The Five Best Biscuit Joiner Products of 2017 (Don’t Buy a Biscuit Joiner without Reading This)
So what is a biscuit joiner? Also known as a plate joiner, it's a tool that joins two wooden pieces together by using its small circular saw to cut a hole that's crescent shaped (the mouth) in the opposite edges of the two wooden pieces. Afterwards, biscuits or oval-shaped particle or beech wood is covered in expandable glue and used to fasten and bond the two wooden pieces by their mouths and their slots
How to Choose a Biscuit Joiner
In regards to finding the best biscuit joiner, it all depends on your specific needs, your available budget, and the overall cost-effectiveness of a given tool (the balance between what it's worth in dollars and what it's worth in usefulness or functionality).
When making a biscuit joiner purchase, a consumer should look for a tool with at least a 4-inch circular blade that has four to six teeth per inch. Additionally, he should get a blade version that's capable of cutting channels for biscuits of the #0, #10, and #20 sizes for good measure (they're the most common sizes you'll come across with). It's also prudent to get a joiner that can swap its 4-inch blade with a two-inch one for the sake of cutting grooves for mini-biscuit joinery.
You should also learn which biscuit sizes are needed for your joinery products after making a short list of your biscuit joiner choices. Many devices can cut slit shapes for all the most common and popular sizes for biscuits, but if a builder requires a sizing that's unique from the usual preset sizes, he'll need a specialized joiner to give him more freeform leeway when cutting the mouth, such as a detail tool, to get the slot size just right. After you've become better at utilizing biscuits and joinery, you can expand your catalog of building projects and perhaps even joiner options.
Flush Cut Feature and Cut Depth:
Also check out the flush cut feature of the device, because some machines tend to shift slightly when set at the mark of 0°. As such, it's in your best interest to get a machine that doesn't do that because the biscuit won't fit into the slot or the mouth precisely if the discrepancy is present, which will then cause you joinery problems and defeats the purpose of buying a biscuit joiner in the first place. Oversized grooves can also prevent biscuits from fastening the wood sections properly, so choose your cutting depth in accordance to your biscuit size.
Your best bet is to go with carbide-tipped blades because they last long and can withstand the rigors of cutting different tough or brittle materials while keeping the resulting cut as smooth as possible. They're also renowned for their durability more often than not. Additionally, these joiners are also offer cleaner cuts compared to joiners with a steel blade that's high speed. Sometimes, durability and sharpness trumps speediness.
You should also have a fence for your joiner that's capable of pivoting in various angles. The placement of the fence should be parallel to your biscuit joiner's blade. Meanwhile, the space between fence and blade should be changeable as well. This allows you to put the blade halfway down each board's threshold to further control how a work piece is cut.
Angles and Bevels:
The fence should also have the ability to tilt (usually at a 45° angle) to allow you to do beveled or angled cuts when needed. Some fences even feature micro-angle alterations for custom angle or bevel work. The most popular angle is 90°. Other angles are more obscure and less likely to be used, but if there's a possibility for you to use them, you should have the right adjustable fence on your biscuit joiner in order to be able to do, for example, a 135° cut.
Extensions and Enhancements:
By availing of an extension for your joiner, you can make cuts other than just the inside section of the work piece (that is, you now have access to the outside edge of the given material as well). The fence enhancement should also allow you to connect materials of varying sizes while making sure that the outside edging is a match with each other without any fence shifting. If you lack a micro-height modification feature on your joiner, at least get one with precise raising and lowering of the device itself.
How To Use A Biscuit Joiner
The Five Biscuit Joiners You Should Take a Look At:
Here are some potential biscuit joiners you can avail of.
DeWalt or DEWALT is a brand that you can depend on if you want a product that's easy to sue and highly durable. To be more specific, the DEWALT DW682K is a 6.5-amp, 10,000 RPM biscuit joiner made to cut hard, thick work pieces for improved joinery action. Homeowners might also approve of the machine for featuring a dual rack-and-pinion fence for the sake of keeping both fence and blade parallel (this in turn improves overall joinery accuracy). The one-piece fence can also be adjustable so that it can tilt 0° to 90°, which is something that woodworkers want if they wish to do proper bevel and angled cuts with this particular plate joiner.
Woodworkers should also considering getting their own DEWALT DW682K 6.5 Amp Plate Joiner if they're interested in doing flush cuts at 0° without any fence removal involved. This biscuit joiner can also be clamped for the sake of stationary applications with its non-marring heavy-duty aluminum shoe. As for indexing off of the mitered joint's outside surface, it's made possible by the DeWalt DW682K's 45° locating notch in the fence. DEWALT is the brand that has multiple guides for biscuit joinery to ensure accuracy at every turn. This machine has also garnered praise for its well-balanced and solidly constructed design that allows for easy adjustments as required by every woodworking circumstance. Even beginners can learn the ropes with this tool that's made to be as user-friendly as possible.
