Best Biscuit Joiner Reviews and Buying Guide 2020
Assembling a workshop should obviously start with the basics.
How about when you’ve got a nice suite of power tools in place and you’re looking for something a little more specialized, though?
A biscuit joiner, also often referred to as a plate joiner, is the perfect tool for joining two pieces of wood quickly, easily and with unerring accuracy. Like many of the most effective power tools, it will replicate what you could achieve by hand but with increased precision.
Also, if you try joining wood using a dowel, it’s a one-shot deal. With a biscuit joiner, on the other hand, you’ll be able to enjoy some wiggle room if you fail to get the placement perfect first time round.
- 420-watt motor
- 23,400 RPM
- Indexing pins
Today, we’ve got 5 of the leading models in a relatively narrow segment of the market and we’ll outline each in depth. We tried to include something for all price points and experience levels. We’ve also thrown in a cordless model if you prefer the convenience of wire-free tools.
Before we get down to business with our reviews and buying guide, we’ll highlight the 2 main styles of biscuit joiner at your disposal. The difference comes in the configuration of the handle…
With a barrel grip, you wrap your hand around the handle and manipulate the body of the tool itself. This style offers you a great deal of control. Beyond this, you’ll also find it easier to get lower to the blade safely.
With a D-style biscuit joiner, there’s a physical handle on the back of the joiner shaped like a letter D. This type of tool works best if you’ll be working for protracted spells. It’s got a more ergonomic feel and there’s less chance of the joiner slipping from your grasp.
The Best Biscuit Joiner Reviews 2019 – Comparison Chart By Mitersawjudge.com
Festool DF 500 Q Domino Joiner
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Makita PJ7000 Biscuit Joiner
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PORTER-CABLE 557 7-Amp Plate Joiner
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DeWALT 6.5-Amp Plate Joiner
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Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion
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With a broad spread of biscuit joiners up for grabs, we’re here to simplify your choice.
These are the 5 models we’ll look at today in more depth so you can get the best plate joiner for your workshop the easy way…
Detailed Biscuit Joiner Reviews
If you’re looking for the best biscuit joiner and you’ve got a fluid budget and exacting tastes, look no further than the DF 500 Q from the legendary Festool.
This is one incredibly useful, excellent piece of equipment. It does something that no other tool maker has attempted, and Festool aced it.
The other thing this saves me is a huge amount of garage space. No need for me to own a bunch of tenon cutting jigs/sleds or a stand mortiser and a plunge router setup just for cutting mortises. I like that a lot.
By Amazon Customer
While you can certainly pick up many cheaper joiners – and we’ll outline several of those below – Festool is a cut above the rest in terms of brand heritage and build quality both.
Before we show you just where that extra money goes, here’s a snapshot of the core features:
- 420-watt motor
- 23,400 RPM
- Fence tilts out to 90 degrees
- Indexing pins
- Pivoting fence and scale
Exemplifying German precision engineering at its finest, the Domino Joiner makes use of a proprietary cutting system so you can carry out precise and repeatable work without wasting precious time. If you’ve got a large and ambitious project, the DF 500 Q could feasibly repay the considerable investment on that project alone.
The patented routing feature has a spiral cutter that oscillates and rotates. This freedom of movement allows you to cut eminently repeatable mortises with the minimum of fanfare. Since joining has traditionally been a slow and painstaking process, this injection of speed into proceedings is welcome. Spindle speed is a stunning 23,400 RPM.
The pivoting fence helps to build out angled mortises all the way out to 90 degrees. You’ll get positive stops at 22 ½, 45 and 67 ½ degrees. This gives you the scope to carry out a wide variety of projects with a single powerful tool.
You can tweak the width of the mortise giving you further latitude to align things perfectly first time.
Depth control is rendered equally straightforward. You can fine-tune things with 5 cutting depths at your disposal according to the size of the tenon you’re using.
You might imagine the Festool is awkward to use with this level of functionality baked in. You would be far wide of the mark, though. While it’s highly improbable a complete beginner will start undertaking any kind of complex joining work, if you’ve got even modest woodworking skills in place, the DF 500 Q is a relative cinch to operate. All those time-saving features take the sting out of messing around and allow you to focus on the job at hand.
As with all Festool equipment, this joiner is designed to work well in tandem with the other tools in the range. The tools are expressly designed to seamlessly integrate so it’s no accident that many professional workshops are rammed with Festool products. They work together like a dream. The best addition you could make is the dust collection system. This, like all Festool products, is certainly not cheap but it’s one of the most effective systems on the market.
As you’d expect from Festool, this Domino Joiner is crowned with a dependable 3-year warranty. As you would also expect, there’s little chance of any problem developing, though. Build quality is outstanding across the board.
