Chicago Electric Power Tools - Harbor Freight Biscuit Joiner (Rating: 3)

I almost never use biscuit joinery, but when the Chicago Electric Plate Joiner went on sale at Harbor Freight for $30 I bought one. Since nobody's reviewed it yet, I thought I should give my observations.

First of all, Harbor Freight is a wonderful store full of a LOT of great tools, some of very high quality and all for very low prices. But as a general rule I never buy their hand power tools. There's just too much orange plastic! But I took a chance on this one and the result is mixed.

Here's the good- The heart of the tool is a strong motor and a carbide blade. It is noisey but powerful and cuts slots as well as I could want.

Here's the bad- The fence is plastic and moves to easily. It makes getting a good, clean cut perpendicular to the surface a challange. And the depth adjustment is chinsey. But it works fine.

Bottom line- If you do a lot of buscuit joints, or want a really accurate tool for glueups, buy a better one. That plastic fence is a deal breaker. But if you want something to mess around with and maybe make your own bench top system, this is a great deal. (I went back and forth between two and three stars- perhaps it's worth 2.75)