita… Its very nice to use. I dont really have the issue with dust/chip collection that others speak of with it. Although, I’m usually only cutting a few biscuits at a time.

-- I've quickly learned that being a woodworker isn't about making flawless work, rather it's fixing all the mistakes you made so that it appears flawless to others! Jay - FL

View gtrgeo's profile

gtrgeo

53 posts in 938 days


#27 posted 01-10-2019 07:13 AM

I have the Dewalt and have been pleased with it. It did require some fine tuning to ensure the cuts are parallel to the reference surface. Not a big deal there are few places on the net/YouTube that show how to do this. Yea, it sounds like an angle grinder but has never had a problem in the 15+ years I have had it. And I have found the dust collection to be good as I connect to vacuum with the included port.

View Brawler's profile

Brawler

67 posts in 339 days


#28 posted 01-10-2019 04:16 PM

IMHO, I would go for the PC 557, but my close second choice is the Dewalt DW682. I personally have the Dewalt because I got it for $50 on CL. I have not had any problems with it as of yet.

-- Daniel

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2467 days


#29 posted 01-10-2019 04:30 PM



I have a Lamello and although it was expensive, I have been very pleased with it and use it quite often still

BroncoBrian – take a look at this video if you can t think of a use for a biscuit

https://youtu.be/lU1w52XR5T0?t=39

- John_H

Ok, that part at 2:08 is pretty slick. Nicest biscuit tools I have seen. I would do rest of that the same way with a domino.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View John_'s profile

John_

213 posts in 2214 days


#30 posted 01-10-2019 07:13 PM

If I was going to spend the money on a Domino, I would be tempted to look at the Lamello Zeta P2. It takes the ‘biscuit’ to the next step by cutting a verticle groove (think of it as a lip) at the bottom of the cut. They make a variety of fasteners – the ‘P System” that you can then tap into the slot. Some of them are ‘self clamping’ or are made to be detachable for knock-down type construction

http://www.lamello.com/product/p-system-einbau/zeta-p2/

On my Lamello – it has a dial that adjusts the blade up or down to easily center the cut in the material you are working on. I have spent my share of money on Festool – but I am done giving them any more.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

10915 posts in 1647 days


#31 posted 01-10-2019 07:49 PM

I have a Freud. No problems with it. I’ve only used it a handful of times but it’s done what it was supposed to every time.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Rich's profile

Rich

4983 posts in 1098 days


#32 posted 01-10-2019 07:59 PM

I have a PC 557 as well. I’m surprised at the general lack of interest in biscuit joiners here. Maybe just a lack of imagination. It’s one of the most useful tools I own.

-- There are 10 types of people—those who understand binary, and those who don’t

View Jared_S's profile

Jared_S

219 posts in 467 days


#33 posted 01-10-2019 10:17 PM

I have the Dewalt and a couple delta stationary machines.

I should have purchased the lamello.

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

672 posts in 1257 days


#34 posted 01-11-2019 12:38 AM

I’ll be using my Makita tomorrow. Got some glue ups to do, and the biscuits will help me keep it all aligned. I agree with what someone said about being surprised at the lack of interest in biscuit joiners. For some tasks there’s nothing better, faster or simpler.

I mentioned earlier that my Makita will plug up with shavings, but that’s usually only when doing lots of cuts for size 20 biscuits. It’s a good unit.

View oldnovice's profile (online now)

oldnovice

7499 posts in 3876 days


#35 posted 01-12-2019 12:27 AM

All this talk about biscuits has made me hungry for some ….

Here is an answer

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

3071 posts in 2533 days


#36 posted 01-12-2019 02:40 AM

I had a belly full of doweling back before other systems were available. The problem is, the holes have to be perfectly aligned, especially (as one would normally do) if more than one dowel is going to be used. The vertical alignment isn’t a problem, with the various doweling jigs available, but the lateral positioning has to be perfect as well. If not, you will have a hell of a time forcing the boards together, even more so as the moisture in the glue swells the dowel and makes it harder yet to close the joint. Biscuits have the advantage that the machine sets the vertical placement, and the lateral positioning is very flexible.

By the way, my joiner is a PC, which I found through CL. I will retire it when HF comes out with a clone of the Domino for $79.95.

The one place I do use dowels is in repairing something like a broken stool leg. The dowel goes into one hole as usual, but the mating hole I drill considerably oversize. When I join the 2 broken halves, I cram well-thickened epoxy into the oversize hole, which compensates for the very loose fit. It’s quick to do, and as strong as you can expect such a repair to be. Also easy to line up any jagged ends from the break, as the epoxy filled part can be rotated and wiggled.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2428 posts in 3452 days


#37 posted 01-12-2019 05:59 AM

Another vote on the Lamello. It was my first biscuit machine decades ago. Since then, I bought a Porter Cable and it runs not terribly far behind the Lamello.

People can say what they want about biscuits, but when they are needed, they’re great. For example, I found it invaluable for holding 45’s together, for keeping counter top butt joints flush to each other and so on.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2916 posts in 1731 days


#38 posted 01-12-2019 03:45 PM

I have the PC 557 (version II) which had the face recessed slightly causing issues with some cuts, I believe this was a result of patent issues with DeWalt at the time. A fellow was selling shim kits to correct the problem which solved all the issues simply and cheaply. I believe the following version corrected the issue.
As with the domino, one must take care to use it consistently (always reference off the same surface being the biggie).

I used this tool often for alignment during panel glue ups and loved the speed and utility, but I never went past using it for these type of operations and other tasks where I needed to reinforce a butt joint (baseboard moldings). I also found it handy for trimming door frames when installing tile.

A handy tool, but I use it far less than I had envisioned when buying it.

View Gentile's profile

Gentile

347 posts in 2327 days


#39 posted 01-12-2019 06:32 PM

I have a DeWalt I bought 15, or so, years ago. It’s held up well, I’ve never had to replace the blade. I don’t use it very often, it’s good to have handy when I do need it.
Have you tried looking in a pawn shop? I’ve picked up stuff from them over the years…

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View Gentile's profile

Gentile

347 posts in 2327 days


#40 posted 01-13-2019 01:15 AM

I

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View becikeja's profile

becikeja

1013 posts in 3321 days


#41 posted 01-13-2019 01:28 PM

Dewalt, don’t use it much. But when I do it works great

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

921 posts in 2093 days


#42 posted 01-13-2019 06:15 PM

I have an ancient Ryobi, no telling how old, like 20+ years, I know. I use it and like the outcome. I don’t think the fence design is really up to current standards, so I have to be mindful of checking on it.

I see the biscuit joiner as a great tool to have on hand. I plan to get a new version Porter Cable before long.

Without a doubt it works really well, but I remain astonished that the domino tool can be sold for its ever-rising prices. However, I do know all about spending way too much on cars and trucks, sports equipment, concert tickets, and and other “toys”, so I get it. (Pride of ownership is a real thing, and the Festool following cannot be denied.)

.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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