You should think about the weight of this joiner since it’s certainly not featherlight at 13 pounds. That said, the ease with which you’ll be able to surge through projects means you’ll spend less time working than with other lesser joiners equalizing things somewhat.
Before we serve up our verdict on the powerhouse DF 500 Q, take a quick glimpse at the leading benefits and minor drawbacks. You can see at a glance whether this outstanding plate joiner makes sense for your needs and budget.
- Rotating spiral cutter helps you make professional mortises with relatively little effort
- Create 5 mortise depths according to tenon size with quick and easy adjustment to streamline your workflow
- Create angled mortises from 0 to 90 degrees
- Pivoting fence complete with 3 depth stops for your complete convenience
- Works well with Festool’s dust extraction system for a spotless and debris-free workshop
- Oscillating action allows you to repeat your cutting with ease making the Festool perfect for larger projects where time is of the essence
- Indexing pins make light work of alignment so you can get more done in less time
- Adjustable fence angle and cutter height afford total flexibility
- Relatively heavy at just over 13 pounds
- Undeniably expensive although still represents great value if you can afford it
- No sample tenons are included
Much like nobody actually needs a Rolls-Royce, there’s no requirement at all to spend this much on a biscuit joiner. If you’re the type to question the price, you likely fall outside Festool’s target market and we’re certainly not here to urge you to buy anything you don’t want or need.
If you appreciate the quality delivered by this German giant, the DF 500 Q will repay the investment by speeding up your workflow and allowing you to power through projects that might otherwise eat up a great deal of time with needless fiddling around.
For anyone who appreciates the finer things in life and demands nothing but the best in their workshop, we really can’t recommend the Domino Joiner highly enough. If you’re motivated more by price than anything else, we’d strongly recommend looking at one of the other joiners below instead.
The PJ7000 is the first of a pair of Makita biscuit joiners we’ve got for you today. We’d describe this model as mid-priced so you won’t need to dig anywhere near as deep as with the Festool but we’re not in budget territory either.
Best Biscuit Joiner! If you need to glue two big pieces of lumber together this is the tool to use! Stronger than nails, prettier than screws!
Bought this and the Kreg HD Jig to have two alternatives for putting 2×4’s together for a work bench I’m building.
By Amazon Customer
You’ll get everything you need bundled to get going right out the box from the carbide-tipped blade through to a wrench and dust bag. You’ll even get a tool case thrown if you need to carry the joiner from workshop to jobsite.
Have a look at the main features of the PJ7000 then we’ll explore where this excellent and affordable plate joiner stands and falls…
- 5.6-amp, 700-watt motor
- 11,000 RPM
- Fence tilts to 90 degrees
- 6 depth stops
- Oversized cam locks
Comfort is uppermost with the Makita. This 4-inch plate joiner is extremely light and maneuverable with a large handle on the top that’s ergonomically designed not to slip while still permitting ample freedom of movement.
The brisk 5.6-amp motor is capable of speeds as high as 11,000 RPM. While this might only be half the pace of the Festool, it’s still more than fit for purpose. You’ll get more than enough oomph even if you’re working with knotty hardwoods so don’t let that seemingly weak powerplant fool you.
The fence system comes with 2 discrete components. You’ll get an angle guide along with the fence itself. The guide makes it a breeze to make adjustments according to the thickness of the material you’re working with. All you need to do is move it up and down on the rack-and-pinion gears in place and you’re good to go.
If you need to make angle adjustments, the fence handily pivots from a fixed position and only in a positive direction. You’ll benefit from positive stops built in. These detents are at the standard angles of 0, 45 and 90 degrees. If you’re looking to make cuts at angles to 135 degrees, you’ll come up short.
Generously sized cam locks are the final piece in the puzzle making the fence adjustment a precise pleasure to use.
A class-leading 6 depth settings come with handy one-touch stops. These are ideal for #0, #10 and #20 biscuits so you’re covered for all the major biscuit sizes you’re likely to need. In addition to these 3 favored sizings, the PJ7000 also caters for 3 less frequently used biscuits so you’ve got a huge spread of choice.
The height of cut is also adjustable even though there’s no fine-adjustment knob to be seen.
Another area where the PJ7000 scores highly is its lightweight 5 ½-pound form. Often, power tools are needlessly heavy and if you’re operating them for any length of time, what started out as a pleasurable undertaking rapidly becomes something of a chore.
Coupled to the slimline dimensions, the handle is neatly designed and allows for a tight, solid grip with ample ability to maneuver the Makita just where you want it.
The 4-inch blade provided is carbide-tipped giving you the firepower you need along with unimpeachable longevity. Changing the blade is quick, easy and tool-free.
One of the drawbacks if you’re a more experienced woodworker is the inability to use smaller 2-inch blades with the PJ7000. If you’re just starting out, this won’t be such an issue.
