Best Use of a Biscuit Joiner

What’s the Best Use of a Biscuit Joiner?

Biscuit Joiner Power Tool

Have you tried using a biscuit joiner power tool? There are many alternatives for making wood joints. I like the clean simplicity of the biscuit joint, even where other options exist. I won’t argue about one type of joint over another; they’re not all the same. The best use for a biscuit joiner power tool is making wood-boards into professional cabinets.

Carpentry joints have been around since man started joining pieces of wood together. It's an important skill to know how to make things from wood. Use that skill for timber framed houses, cabinets and sailing ships. Powered woodworking tools have been around for some time too. Make quick and effective carpentry joints using power tools.

There are a good many ways to join panels or pieces of timber together. Amaze yourself at how simple and quick you make the biscuit joint. You’ll need other tools besides the biscuit joiner power tool to build something that is more special. There are many things to make from jointed particle boards. Your cache of powered gadgets might include Biscuit joiner and the following:

It's not just Another Tool for the Shed!

Yes, consider this: There is a biscuit joiner power tool that's designed for you. You may get great satisfaction from the traditional jointing methods using hand tools. That might be the case if you’re a hobbyist interested in working with timber and have time to craft things. Your first passion may be the work; not finding another power tool. But, this uncomplicated tool (the biscuit joiner) is a simple powered gadget. One that delivers the cabinet joint with a quick, effective, accurate technique.

Woodworking combines creative and practical exercises. The design side of the job and then the practical woodworking side that uses wood and tools.

Most power tools today are available in single brand lines and you buy them as needed. People loyal to a particular brand for tools will find biscuit joiners in these brand colors.

Maintain your power tools. When you keep tools in good condition you'll achieve consistent accurate results. Good power deliver much more speed than you can achieve using manual methods. You need to check your tools and prepare the set up and think through how you will use them. A biscuit joiner power tool delivers an easy jointing method. You will find that after it is set up making an effective wood joint takes only seconds.

Six Simple Wood Joint Alternatives

Are you considering making a jewellery box or a bookshelf? The type of job, scale and the size of the components will determine the tools you will choose for the job. The biscuit joiner power tool like one of those below is an ideal power tool for making cabinet joints.

biscuit joiner power tool

In cabinetry applications there are alternatives to a biscuit joiner joint. Below are six basic joints for connecting two timber boards at 90 degrees as a butt joint.  These joints apply as well for the two sticks of wood as for two wood boards. You will find few of those joints will look as professional as that from the biscuit joiner power tool. Less will be as time efficient or cost effective to make.

First Alternative is a Nailed Butt Joint

Complete a connection for this application using the nailed butt joint. This is the common form of the butt joint used in building construction. Bring the members together and nail askew to hold them in place. That means the nails are not parallel to each other (i.e. skew-nailed). That will improve joint separation resistance.

Use this form of butt joint might for the framing of building construction using a nail gun. You won't use a nail gun in cabinetwork. In that case use fine drilled holes for nails or pins to form a nailed butt connection.

best use of a biscuit joiner Nailed Butt Joint

Nailed Butt Joint

Second Alternative is a Screwed Butt Joint

This joint method uses one or more screws inserted after you bring the joint together. The screws need to be long enough to ensure traction through the thickness of the member. The screw head is often countersunk into the frame. That means the head of the screw is at or below the surface of the timber, or counter bored. When the screw hole is counter bored the screw head is below the wood surface. You fill the hole with a piece of dowel or a wooden plug cut from an off-cut of the same timber to conceal the head of the screw.

Use screwed butt joints for frame joinery. Examples include face frames, web frames, door frames and cabinet carcase construction. The screwed butt joint is common in flat pack joinery, which makes regular use of this fixing method.

best use of a biscuit joiner Screwed Butt Joint

Screwed Butt Joint

Third Alternative is a Screwed Butt Joint in Pocket Holes

When the edges of the frame will be visible, you can use an alternative screwed butt joint method. Drill the screw holes from the rear face of the joint using a jig. Insert the screws into angled pocket holes that are counter bored into the back joint member. The screws extend at the set angle through pilot holes into the adjacent member. Use shorter screws to ensure they don’t puncture the visible face of the joint.

