A nice joiner at a terrific price

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Review by ferstler posted 11-28-2008 10:04 PM 22249 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A nice joiner at a terrific price No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

This is Ryobi’s second biscuit joiner that I know of. The first was similar to this one and cost the same $99 bucks, but had the stock number JM81. The earlier version was cheaply made, with a plastic base plate and rather clunky controls.

This newer version has a metal base plate and the controls are more refined. The fence is adjustable from 0 to 135 degrees and the fence height can be set from 0 to 2 inches. It can easily handle number 0, 10, and 20 biscuits and comes with a detachable dust bag. I run it detached, and hook it up to my dust collector via a very flexible hose. The power cord is ten feet long and the motor draws 6.4 amps. Sears also sold a nearly identical version of the newer model reviewed here for a while, although the paint scheme was different.

One woodworking magazine reviewed this version along with several other brands. Their verdict was that it was heavy and awkward to use. However, handling can be subjective, and anybody ought to be able to deal with the 8.4-pound weight. This device is quite different from other designs, and I personally like the way the handle sits in relation to the motor. Also, the design is more straightforward, with the vertically mounted motor being directly attached to the blade shaft. The other designs require a right-angle drive fitting that at the very least makes more noise.

All in all, this is a good joiner and I see no design problems with it. It is a great bang-for-buck tool.

Howard Ferstler

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342 posts in 4367 days

19 comments so far

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48 posts in 4414 days

#1 posted 11-29-2008 01:34 AM

thank you for a good review. it’s refreshing that someone believes it doesn’t need to cost $600 to be acceptable.

-- mrsawdust, pittsburgh,pa.

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306 posts in 4477 days

#2 posted 11-29-2008 02:15 AM

I have one of these and I agree it is a great tool at a great price.

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4367 days

#3 posted 11-29-2008 03:00 AM

I think it is great to own upscale and exotic tools that cost a fortune. Unfortunately, I do not have a fortune and even if I did I would rather spend my bigger bucks on stuff like superior audio/video gear (a hobby I managed to publish four books and 150+ magazine articles about over the past 30 years) than on exotic, esoteric, and expensive tools. Of course, my shop is small and if it were larger I might do an about face and sink big bucks filling up the additional space. Nobody is perfect, including me!

I think that many people fail to remember that some pretty terrifric pieces of furniture and wooden artworks were made a long time back by people using some rather primitive tools. They substituted elbow grease and skill for electricity. While top-tier tools are nice to have (I think some of those I have reviewed here are in that category), a more important thing to have is the ability to creatively use what tools we have.

I am a retired and now somewhat frustrated audio writer (audio as a serious and esoteric hobby is pretty much dead) and it is fun as can be for me to write reviews of tools, even though I am nowhere near as experienced as a lot of polished woodworkers who are members of this group. I suppose after writing scads of audio product reviews I have to blow of steam and energy somewhere, and one way to do it is to write reviews of tools. Of course, it is even more fun to use those tools to build stuff, and some of that stuff includes the clocks and weather gauges I recently showcased on our “projects” pages, as well as additional items I pictured in earlier installments.

Howard Ferstler

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120 posts in 4845 days

#4 posted 11-29-2008 08:46 AM

that is the same one I have. I got mine off ebay like new for $25 shipped

-- Jim in Cushing Oklahoma

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143 posts in 4409 days

#5 posted 12-01-2008 06:20 AM

I’ve got a JM80 ( I assume that is the earlier model) that has preformed very well since I bought it last year for a woodworkers widow. I use it all the time and it probably represents the best 25 bucks I ever spent. All in all I can’t see any advantage to the Fein.

-- JMP

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4367 days

#6 posted 12-02-2008 06:43 PM

The earlier model I had was the JM81. Apparently, according to your comments, they had one even before that. It might be a fine tool. Ryobi subcontracts many of their tools and it is possible that one version (JM80) was fine, the next one (JM81) was not, and the third (JM82) was again fine.

Howard Ferstler

View Jerry's profile


221 posts in 4385 days

#7 posted 12-06-2008 04:48 PM

I also have this JM82 and have made many, many bisquits with it. I have been satisfied with the results and the handle is more comfortable than the Dewalt I used previously.

