Need Help With Biscuit Joiner Porter Cable Model 557

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Jenine posted 11-29-2020 07:54 PM 992 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jenine's profile


148 posts in 3185 days

11-29-2020 07:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: help porter cable biscuit joiner help needed porter cable 557 question

Hey there, community! I have what is probably the stupidest question ever, so please don’t judge me. In 10 years of woodworking I’ve never used a biscuit joiner, but suddenly had the need for one.

I purchased the Porter Cable model 557 and I cannot figure out how to turn the dial to adjust for the size of the biscuit. What am I missing!? I’ve watched 20 videos and nobody actually turns the dial, they just point to it and say to turn it. The owners manual simply says “turn the quick set depth adjustment turret”.

I have tried looking for a release button, pushing it in, pulling it out, lowering the fence and I’m about to try a rain dance at this point….

Thanks in advance if you can solve the mystery for me!

-- - Montana sucks. Tell your friends.

11 replies so far

View OldBull's profile


570 posts in 758 days

#1 posted 11-29-2020 08:18 PM

I do not have this or use one, I looked at the PDF manual (which you probably already have) and the only thing locked is the “fine” adjustment knob. It looks like the same mechanical stop as a plunge router depth gauge.

I am sure you have already been to page 10 in the manual,
A “quick set” depth adjusting turret (A) Fig. 2, provides for quick changes in
depth of cut to accommodate the various sizes of available biscuits and
other accessories. To set depth of cut: rotate depth adjusting turret until
desired size marking on turret aligns with the index mark (B) Fig. 2. The
following depth settings are provided:

My guess would be to grab that sucker and turn the ** out of it !! It is either that or it is defective maybe.

Sorry if all that was obvious and probably not much help.

View GaryCK's profile


148 posts in 1511 days

#2 posted 11-29-2020 08:20 PM

Nah, not stupid at all.

I had to go look at mine, as I didn’t remember anything funky about it, but I’ve not used it for a few months. The knob just twists. It admittedly twists with a fair amount of resistance, but it just twisted without any other action required. I was holding it off of the table by its handle when I twisted it. I could see there being extra resistance if it were setting on a benchtop.

Holler if that doesn’t work on yours.

-- Gary, Wisconsin

View Jenine's profile


148 posts in 3185 days

#3 posted 11-29-2020 08:32 PM

Thank you, Gary! With your advice that it was providing significant resistance, I asked my friend who is here to “man handle” it. He finally got it to turn…and cut his finger in the process because it was so resistant. It definitely seems a harder than it should be. Guess I’ll just stick with #20 biscuits forever. Thanks so much!

-- - Montana sucks. Tell your friends.

View therealSteveN's profile


10011 posts in 2036 days

#4 posted 11-29-2020 09:20 PM

I don’t have the PC unit, but I know it does have a locking micro adjust. On mine (also with a locking micro adjust) you need to loosen the micro first, then the gross adjustment will work easier. Not sure if that applies, but it wouldn’t be much to check next time you want to change biscuit size. Otherwise there isn’t a lot to it, like you said it just turns.

I think that was what the Bull was trying to convey above.

-- Think safe, be safe

View ras61's profile


133 posts in 2983 days

#5 posted 11-30-2020 02:30 AM

Mine just turns and stops with a click, just like the channel knob on an old B&W TV set (if you’re old enough to remember). Maybe it’s just gunked up, how about trying a shot of Liquid Wrench or other anti freeze lubricant, can’t hurt? Only other thing I can think of is it got whacked or dropped on the knob and the shaft got bent.

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View HarveyM's profile


164 posts in 3485 days

#6 posted 11-30-2020 03:54 AM

My 557 needs a ‘firm hand’ but you shouldn’t need to man handle it.

-- Just a Duffer

View williemakeit's profile


41 posts in 1535 days

#7 posted 11-30-2020 12:27 PM

The 557 is a great tool, with that saying you just got to play with it, get to know it tear up some wood ;)

Good luck

Cheers Bill

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7482 posts in 3956 days

#8 posted 11-30-2020 12:45 PM

I wouldn’t limit yourself to just the #20 biscuits, there will be times the smaller sizes are handy. I was just looking at mine, that knob is tight but in looking at it I think you could take a pair of pliers and grip it enough to rotate it. I though loosening that screw that holds it on might help, but that didn’t seem to be the case. In any case, as biscuit joiners go this is an excellent one…...good choice.

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

View EarlS's profile


5530 posts in 3810 days

#9 posted 11-30-2020 12:47 PM

Jenine – I have mine set for the #10 biscuit since it is the “middle” size and works for just about anything I need to use biscuits with. As others mentioned, it should just click between the biscuit sizes.

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

View splintergroup's profile


6957 posts in 2685 days

#10 posted 11-30-2020 07:53 PM

Yep, a knob with a detent to hold it in position. It should turn smoothly, perhaps the screw holding the knob to the tool is over-tight?

View pottz's profile


25891 posts in 2447 days

#11 posted 11-30-2020 07:57 PM

mines real hard to turn also,at least it move unintentionally.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics