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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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Default biscuits or dowels

looking at buying craftsman plate jointer $99. I tried a cheap manual dowel kit for $13 from HF but dowels end up off 1/8" or so. Understand plater jointer is very accurate. Would like to hear pros and cons. Links to product would be most appreciate.
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 02:14 AM
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Hi Barry
Biscuits have a place and I use them but when ever I can I use dowels, I think they so much better. Take a look at dowelmax.com this is an amazing tool and it works 100% of the time,I love it.
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 05:43 AM
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You don't need a plate joiner, just use your router with a slot cutting bit. In a recent article in Wood, or Woodworkers Journal the router was use to cut a continuous slot to join two halves of a table or wookbench. I have an older plate joiner (but like new) PC that my Dad left me and have use it with success. I have also used one of the not so perfect dowelling jigs that I got at HD and it has done well also. I am going to try the slotting bit with the router when I join the two tops at my island assembly. I plan to align it with the biscuits and then secure it from the bottomed son as not too glue it for when I take it apart sometime in the future. I would say if you plan to go the plate joiner get a good one and not cheap. Dads was not the best and tends to want to move as the blade engages the wood, I adjust for it by holding it to the edge little more. I am sure others have used the router in the same way.

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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 07:31 AM
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Jerry, the biscuit jointer and slot cutter BOTH have their uses, but to answer Barry's question, a biscuit jointer is a very valuable tool, with todays' high tech. adhesives, a glue joint is stronger than the wood itself and so all that is normally required is a means of aligning the pieces to be jointed and this is where the biscuits come into their own. Bear in mind that no measurements are needed, just align the two pieces and draw a freehand pencil line at the centre points, plunge the cutter, move it a little side to side to allow heaps of sideways adjustment and it's done. I promise you Barry that it will be the best $99.00 that you ever spend on tools.
The third shot is jointing boards for a small coffee table, biscuits are perfect because there is a big glue surface, shot two of the carcass is a different matter, there is only a small glue area so we needed the extra strength of dowels.
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 09:09 AM
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Hi Harry

The project below would be great job for the pocket hole screws,you know how I feel about dowel pins.. ( if want a ltem to turn put it on a round pin )

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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 09:27 AM
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Have any of you used one of these biscuit making router bits?



Biscuit bit LINK

At $35, it's a tempting deal but I've never used biscuits before. I've read biscuits are more for alignment while gluing and dowels are more for strength, but that will probably open a can of worms.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 09:42 AM
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Hi Noop

Yes and slot cutters also..

http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shops.../biscuits.html
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Have any of you used one of these biscuit making router bits?



Biscuit bit LINK

At $35, it's a tempting deal but I've never used biscuits before. I've read biscuits are more for alignment while gluing and dowels are more for strength, but that will probably open a can of worms.



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Last edited by bobj3; 05-18-2009 at 09:49 AM.
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-18-2009, 11:59 AM
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The PC biscuit cutter is a very accurate and solid piece of machinery. Plus it comes with a second cutter for the #FF biscuits. The Sears units are either/or. I believe they have one that does standard sizes (20, 10, 0) and one that only does the FF.

That said, the PC is much more than $99. And biscuits are not really intended for strength although they can create a joint stronger than a butt joint (it is a minature floating tenon after all). But nowhere near as strong as a true M&T, or multi-dowel joint. Depending on whose test you believe they are just above or just below pocket hole screws in strength if properly done and glued.

Good for panel alignment, face frames, face frame attachment (alignment again) and quick carcass construction. I've done all these with mine as well as used it while making some jigs that required good alignment between perpendicular pieces.

Rockler has a nice $10 two hole doweling jig that is quite accurate for 3/4" stock and if you remove the clear plastic fence and replace it with hardboard+sandpaper you can make very accurate joints. I think there is a good thread at sawmillcreek.org about this jig. Unfortunately I don't have a link to post at the moment.
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-19-2009, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobj3 View Post
Hi Harry

The project below would be great job for the pocket hole screws,you know how I feel about dowel pins.. ( if want a ltem to turn put it on a round pin )

===========
Bob, if I were still into regular furniture making I would definitely get a top of the range pocket hole jig. Having said that, my foot operated router lifter makes dowelling a very fast operation and so simple compared to all the fancy jigs that over the years I've spent a small fortune on.

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-21-2009, 12:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harrysin View Post
Bob, if I were still into regular furniture making I would definitely get a top of the range pocket hole jig. Having said that, my foot operated router lifter makes dowelling a very fast operation and so simple compared to all the fancy jigs that over the years I've spent a small fortune on.
Thanks all for the good info.

Harry, I do have one question. Your above statement about foot operated router lifter makes dowelling fast and simple. Can you explain this a bit more because I am not sure what you mean. Thanks.



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