Biscuits, Pocket Screws, T&G, or Other for Flat Surfaces?

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Forum topic by MJClark posted 10-15-2018 12:37 PM 1355 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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37 posts in 660 days

10-15-2018 12:37 PM

What is your favorte method to join wood to create a large flat surface such as a table or desk top? In the past I have gone with T&G or Pocket Screws. I was reading that biscuits don’t add much in strength compared to a traditional face joint glued up. Last time I used pocket screws it worked ok and while I think it would be fine if you are only seeing one side, I would not want to do it for a project where both sides are visible. I don’t have a biscuit cutter but I have used a slotted router bit after seeing how a custom cabinet manufacturer was doing it. They noted it speeds up the process as you only need to line them up in one direction.

What is your preferred method and why?

16 replies so far

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#1 posted 10-15-2018 12:40 PM


-- Sawdust Maker

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#2 posted 10-15-2018 01:41 PM

Glue provides more then enough strength.

I generally don’t use anything, but sometimes it is necessary, for example a slightly bowed board that you can’t joint. In that case, dowels or Dominoes are the best option. You can also cut slots and use short splines (be sure to orient them 90° to grain direction of panel). Biscuits don’t work as well for this purpose IME.

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

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#3 posted 10-15-2018 01:44 PM

Just glue and cauls for alignment.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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#4 posted 10-15-2018 02:01 PM

this is my method.


- LittleShaver

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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14069 posts in 1914 days

#5 posted 10-15-2018 02:09 PM

Definitely glue. I use biscuits occasionally depending on what the piece is for but they are solely used for alignment and aren’t relied on for any bond strength.

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

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Gerald Thompson

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#6 posted 10-15-2018 02:37 PM


-- Jerry

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#7 posted 10-15-2018 02:55 PM

Biscuits are very easy and do help with alignment but you are right, they don’t add much strength. A plain glue joint is plenty strong anyway. IMO, the only thing a pocket screw might do is help apply a little more pressure during glue up if you don’t have enough clamps. I did used the once to join 2 relatively short pieces of laminated particle board because I didn’t think that would glue up very well. T&G or a spline will add more glue surface area and should improve alignment but you have to be more exact with cutting them. Any warpage will make that more difficult so are probably more trouble than they are worth. T&G is good for breadboard ends though.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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3145 posts in 2948 days

#8 posted 10-15-2018 03:02 PM

Glue, sometimes biscuit to help with alignment even that is very rare.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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1480 posts in 1592 days

#9 posted 10-15-2018 03:06 PM

If you can overcome the alignment problem, then glue alone is the best solution. For alignment purposes, I have used dowels and a precision jig as they are stronger and more accurate than biscuits.

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894 posts in 2734 days

#10 posted 10-15-2018 04:36 PM


I love using Dominos. All you need is glue, hence the name glue-up. But the domino nearly guarantees that you will have a flat face each time. They fit snug and even. Even if your boards are not the same thickness (some reclaimed projects work out this way) you will have a flat face because the depth off the top face will be the same.

Or just glue.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View EarlS's profile


3736 posts in 3124 days

#11 posted 10-15-2018 04:51 PM

Glue and biscuits. I actually prefer the Gorilla PVC (foaming) glue over Titebond. Biscuits every 8 ” help keep everything aligned and flat, especially if you are gluing more than 2 boards together or long boards.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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351 posts in 735 days

#12 posted 10-16-2018 01:35 AM

Glue and cauls.

This was a nine board 133”x42” table top

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#13 posted 10-16-2018 01:42 AM

Jared, you left out 136 clamps.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

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351 posts in 735 days

#14 posted 10-16-2018 01:50 AM

Jared, you left out 136 clamps.

- BroncoBrian

Lol I use almost the same amount of clamps if I’m using biscuits, dominos or finger/glue joints.

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10859 posts in 2261 days

#15 posted 10-16-2018 02:19 AM


- LittleShaver


I might use biscuits for a thick glue up but for 2’x2’ or less I just roll with it. I use painters tape for thin 3/8 or less stock maybe even small 1/2 thick panels.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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