Biscuit joiner vs router bit

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Forum topic by B4B posted 01-02-2017 06:43 AM 3631 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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163 posts in 2278 days

01-02-2017 06:43 AM


I don’t have a need for a buiscuit joiner on a regular basis, but today I was working on a project where it would have been handy to have. For occasional use, how well do router bits, like the whiteside machine 1945 bit work compared to a plate joiner like the dw682k? I already have quality router, so shelling out 30 for a router bit is more appealing than shelling out 200 for a dedicated machine that will only see occasional use.


-- There's two routers in my vocab, one that moves data and one that removes wood, the latter being more relevant on this forum.

19 replies so far

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4288 days

#1 posted 01-02-2017 06:47 AM

Using a router bit to cut bisquits can be difficult to align the cuts. I have a cheap Ryobi bisquit cutter that works just as good as any of them. You can find them real cheap on Craigs list too.

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 1511 days

#2 posted 01-02-2017 07:15 AM

If you make biscuit joints 24/7 by no means get a special tool. I use a router for that, it is i guess less convenient but gets the job done. I havent noticed any difficulty in aligning the tool.
The main reason i do not have it is one extra tool to hang around.
Also i try to go with biscuits when other options are exhausted.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7902 posts in 3833 days

#3 posted 01-02-2017 11:33 AM

I tend to use dados and floating tenons made by router bits. Floating tenons work much like biscuits, though stronger because of length and depth of mortise. Just another way of joining wood…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Fred Hargis

6581 posts in 3413 days

#4 posted 01-02-2017 11:57 AM

I think the router bits work quite well. It is hard to align the joints (laterally) but just make them a little wider. I remember when Norm built a kitchen for his series, he actually used a router bit and cut the slot the full length of the carcase and stiles. Then stuck biscuits in every 12” or so.

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

View TOOLWHORE's profile


4 posts in 1430 days

#5 posted 01-02-2017 01:14 PM

I love my Porter Cable Biscuit Joiner. I’ve had it for years. It’s snap crackle pop. User friendly, idiot proof, perfect alignment, no set-up time. That’s the one thing I dislike about woodworking & metalworking for single projects is the Set-up Time. There’s no way around it. I’m just a hobby woodworker, not a commercial shop.

With a little patience you can score a quality used machine on craigslist or ebay. I will always go for the quality used tool over the cheap Chinese junk. Just a matter of preference I guess.

View OnhillWW's profile


271 posts in 2152 days

#6 posted 01-02-2017 01:57 PM

I have used a router mounted in a router table for biscuit / spline joints for years and have never felt handicapped by doing so i.e. though I can easily afford a dedicated machine I have never felt the need to make the purchase. I find this to be a very versatile option: first the tabletop is large making alignment very stable and the option of doing biscuits and splines with the same setup useful. YMMV.

-- Cheap is expensive! - my Dad

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12263 posts in 4348 days

#7 posted 01-02-2017 02:03 PM

JMHO but, I don’t believe biscuits or splines add an appreciable amount of strength to a joint. I use them occasionally for alignment, though. A router works well.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View johnstoneb's profile


3163 posts in 3092 days

#8 posted 01-02-2017 02:32 PM

I have a biscuit joiner but a router will work just as well. As Gene says the biscuit don’t add a lot of strength to the join but do help with alignment. The router bit will allow you to go with a spline if you so desire. To align just make a pencil mark centered on where you want the biscuit and cut a little longer than the biscuit. The biscuit joiner cuts a slot a little longer than the biscuit also. Alignment is really not a problem for the router.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Robert's profile


4157 posts in 2400 days

#9 posted 01-02-2017 02:40 PM

You can make a router plate offset to one side & keep that side pressed down against wood.

I have a biscuit jointer used to use it a lot now maybe once a year…...

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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1588 posts in 3987 days

#10 posted 01-02-2017 02:54 PM

I’m curious what you “need” biscuits for?

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View knotscott's profile


8392 posts in 4295 days

#11 posted 01-02-2017 03:10 PM

I had a DeWalt biscuit cutter years ago, and soon realized that I really didn’t need biscuits that often, so I sold it. On the occasions where I think a biscuit would be useful/necessary I use a router bit. I would not spend $200 for a dedicated machine. If you happen to stumble into a cheap used one, go for it, otherwise a router bit works well for me.

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

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1668 days

#12 posted 01-02-2017 03:49 PM

I have a Makita biscuit joiner. Had it for years. If I want to glue up boards and get everything aligned and flat, I reach for that tool. I could probably accomplish the same thing with my router table, but the biscuit joiner is pretty fast. And I don’t think I could get quite the same amount of precision with the router table.

A buddy had the Ryobi unit. It wasn’t the quality of my Makita, but it worked pretty well.

If cost is no object, get the Lamello. Otherwise, your top choices would be the PC, DW, or Makita. Probably, of those 3, the PC would be best to own.

View Loren's profile


10799 posts in 4567 days

#13 posted 01-02-2017 03:58 PM

The advantage of a biscuit joiner is you can tilt
the fence. On a router table biscuit slots are
limited to on the flat.

One of the fun things about biscuit joiners
is doing miters with them. The fence makes
that possible.

The P-C 557 is one of the better joiners out there
in terms of design and features. That’s what
I use.

I use dowels more lately but I really do appreciate
having a biscuit joinery available for angled

View ScottM's profile


752 posts in 3066 days

#14 posted 01-02-2017 04:00 PM

HF sells biscuit joiners pretty cheap. I was in the same boat as you; needed/wanted to use it on a project but couldn’t justify the cost of a “good” maker for the quantity of use. The HF version was cheap enough to try it. Seems to work fine the few times I’ve used it.

View B4B's profile


163 posts in 2278 days

#15 posted 01-02-2017 04:59 PM

Thanks, a lot of varied experiance and thoughts.

I was making some plywood shelves with a hardwood bumper in the front. I would have liked to use a buiscuit or dowel to help align the pieces for the glue up. It’s the first time I’ve has a desire to use buiscuit joinery.

It sounds like the router bit and joiner methods produce the same end result, the joiner is just more efficient and offers some additional flexibility.

-- There's two routers in my vocab, one that moves data and one that removes wood, the latter being more relevant on this forum.

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