Learn About Biscuit Joiners
Biscuit joiners create a strong bond between two pieces of wood. A matching cut is made with the biscuit blade on the inside pieces of wood to be joined. A biscuit is inserted with a touch of wood glue and the pieces are then clamped together, forming a joint that cannot be seen from the finished surface. The moisture in the glue reacts with the biscuit to form a bond between the two work pieces. The cut that the biscuit joiner will make depends on the type of biscuit that will be used. There are several different sizes of biscuits, the most common being #0, #10 and #20. Some other sizes are face frame, simplex, duplex and a variety of detail biscuits.
If you are an occasional do-it-yourself type, then a home hobby biscuit joiner may suit your needs. Keep in mind that hobby tools usually do not offer as many features and benefits as the higher-end professional tools. If you are a more avid user, then the professional models may be what you're looking for. These tools offer many more features and are made to run all day, everyday.
Choosing a Biscuit Joiner
1. Make sure the biscuit joiner you choose is capable of handling the size of biscuits you desire. Most will do #0,
#10 and #20. There are other biscuit joiners that will handle detail biscuits, simplex, duplex, and face frame
biscuits as well. As your woodworking knowledge increases, so might your need for other types of biscuits.
2. Look for carbide-tipped blades. Carbide tips last longer and give a better cut than a high-speed steel blade.
3. Most biscuit joiners have a fence that will pivot at least 90 degrees. This will allow cuts to be made on a miter
cut. However, there are biscuit joiners that have a fence that will pivot to 135 degrees. These also allow for
cuts on a miter cut, but use the outside edge for a reference point instead of the inside edge. This will allow
you to join different size materials and have the outside edge match up without having to adjust the fence. An
option to consider is a fence that has an accurate raising and lowering system, as some biscuit joiners lack a
micro height adjustment.
4. A flush cut refers to a cut made when the fence is 0 degrees. Some machines set at 0 degrees do not allow
the user to make the proper cut for a biscuit. The fence will offset slightly and the biscuit will not properly fit.
This can cause a problem in certain types of applications.
5. Self-centering reference points become key when aligning your cut. The machine should have a mark
indicating where the center of the cut will be. Simply line up the mark with the mark on your wood to ensure
that your cut is properly positioned.
Always exercise caution when using tools. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper use and only use the tools for what they are intended. Consider safety equipment such as eye protection and/or respiratory protection depending on the project or job.