Using a Biscuit Joiner

Duration: 8:14

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.

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14 Responses to “Using a Biscuit Joiner”
  1. Sal Romero

    I really enjoy all this info. I took up carpentry when I retired and sure can use this expert advise
    thanks

    Reply
    • Mark Parenti

      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.

      Reply
  2. DR

    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!

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      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.
      Thanks
      Paul-WWGOA

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      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.
      Thanks
      Paul-WWGOA

      Reply
  3. Jay

    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.

    Reply
  4. Carl

    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?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      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.
      Thanks
      George-Woodworkers Guild of America

      Reply
  5. Joe

    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.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Joe.
      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.
      Thanks
      George- Woodworkers Guild of America

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      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.

      -Paul
      Woodworkers Guild of America

      Reply