Joinery Blasphemy - Picking a Biscuit Jointer

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 01-24-2014 04:53 AM 1802 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1332 posts in 2501 days

01-24-2014 04:53 AM

Topic tags/keywords: biscuit joiner

Hey guys,

I foresee myself needing to buy a biscuit jointer in the near future to do a small addition to a cash register in a retail store. I know, I am angering the woodworking gods, but this really is more of a commercial situation using plywood where “real” joinery is not feasible.

That being said, What biscuit jointer do you guys recommend? I can’t buy a Lamello or a Festool. Those are not feasible options, but the rest (Porter-Cable, Dewalt, Ryobi, etc.) are free game. I see myself using this sometimes but not religiously, which is why I rule out the more expensive ones. So, which ones do y’all like?


-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

35 replies so far

View Picklehead's profile


1053 posts in 2495 days

#1 posted 01-24-2014 04:57 AM

I have a PC that I like, handle on the fence.

-- Quote from ebay tool listing: " Has nicks and dings wear and tear dust and dirt rust and pitting but in good working condition"

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3607 days

#2 posted 01-24-2014 05:01 AM

PC or DeWalt are great machines… I bought one 2 years ago and used it seldom, so in reality unless you plan on using it a lot it doesn’t matter.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6017 posts in 3379 days

#3 posted 01-24-2014 05:04 AM

I have the Dewalt and can recommend it highly. I find myself using a few biscuits on each project. Even on projects primarily built with mortise and tenon construction, there is always a need for a biscuit joiner.

Dust collection is excellent with a shop vac. The Dewalt brand biscuits fit the slot snugly for good alignment.
It is a great tool.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4213 days

#4 posted 01-24-2014 05:37 AM

I think the ones with the rack and pinion fences are probably
the better ones.

I had a Freud with a clamp on fence and it was always slipping
out of parallel. I think among more modestly priced joiners the
PC, DeWalt and Makita have the rack and pinion fences.

There are many ways to use a biscuit joiner that don’t require
a fence and that’s how I used the Freud. For angled joinery
you really need a good fence.

I think Freud recognized the error in their design and produced
a joiner called “Avanti” for awhile with a rack and pinion.

View Woodknack's profile


12950 posts in 2946 days

#5 posted 01-24-2014 05:53 AM

I’ve only used the PC but have owned it for years and it’s a solid tool.

-- Rick M,

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 3125 days

#6 posted 01-24-2014 06:05 AM

No need to get defensive, it’s just a tool. I have a PC that I use sometimes to align edge glue ups. it works great.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View Rxmpo's profile


269 posts in 4311 days

#7 posted 01-24-2014 06:09 AM

I have the Dewalt and works great every time…Agree with Loren about rack & pinion. I see them on CL all the time cheap because they are a specialty tool.

View Manitario's profile


2790 posts in 3449 days

#8 posted 01-24-2014 08:35 AM

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View NiteWalker's profile


2739 posts in 3142 days

#9 posted 01-24-2014 08:46 AM

PC or dewalt are the go to’s. If you’ll never use the ff size (ultra small) biscuits, get the dewalt as it’s usually cheaper.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1082 posts in 3631 days

#10 posted 01-24-2014 11:49 AM

My favorite is PC, but I’ve owned DW and those are nice too. I’d look for either one of those on CL.

-- Paul Mayer,

View WibblyPig's profile


172 posts in 3840 days

#11 posted 01-24-2014 12:22 PM

I have a PC you can have for 25.00 plus shipping from St. Louis. Can’t remember the model but it comes in a metal carrying case. (I’d send it for the cost of shipping but have to charge something or my wife will get bent out of shape like a pretzel since I want to get a wide belt sander).

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View bigblockyeti's profile (online now)


6140 posts in 2286 days

#12 posted 01-24-2014 01:06 PM

Where I used to work I had a PC 557 which I liked, at my home shop I have a PC 555, which has a little less power, but is quieter and I find the ergonomics a little better. The fence on the 557 was better than the one that came with the 555, the accessory adjustable fence PC sold for the 555 is almost as good as the 557, if it only had the rack and pinion system, it would be as good. From what I’ve seen an excellent condition used 555 can be had for as little as $60, a 557, closer to twice that.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 2591 days

#13 posted 01-24-2014 01:15 PM

I have one I picked for making some cabinets from plywood, they were not intended to be “fine woodworking” but they came out very nice. I got it at Harbor Frieght for 40 bucks wirth a coupon. It is not adjustable for angle work, but it does fine for what I use it for. easy to set the depth of cut and easy to set the height of where the cut will be. I have had no problems with it comeing out of paralell. I have had for maybe 5 years? I’m happy with it,but it does not get used often.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View bbc557ci's profile


596 posts in 2640 days

#14 posted 01-24-2014 02:27 PM

If you don’t need or use it that often you could just buy and use a slot cutter/router bit. Works like a charm.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View Bobby's profile


108 posts in 3618 days

#15 posted 01-24-2014 03:44 PM

Until recently, I haven’t used biscuits in my projects. However, I stumbled across some videos on Youtube and they raised my interest. I have a cheap, no-name $50 machine that I bought years ago and when I got it I put it aside because of not being able to set the height properly. Long story short… even when I did get it to the desired height it would slip out after 4 or 5 cuts.

My new found interest brought me to HD where I picked up a Ryobi, brought it home and again it had adjustment issues. I brought it back and picked up a PC 557 “Deluxe” as they call it. Fantastic machine. One small thing… the dust bag is useless. After 4 or 5 cuts the chute blocks up and it starts making a mess. However, hooked up to the shop-vac solves this problem. I’ve yet to understand how the quality control guys at PC could have ever let the machine hit the market knowing full well that this was an issue. But like I said… the machine more than makes up for this minor annoyance.


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