Biscuit joiners are great for when you want to securely fasten a butt joint on your woodworking projects. George Vondriska teaches you how to use the biscuit joiner to attach a shelf at a 90-degree angle to the face of another board. A WoodWorkers Guild of America (WWGOA) original video.
14 Responses to “Using a Biscuit Joiner”
Airless Sprayers in Your Shop
When it comes to applying stains and topcoats to your woodworking projects, HVLP sprayers work great. But what about those projects you plan to paint? Master woodworker George Vondriska shows you why airless sprayers are probably your best bet. A WoodWorkers Guild of America (WWGOA) original video.Watch Now >>
If you’ve ever tried to clamp two pieces together that are cut at less than a 90-degree angle, you know how difficult it is to keep the joint from sliding around before it dries. George Vondriska has a neat trick to resovle this clamping challenge using clamp blocks. A WoodWorkers Guild of America (WWGOA) original…Watch Now >>
Choosing a Brush for Your Top Coat
You’ve spent a lot of time on your project getting it ready to finish, so why not finish it right? If you’re going to apply four layers of stains or top coat with a brush, it’s important to use the proper brush for the job. A WoodWorkers Guild of America (WWGOA) original video.Watch Now >>
Anti-Dust Finishing Tip
Most woodworkers have some airborne dust and particulates floating in their shop, and some of those particles can settle on a not-quite-dried finish. George Vondriska demonstrates a neat and inexpensive trick for protecting small woodworking projects from dust when finishing. A WoodWorkers Guild of America (WWGOA) original video.Watch Now >>
What is the preferred biscuit size for 3/4″ stock?
Most biscuit sizes are the same thickness. Put in the widest one that will fit in the joint that you are making. Size 20 is the most common.
Woodworkers Guild of America
Confused . . . George marked the top of the shelf with left and right locations for the slots previously cut in the side and cut the shelf slots with the bottom of the shelf down. This keeps the registration distance correct, however the left and right slots only fit when the top of the shelf is installed down. (The shelf was flipped over at 7:36 and the slots were close enough to being equidistant to fit.) The shelf in the video must be installed bottom-up to precisely match the locations of the slots. IF the slots are equi-distant from the center, AND the shelf is 3/4″ thick George’s method will work. Recommend to mark the shelf for the slots with the bottom facing up, then transfer them to the top, and the shelf cuts made with the bottom down for the slots to locate AND register correctly. Cut a sample shelf using the demonstrated method with the Left side marked inward 3″ from the edge and the Right side marked inward 2″ from the edge to see the result if these words are confusing. Otherwise, a great video, George. this is an easy-to-miss step, especially under the pressure of performing for the camera.
Everything went according to plan with the correct registration of the biscuit joiner. When the blind cut was made into the “case side” with the board being used as a ledge, the bottom of the joiner was registered against the board, which was clamped in a position representing the bottom of the shelf.
When the slots were cut in the shelf I point out that the bottom face of the shelf must be down (6:50) and the lay out lines are on the top. The shelf is flipped around because it needs to be flipped; this keeps the top face of the shelf in the correct orientation. You can tell by the lay out lines (7:40)
With the lateral wiggle room biscuits provide, about 3/16”, getting the two lay out lines on the case reasonably equidistant from the edge works fine.
George- Woodworkers Guild of America
You made registration marks on the shelf. But when you put the 2 pcs. together and flipped it over, now those marks were on the opposite sides of the way you marked them. Am I missing something?
RE: above comment- I’m not talking bottom and top, I mean left and right.
Hi Carl. The marks were made on the top of the shelf so the joiner could register off the bottom. When the shelf and side were put together the marks were still on the top of the shelf.
George-Woodworkers Guild of America
I own the DeWalt biscuit jointer (BC). In order to make accurate cuts, the BC needs to be flat on the workbench, at least 4-5 inches from the edge and is best stabilized with 2 hands. The piece being cut needs to be clamped to the workbench within reach of the BC. Otherwise, the blade will tend to shove the workpiece away and laterally. Most clamps will not have the reach to accomplish this. You would need one of those deep throat clamps. Even so, the clamps tend to get in the way of the BC. When everything seems perfect, good alignment of the final joint is still difficult.
Independent reviewers demonstrated that the biscuit-type joint was the weakest with the tongue-and-groove joint, my personal preference, being the strongest.
is the depth of cut always the same , if so how deep is the slot?
Hi William. The depth of cut can be varied depending on the size of biscuit that is used. The slot is generally about 1/16″ deeper than half of the width of the biscuit. That provides just a bit of wiggle room so that you have some adjustment and it also allows for some variability in biscuit sizing.
So, I get it that the tool places the blade 3/8″ upward from plate edge which places the biscuit in the center of 3/4″ plywood, but what if the shelf material was 1″ or 1/2″ plywood? How would you get buiscuit in the center of the shelf piece? I also have a similar looking Porter Cable joiner. Thanks!
Hello DR. For the 1″ material, I would still set the biscuit joiner on its base and not worry about centering the biscuit. It will still give you the same alignment benefit whether or not it is centered. For the 1/2″ material, I would either prop the plywood on a spacer to bring it to a better height to locate the biscuit, or I would use the fence. You can always use the fence if you prefer, I just find it to be quicker and easier to use the base of the biscuit joiner as a reference.
I really enjoy all this info. I took up carpentry when I retired and sure can use this expert advise
Excellent video. One additional tip that I learned from experience Experience : (what you get when you do not get what you want) Using the same Porter Cable biscuit joiner as in the video, it’s important to take the following steps when making each cut. 1) Position and hold the biscuit joiner solidly against the edge or cleat. 2) Pull trigger and LET THE BLADE GET UP TO FULL SPEED. 3) Then plunge the cut.
I learned the hard way that if you just start plunging and then push the blade in, it will have a tendency to shift the cut and/or move the board.