Biscuit joiner a good choice for cutting boards?

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Forum topic by harrywho posted 02-09-2011 04:08 PM 14475 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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123 posts in 4512 days

02-09-2011 04:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: biscuit joiner plate joiner

I may have an opportunity to buy some cherry shorts today at a pretty good price. What I’m thinking is to make a bunch of flat grain cutting boards out of them. My question is would it be a good investment as far as speed in glueing and ease of alignment to buy a PC 557 biscuit joiner? The idea is to have as little time and material cost in them so I could sell them at a very reasonable price.
I’ve have no experence with a biscuit joiner and don’t even know if useing one to make cutting boards is an idea worth pursuing. Any advice would be appreciated.

-- Harry, Indiana

10 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5498 days

#1 posted 02-09-2011 04:14 PM

Harry, biscuits help with alignment in some situations, but there is really no advantage, IMO, to using them in a simple glue-up like a cutting board. The glue joint will be plenty strong enough on its own, and the biscuits/slots have enough play that using them does not guarantee perfect flatness in your joint. I own a biscuit joiner and I’m glad I do, but I wouldn’t use it in this application.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3973 days

#2 posted 02-09-2011 04:15 PM

Do you have a router table? If so, you can buy a simple slot-cutting blade to use with biscuits. I have both & tend to use the router table for slotting. It’s more convenient for me to stack boards on one side, run them over the table, and stack them on the other side. I know they’ll all be cut the same. The biscuit joiner just seems a bit more awkward for me. Now a cordless biscuit cutter, then we could talk!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View RickLoDico's profile


55 posts in 4341 days

#3 posted 02-09-2011 04:35 PM

That would be a LOT more work without any benefit. Glue is all you need. Get a biscuit joiner anyway.

-- He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

View dbhost's profile


5811 posts in 4512 days

#4 posted 02-09-2011 04:38 PM

While I love my biscuit jointer for work like face frames, and even mitered door frames, this is just not a proper application of the tool, or joinery method…

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View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5102 days

#5 posted 02-09-2011 07:38 PM

I have to agree that a cutting board is not a project that would need biscuits for alignment. As Dbhost suggested, for face frames and miters a biscuit joiner is helpful with alignment issues but for a cutting board just clamps and glue, with some cauls , are all you need to keep it aligned.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Bertha's profile


13624 posts in 3973 days

#6 posted 02-09-2011 07:43 PM

Of course, I agree that no biscuits are required for this application. If cut by the router method I mention above, they’ll likely just trap glue & introduce voids. You might want to consider wrapping those cauls with wax paper. I’ve had some that were determined to become part of the project!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Loren's profile


11305 posts in 4928 days

#7 posted 02-09-2011 08:09 PM

I’d recommend trying it with dowels and without. The dowels are
not needed for strength, but you may find you prefer the alignment
of doing the glue-ups with dowels. See what you like better.

Biscuits don’t align as positively as dowels because they vary in thickness
and they have a problem with “telegraphing” through the wood. For
that reason I recommend not using them for your cutting boards.

If you get your stock precisely thicknessed, dowels can help you get your
glue-ups so accurate you can just knock off the dried glue, do a bit of
sanding and finish the boards. The main hassle of panel glue-ups is
planing the finished panels flat, so better-aligned glue-up can help
reduce the work of doing that.

If you’ve got good clamps (like the k-body style ones) you may find you can
get really acceptable glue-ups without too much fuss. There’s no one
way to ensure speediest production of gluing up something like cutting

View harrywho's profile


123 posts in 4512 days

#8 posted 02-09-2011 08:20 PM

Thanks for the input guys, I think I may have known the answer before I asked it but I was trying to justify getting the PC 557 biscuit joiner. You know the feeling when you just want a new tool.
Now if I glued up some of the shorts (they are only 2 1/4” wide) I could try some boxes with mitered corners, would a biscuit joiner work to keep the miters lined up?
Thanks again,

-- Harry, Indiana

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 4130 days

#9 posted 02-09-2011 09:22 PM

I have two biscuit joiners and both mic as accurately as is possible—within a few thousandths. But there are still variables when you’re cutting slots, and those seem to increase cutting slots in miters.

A miter joint is a pretty fair glue joint—not flat grain, not endgrain—so my recommendation is to miter them and clamp them with a band clamp and you can manually squnge them into shape.

When the glue cures you can do some spiffy things to strengthen and feature the joints, like contrasting splines or faux dovetails.

That’s my $.02, marked down today only.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Blue Mountain Woods's profile

Blue Mountain Woods

110 posts in 4214 days

#10 posted 02-09-2011 09:32 PM


-- Pete -----

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