In regards to the joinery capabilities of the PORTER-CABLE 557 7 Amp Plate Joiner Kit, it first has advantages in terms of being available as a kit rather than a baretool because you have all the accessories included in one package as opposed to having them sold separately. It's also a plate joiner kit that allows you to cut with seven different settings in case you want more versatility in terms of the variety wood you can cut. Meanwhile, like the DEWALT DW682K, the PORTER-CABLE 557 also offers 10,000 RPM from its 7-amp motor (so there's actually more torque from it compared to a 6.5-amp motor). Its fence can also go from 0° to 135° plus a 90° adjustable stop.
The blade is 4 inches, which is enough to give you standard-sized cuts as needed. The item also comes complete with a chip deflector, dust bag, spanner wrench, and centering plate. It's a long-lasting kind of product for those who wish to do heavy-duty cutting and joinery for the long-term. It serves as a good alternative to certain brands because it's able to serve and make slots or mouths for about 1,000 assorted biscuits in varying sizes. This is a recommended unit for woodworkers who prefer the more solid hold and cleaner look for using biscuits and clue to hold joinery instead of long nails or screws that do much more internal damage to your work pieces in question.
In regards to what the Makita PJ7000 Plate Joiner brings to the proverbial table, it's a much higher RPM. At 11,000 RPM, its motor beats out both the PORTER-CABLE 557 and the DEWALT DW682K in terms of speed. However, the extra rotations per minute doesn't undo the fact that it has a weaker 5.6-amp engine, so in terms of torque and cutting ability on certain hardwoods, both the DEWALT DW682K and the PORTER-CABLE 557 has it beat. It also has the same rack-and-pinion tech found in the DW682K that assures accurate and system engineered fence adjustments, with the fence having three positive stops for tilting at 0°, 45°, and 90° (as opposed to the Porter-Cable's 135° with a 90° positive stop).
What's more, the pivot fence for the Makita PJ7000 Biscuit Joiner is made of cast aluminum, which is something you want if you wish for a pivot fence that's made to last. Meanwhile, it covers the most common biscuit sizes when it comes to its cut depth settings at #0, #10, and #20. You don't need to specially order certain biscuits in order to get your joinery done. Another benefit it has in terms of fence adjustment is its easy-to-operate cam locks and large top grip handle to improve your handling of the machine. Finally, if you wish for comfort while doing your joinery cutting and biscuit fitting, it helps that the PJ7000 has a slim, ergonomic design.
The foremost claim to fame that the TruePower 01-0102 Biscuit Plate Joiner has over its competition is its 4-inch carbide-tipped 6T C2 tungsten blade. As discussed in the guide, carbide-tipped blades ensure that your blades last longer and they can cut through even the toughest and densest of hardwood work pieces even at lower RPMs. With that said, you're further assured of clean penetration and cutting action with the 11,000 RPM of the TruePower 01-0102 from its 1,010-watt, 120-volt, and 60-hertz motor. This makes it comparable speed-wise to the Makita PJ7000 Plate Joiner. Its cutting angle is at 0° to 45° though, meaning it can't reach 90° cuts, much less 135° cuts.
What's more, it covers biscuit #0, #10, and #20 too, like with Makita PJ7000. Meanwhile, its maximum cutting depth is 0.55 or more than half an inch. It's priced fairly for something that's more barebones that its competition. It's probably recommended for people who use biscuit joinery on a semi-regular basis rather than a commercial heavy-duty daily basis. However, even though it lacks certain specs from its biscuit joiners, there have been few to no reports of it breaking down under the pressure of usage. What it does offer the most is efficiency so that there's fewer wasted pieces of wood to carve out and cost-efficiency in terms of it delivering more quality from a cheaper investment.
Last but not least is the Lamello Classic X 101600 Biscuit Joiner. It comes with an ergonomically designed 780-watt motor, a base plate that swivels its front stop and has a stop square that's flush on the sides for the sake of easy adjustment and positioning on the edge. This in turn allows you, the woodworker, to use the Lamello for better reference and measurement on mouth placement when push came to shove. Its parts are CNC machined with high precision as well. Meanwhile, if you want perfect alignment from your biscuit joinery, then the Lamello Classic X 101600 Biscuit Joiner also has a long-lasting guidance system for perfect rendering of precisely cut parallel grooves.
In short, like the Makita PJ7000 and the PORTER-CABLE 557, it has all sorts of references and measurement tools to keep your groove and slot creation as accurate and precise to the last fraction of an inch every time. Even the parts of the Lamello are also precisely made to ensure that discrepancies won't happen and are definitely not by design). Lamello also offers a multi-function stop square, fence, and slide shoe to keep the machine from shaking and dislodging itself in terms of accuracy. Meanwhile, these items themselves are milled to precision with long-lasting metal and with the assistance of CNC.
The joiner that you've decided to purchase should have a front section with a slot that's about three inches wide, which is the location for the blade and blade release function. It should also feature a size dial where you'll select the right cutting size for every biscuit placement. Remember, a shallow cut stops the wood from attaching and a deep cut keeps the biscuit from affixing the two wood sections, so choose the cutting depth carefully.
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