Complete the pocket holes with two drilling operations. The first part is to counter bore the pocket hole itself, which houses the screw head within the member. Stop this hole short from the edge of the frame member. The second step is to drill a pilot hole concentric with the pocket hole. Extend it through from the edge of the member. The pilot hole allows the screw to pass through the first member and into the adjoining member.

best use of a biscuit joiner - screwed butt joint

Screwed Butt Joint in Pocket Holes

Fourth Alternative is a Dowelled Butt Joint

The dowel joint has been a common method for butt joints in furniture. Dowel joints are a strong alternative to biscuit joiner connections. These joints are popular in chairs, cabinets, panels and tabletops. Dowel joints are common in both frame and carcase construction. Both biscuit and doweling method make a connection between the faces of the joint. You use a drill and jig method to align the holes and dowels for the matched faces.

best use of a biscuit joiner - Dowelled Butt Joint

Dowelled Butt Joint

Fifth Alternative is a Flat Pack Butt Joint

Some commercial cabinetry uses a hardware device known as a ‘knockdown fastener’. Using these fasteners you can reconstruct pre-assembled butt joints. Flat pack cabinets using these devices can be re-assembled in a short amount of time. You'll find this type of fastener in kit wall units, desks, bookcases and modular cupboards. They come in a package of pre-cut and pre-drilled laminated wood board components. A novice can reassemble these factory manufactured units using the professional instructions.

best use of a biscuit joiner - Knockdown fastener

Knockdown fastener

The knockdown fastener usually consist of a metal cam dowel that fixes into a cam lock fastener. You drop the metal discs into holes bored into adjacent members. A metal alloy disk (the cam lock) fits into a circular drilled recess in the first wood board. It rotates in the circular hole by inserting a screwdriver into a four star slot in its side. Screw the threaded end of the shaft of the metal dowel into the second wood board that will join to the first. Press the collar of the shaft into the tapered slot in the disk. When the disk rotates the shaft it locks in the cam. This action keeps both sides of the cabinet locked together by turning the cam-lock.

The holes locate and drill using commercial jigs, drills and routers. A commercial workshop manufactures the cabinets in this flat pack style. In hobby applications you will the use of a bench drop saw, bandsaw, jigs and a router would make a similar cabinet. You might choose to use these knockdown fasteners.

Sixth Alternative is a Biscuit Reinforced Butt Joint

The biscuit reinforced butt joint is an innovation of the mortise and tenon butt joint. You will use the biscuit joints in cabinetry for carcase and frame joinery. Use them on face frames, table legs to aprons, and chair legs. You use them in cabinet carcase construction for fixed shelving/partitions. Also for panel assembly and attaching face frames to cabinets.

best use of a biscuit joiner power tool

Biscuit Joiner Butt Joint

​The biscuit is an oval shaped piece of specially dried and compressed wood. You install them in the matching aligned slots in faces of both members of the joint. It is an oval shaped floating tenon in adjacent mortices. The biscuit joiner power tool will put in a mortice slot in the face side of each panel member.

A biscuit joiner power tool will cut the crescent (mortise) slots. You could cut a slot using other methods (such as with a slot cutter bit in a router). But, the biscuit joiner is the most efficient tool designed for the job. The biscuit joiner power tool cut allows a bit of flexibility by permitting sideways biscuit movement. That is important when and during glue up.

When you've cut the mortises, insert the biscuit in one of the slots with some glue. Bring the joint together, align and clamp it. The biscuit will absorb some moisture from the glue. It will swell up in the mortise of each side, creating a tight fitting joint.

Biscuits are available in a range of sizes for different purposes. When timber pieces are thick, or the butt joint is long with two pieces side by side, use more biscuits in a joint.

The  alternative ways of creating wood joints all involve using power tools. There is clean simplicity of the biscuit joiner power tool for making wood-boards join. For professional and good looking cabinets this is the best tool to use.

Click here for more on biscuit joiners. A biscuit joiner could make a great gift idea. It's more that a woodworking gadget.

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