If you think you can or you can’t, you are probably right.

-- Jerry - Rochester, MN *Whether you think you can or you can't, you are probably right* - Henry Ford

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43 posts in 4280 days

#8 posted 12-31-2008 08:37 PM

I’ve used this for about a year and it has yet to fail me. Simple and the dust collection system actually works pretty darn well with the bag ryobi provides.

I started off with a few ryobi tools that I didn’t quite like the quality of, but this is one that I would keep and would not upgrade for any reasons I see now or in the future.

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8 posts in 4208 days

#9 posted 03-25-2009 05:44 AM

I have the same model and would also give it a thumbs up!

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946 posts in 4201 days

#10 posted 05-13-2009 03:36 AM

This ryobi biscut joiner looks nice but i have had a lot of problems with ryobi tools the dewalt one is really nice too

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118134 posts in 4424 days

#11 posted 05-13-2009 03:45 AM

good reveiw, this should do a good job for you,


View skeeter's profile


233 posts in 4188 days

#12 posted 05-25-2009 05:39 PM

I have the Craftman model and I find it sometimes hard to register on the edge. The design problem I have found with it is that you are pushing the blade in on a different plane than the other more traditional biscuit joiners that look more like an angle grinder i.e. Dewalt, Porter-Cable, Lamello. If you are not very careful you will push the blade down as you push the blade in because the handle is so high up. If you take this problem into consideration you can be careful and avoid it though.

-- My philosophy: Somewhere between Norm and Roy

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4367 days

#13 posted 05-25-2009 07:17 PM

Yes. I make a point of securing the front overhang flat on the workpiece with my palm as I slide the blade into the cut. I have never used a “traditional” design model, and maybe I would find it better than the Ryobi/Sears unit. However, I am used to this one and have adapted. Hard to beat the price, at least.

Howard Ferstler

View gko's profile


83 posts in 4091 days

#14 posted 07-10-2009 09:41 AM

I have the same model and have not had any problems with it as long as I push straight into the cut. I’m not a professional and use it only occasionally so no need for something that might need to last through everyday use. Very clean cuts and biscuits fit snuggly. Only problem I encountered was the sandpaper came off the face which caused it to slide sideways a bit. Just glued a piece of sandpaper and everything was back to normal.

I used to be an avid audiophile back in the 70’s and 80’s running Audio Research tube, Spendor, moving coil, Revox reel to reel, etc. I agree that audio is not what it used to be. It seems that the extremely high price to be an audiophile now has moved most people into the consumer grade stuff.

-- Wood Menehune, Honolulu

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342 posts in 4367 days

#15 posted 07-10-2009 07:23 PM

High prices are one problem, although after testing a lot of gear (mostly speakers) I think you will find that some reasonably priced products can match or even surpass some of the best of the exotics, at least if a good subwoofer helps the budget stuff deliver truly deep bass. Another factor would be the state of the music industry and the types of music people listen to a lot now, compared to what was listened to at least more than now back when audio was just getting started, and then on into its heyday when companies like AR, Bose, Advent, KLH (KLH being kind of a proto Advent outfit, actually), Dynaco, Marantz, and MacIntosh dominated the “serious-audio” business.

Rock music (what most people listen to now) really does not demand a “high fidelity” audio system, since fidelity means the ability to simulate a live acoustic performance (jazz, classical, and in some cases country), whereas with rock music there is no “concert-hall sound” or “jazz-club sound” standard that can be applied. In the old days, enthusiasts wanted an audio system to do a decent job of simulating a live performance in a concert hall or jazz club. No more. All people need now is plenty of volume, bass bandwidth, and punch, and the ability of the speakers to not self-destruct when “rock concert” volume levels are achieved at home.

Also, in the old days much of audio was dominated (in terms of philosophy and attitude) by techno geeks. These days, most of the geeks have abandoned the hobby in favor of computers and computer-related products.

Finally, various high-end enthusiasts, manufacturers, and journalists managed over the years to come up with some of the goofiest and weirdest products, points of view, and attitudes imaginable (thinking about what some people will pay for a set of speaker wires still gives me hives), and that comedy managed to alienate both the geeks and mainstream consumers.

Howard Ferstler

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