There’s an onboard dust bag to minimize the amount of debris in your workshop although we’d still recommend an air filtration system.
No-marring rubber inserts prevent any slippage even when you’re working at full clip.
Before we serve up our considered verdict, we’ve got a breakdown of the pros and cons so you can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this plate joiner for yourself.
- Powerful motor capable of generating a speed of 11,000 RPM so push through even more ambitious projects at pace
- Adjust rack-and-pinion fence quickly and easily
- Pivot fence made from cast aluminum comes with a trio of positive stops (0, 45 and 90 degrees)
- Tool-free blade cover and shaft lock simplifies swapping out the blades
- Carbide-tipped blade for increased lifespan and overall performance
- Handle is designed to be slip-free and it’s a pleasure to hold for extended periods without feeling tired or overburdened
- Slimline form factor and light weight perfect for working in longer, unbroken spells
- Exceptional price/performance ratio from an industry giant
- Height adjustment lacks a little precision
- Dust port has a tendency to clog up which is a disappointment
If you’re looking for a first-class biscuit joiner that won’t have you taking out a bank loan, the Makita PJ7000 is a worthwhile choice.
You’ll get the precision engineering the brand is famous for along with impressive build quality.
While you might not get all the bells and whistles you’ll find on the Festool, you’ll enjoy a huge amount of flexibility combined with remarkable ease of use. With a 1-year limited warranty as with all Makita power tools, you can buy without a headache.
PORTER-CABLE has a hard-won reputation for producing first-rate power tools at exceedingly reasonable prices. If you’re looking for a solid and dependable plate joiner without bankrupting yourself, the 557 is well worth popping on your shortlist.
I bought this item based on numerous reviews in trade publications. Upon making my first cuts, it was apparent that the cutting blade was misaligned with the fence. There were no adjustments or solutions for this problem in the manual. I loosened the screws that hold the fence to the unit and found that there is sufficient play in the screw holes to allow misalignment. With a bit of attention, I was able to bring the device into alignment. This is a really lame problem to have to deal with. Porter Cable should take the time to set this up at the factory. It is the difference between an unusable device and a great device. It is a very basic problem and should be addressed.
By Amazon Customer
We should point out front and center that this keen price-point doesn’t mean you’ll be stiffed on the performance front. Far from it in fact. As you’ll see once we’ve summarized the main functionality, in many respects the 557 elevates itself above the competition, outflanking many more expensive plate joiners and putting them to shame.
- 7-amp motor
- 10,000 RPM
- Fence tilts all the way out to 135 degrees
- 7 depth stops
- 1-inch dust port
The PORTER-CABLE 557 gives you everything you need in one neat kit. Along with the joiner itself and a standard-sized 4-inch blade, you’ll also benefit from a dust bag, centering plate, wrench and chip deflector. There’s a nifty carrying back chucked in, too. Keep everything safe and in one place.
If you frequently find the need to cut much smaller FF mini-biscuit slots, you’ll appreciate the 2-inch blade capability. This is a feature missing on many plate joiners and not something you’d expect from a budget offering.
You’ll also be able to adjust the fence out beyond 90 degrees which is another winning touch. This extends to 135 degrees giving you even more leeway than the Festool and many other upscale joiners.
The fence system itself is well designed in the extreme. The proprietary pivot point allows you to make remarkably precise adjustments. The only downside here comes with a little awkwardness but, once you get used to operation, it’s seamless enough.
The fencing plate included is perfect for spacing, centering and all-round stabilization.
You’ll enjoy a full 7 depth stops, again greater choice than most of its competitors serve up. As you would hope, you’re covered for #0, #10 and #20 biscuits. You’ll also be free to use Duplex, Simplex and #6 joinery giving you ample options for just about any project you can think of.
Where many biscuit joiners affix the handle to the motor, PORTER-CABLE has placed the oversized bale handle on the fence. This twist gives you enhanced control and stability.
You’ll be able to connect the 557 to a shop vac which is a nice extra since this joiner does create more than its fair share of dust. As always, we’d advise making provision for a full air filtration system in your workshop for an even cleaner, safer atmosphere.
Making manual cuts might try your patience. You won’t find a fine-adjustment knob to manipulate depth of cut.
The high level of adjustability makes this biscuit joiner almost equally suitable for beginners and more experienced woodworkers.
