Plate Joiner

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Forum topic by Charlie75 posted 07-12-2014 02:10 AM 1524 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Charlie75's profile


312 posts in 2772 days

07-12-2014 02:10 AM

Any of you guys own or use Plate Joiners? I was thinking about getting one and happened to stumble onto a video that compared joiining different species of wood with and without the aid of a plate cutter. Seems that with todays glues there was almost no difference when a came to joint strength.
What has been your experience?
That often so it might be a bad investment.


-- Charlie75, Alto

14 replies so far

View TheDane's profile


5690 posts in 4171 days

#1 posted 07-12-2014 02:15 AM

I have a DeWalt biscuit joiner … don’t use it much, but every so often it is just the ticket for something I am working on. The biscuits don’t add much strength, but it does help alignment a lot.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View pintodeluxe's profile


5985 posts in 3321 days

#2 posted 07-12-2014 02:18 AM

That test was done on new joints. When joints are old, and the glue is brittle, joints with interlocking parts will always win. Also, as I recall it was a test of racking strength of a single joint… not exactly a real world test, although I commend the authors for trying. Biscuits help with alignment. Biscuits strengthen end-grain joints that would otherwise be weak (such as vertical drawer dividers in dressers). I even use a biscuit joiner to cut slots for the cam locks on my nightstands.

Biscuits are not needed on long grain hardwood glueups, but I use them all the time edgebanding plywood, and with carcase construction. For instance, biscuits are the perfect method for securing face frames to a cabinet. It lets you avoid brad nail holes from face nailing.

I have one, and I use it all the time. I usually use mortise and tenon construction, but most projects have a biscuit or two. Mine is a Dewalt.

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

View CharlesA's profile


3386 posts in 2305 days

#3 posted 07-12-2014 02:28 AM

Have one? yes. Use one? No.

-- "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

View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 4225 days

#4 posted 07-12-2014 02:31 AM

Have a DeWalt, use it often. Great tool for alignment of table tops and adding some strength….

-- Have a blessed day!

View lab7654's profile


266 posts in 2754 days

#5 posted 07-12-2014 02:31 AM

I think they’re a great thing to use when you need a quick joint. Splines are probably the best for miters in picture frames, but biscuits are sometimes quicker more practical, depending on the look you’re going for. Also they help a lot with alignment in edge glue ups. I like them especially because they don’t have to be as precise as other types of joinery. There’s enough lateral play in them to help you get it just right.
As an alternative, you can use a slot-cutting router bit, which is good for long grooves as well.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View NiteWalker's profile


2739 posts in 3084 days

#6 posted 07-12-2014 02:45 AM

I don’t have one, but if one came along for the right price I’d grab it.

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

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 1994 days

#7 posted 07-12-2014 02:54 AM

Been shopping on ebay. Waiting for that deal.

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

View pauljuilleret's profile


107 posts in 2160 days

#8 posted 07-12-2014 11:46 AM

I have the Dewalt and use it quite often when gluing up top blanks not so much for added strength but it sure does help with board alignment issues just don’t pull the stunt I did several years ago when learning how to use it I put one to close to the end of the blank. It looked like hell once I trimmed and squared the ends of the top blank and it was suddenly looking back at me great tool all in all though.

View stnich's profile


125 posts in 3432 days

#9 posted 07-12-2014 12:48 PM

I also have a Dewalt and use it on a regular basis. Ditto on putting the biscuit to close to the end of a panel glue up. Been there done that.

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1932 days

#10 posted 07-12-2014 01:21 PM

I use mine all the time. It helps straighten cheap plywood in an interior carcaass to the face frame.

I also use it to join two or more pieces of wood to make larger panels.

I love my biscuit jointer.

-- Brad, Texas,

View tyvekboy's profile


1924 posts in 3521 days

#11 posted 07-12-2014 01:28 PM

Before I bought my Porter Cable Plate Joiner (or Biscuit Joiner) I asked a guy who ran a cabinet shop which one he would get. They had a DeWalt at the time. He said heʻd get a Porter Cable. When I bought mine it came with both the big and small cutters. Now I think they just come with the big cutter only and will make cuts for #00, #10 and #20 biscuits. The smaller cutter will make cuts for #FF biscuits. If you do get a Porter Cable get the smaller cutter too.

Iʻve used mine to make edge joints instead of using dowels. It is a lot faster than dowel joints and you donʻt have to be that precise. However you do have to cut the slots from the same face on both boards.

It also helps when you glue up cause it keeps the pieces from slipping less. It keeps the faces even and because of the play side to side, you can always adjust it so the ends match … unlike dowels.

The Porter Cable also allows you to put a biscuit into the meaty part of mitered joints which is one feature that I liked. I used it when i built some flag display boxes. You could also use it to miter the sides of an multi sided box too.

I used it when I was gluing up the boards for my bench top. It helped again to keep the top fairly even and helped with the glue slippage. It made clamping up 6 foot long boards easier.

I also used it when i was trying to glue up 2 pieces of MDF (18 X 24 – face to face) for an auxiliary drill press table. To help keep these two pieces aligned, I put the smallest biscuit (#FF) about 2 inches in from two edges (left and bottom). When I was applying the clamps, there was minimum slippage.

Depending on the projects you build, a biscuit joiner can be a very helpful tool in the shop. Itʻs like a dedicated mortising machine. Both sit there till you need it. And when you need it, youʻre really glad you have it.

The answer to the question: Is it a good investment? My answer is YES if you also purchase the smaller cutter. Even without the smaller cutter itʻs a good investment.

You canʻt have mine.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3374 days

#12 posted 07-12-2014 01:41 PM

To me it is a valuable tool in the right situation. Just like the biscuit jointer so is the Kreg jig. I’m glad that I have both.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View bigblockyeti's profile


5968 posts in 2228 days

#13 posted 07-12-2014 01:45 PM

I use my Porter Cable regularly for many of the above mentioned reasons, particularly panel glue up alignment and installation of face frames.

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

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5741 posts in 3001 days

#14 posted 07-12-2014 03:32 PM

I believe they have a place in the shop. I wouldn’t put them at the top of the list, but they are still quite handy. Tyvekboy mentioned they no longer some with 2 cutters, (the smaller one is purchased separately; $50, OUCH!). That’s too bad, I use my small cutter as much as the big one…..pretty doubtful I’d ever replace it for that price, though.

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

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