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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Biscuit joiner

Ok, I have to admit I get a little carried away buying tools occasionally. Last year I saw a biscuit joiner on sale and it was such a good deal I couldn't pass it up. And then it sat in my garage ..... for a long time ... in it's nice new box.

But last night I finally had a good reason to pull it out of that box and learn how to use it. A friend of mine wanted to build a new wood top for her desk and I was delighted to offer my new shiny biscuit joiner to join the wood together. So she came over last night and had dinner with us and we proceeded to experiment with the joiner. We used some scrap wood together in our experiments before cutting into her expensive wood.

And many lessons were learned. The most notable came when my wife came out to see how we were doing and my woodworking student blurted out "pretty good except for Jim messed up the default settings on the tool ha ha. So I had to carefully explain to her when working in the garage guys always cover for each other and try to gloss over or forget about the stupid mistakes we often make. Especially when it involves not reading the directions first. "But I'm not a guy" she lamely retorted.

Working with this biscuit joiner reminded me of my high school woodshop class many years ago. Back then we used dowel rod to join two pieces of wood together. I think I prefer the dowel rod in that it seems stronger. But the biscuit joiner is a lot easier to get the holes lined up.

Don't you just love the smell of sawdust in the garage and peeling glue off your fingers !


Mike said...

Once you get familiar with that joiner, it will be your favorite method of joining flat stock.

A couple of tips that work for me- work with stock that is already surfaced instead of rough hewn and operate the biscuit joiner on a machined surface like the top of the table saw so your slots have a constant reference point.

Clamp pressure is important too since the beechwood biscuits will swell considerably with the glue application. You'll also want to stick with water based glues like typical carpenter's yellow instead of solvent based glue for that reason.

FloridaRobot (Jim) said...

Thanks for the tips Mike. I did the practice cuts on an uneven workbench top so I can see what you mean. For the real project I'll use my table saw top. Good idea !