Take a quick look at the significant upside and couple of minor niggles of the 557 then check out our verdict…
- Fence capable of tilting to angles as great as 135 degrees giving you incredible flexibility for a budget joiner
- Huge choice of 7 depth stops which is again a class-leading range of options
- Bale handle comes attached to the fence rather than motor for increased control
- Able to accommodate the standard 4-inch blade along with a 2-inch blade if you need to make cuts as small as 1 ½ inches
- Weighs in at just 7 ½ pounds so you’ll get a biscuit joiner solid enough to last the distance but light enough to wield for hours
- Fence system with pivot point places accuracy uppermost
- You can hook up the dust port to a shop vac for added convenience and a dust-free workshop
- Work with almost any kind of wood so ideal for just about any project
- Some users have complained adjustments are awkward to execute
- You’d be well advised to use this model in tandem with a dedicate dust collection system
Often, opting for a cost-effective power tool proves false economy. What you save on the sticker price you lose with interest when you start toiling away with a subpar piece of kit. This is absolutely not the case with the PORTER-CABLE 557, though.
Indeed, when you read the list of innovative features and take the time to check out a huge body of overwhelmingly positive user reviews, you’ll be wondering how this plate joiner can come in at such a reasonable price.
As we mentioned with the Makita, you can’t expect the precision or build you’ll get from the Festool but you’ll have a nice chunk of change left in your pocket to console yourself.
For an incredibly adaptable all-rounder that punches dramatically above its weight, the 557 gets our complete seal of approval here at Miter Saw Judge.
Whether you’re hunting for a biscuit joiner for your home workshop or a small commercial outlet, DeWALT’s trademark black-and-yellow tools are commonplace with just cause.
You’ll pay very slightly more than you will for the PORTER-CABLE but this plate joiner is still firmly priced to sell. The robust 3-year warranty is a demonstrable indication of faith from the manufacturer. Let’s be honest, no company expects to actually lose out on a guarantee so you can expect several years of constant and hassle-free use as long as you maintain this joiner with care.
This joiner, like almost every other brand, has one MAJOR flaw. The grab handle is attached to the motor. IT SHOULD BE attached to the platen!
You need to control the platen to keep it flush on the reference service, and up against the work piece being cut. You can’t apply ANY pressure to keep it up against the workpiedce, because the handle is attached to the motor, which is a totally worthless place to attach it. The motor moves to plunge the cutting blade, and you already have that in your other hand. You don’t need two hands on the motor. You need one on the motor, and one controlling the platen.
By Amazon Customer
Take a swift look at the main features then we’ll explain why you should consider parting with your hard-earned money for this plate joiner.
- 6.5-amp motor
- 10,000 RPM
- Fence tilts from 0 to 90 degrees
- 45-degree notch in fence
- Preset depth stops
Arguably the key selling point of the DeWALT is the dual rack-and-pinion fence system. Thanks to this innovation, the blade will stay completely parallel to the fence throughout. This is achieved through its construction from a single piece of material.
Adjustability is excellent. You will be limited to extending it to 90 degrees so think twice if you imagine you’re likely to need to make cuts beyond this angle. If so, the PORTER-CABLE is the obvious solution.
Another significant advantage is the ability to make flush cuts without needing to take off the fence. Also, with a notch at 45 degrees, you’ll be able to confidently index from the outside surface of any mitered joint.
If you plan to work with wood with a natural finish, the non-marring aluminum shoe is a bonus. You’ll get no scuff marks whatsoever in the pursuit of pace and accuracy. If you prefer, you can also clamp the shoe to a worktable if you have stationary projects to deal with.
You’ll be rewarded with depth stops for all the most common biscuit sizes so you can work at speed without too much fiddling around.
While the DeWALT is a generally superb plate joiner, it does come with a couple of slight downsides you’re worth being aware of. We always draw attention to flaws in any product since you should know what you’re buying into. Also, what constitutes a disadvantage for one person is sometimes a complete non-issue for someone else.
The noise factor is one such area. If your workshop is in close proximity to your house or you’re averse to tools that create a racket, this is by no means the quietest option.
The dust bag you get is also rather small but, again, that might not present a problem if you’ve got robust filtration in your workshop already.
Take a tour of the leading benefits of the DeWALT along with a reiteration of those minor gripes so you can see at a glance whether this is the best biscuit joiner for your needs.
- Design of the fence ensures the blade remains parallel at all times
- The rugged aluminum shoes gives you all the stability you need with no chance of scratching up your workpiece
- Fence fashioned from a single piece of metal and adjustable through 90 degrees
- You can index mitered joints off the outer surface thanks to the 45-degree notch in the fence
- Make flush cuts at 0 degrees with no need to remove the fence
- Use all main biscuit sizes so great for a range of applications
- Work with all types of wood, even more challenging and knotty hardwood
- Reliable 3-year DeWALT limited warranty removes any trepidation from purchase
- Although the dust bag is welcome, it’s a little too small for comfort
- This biscuit joiner is far from whisper-quiet so think about how much importance you place on the noise factor
DeWALT is the tradesman’s choice for good reason. Their power tools deliver the ideal combination of value for money, durability and top-tier performance along with an industry-best guarantee for a full 3 years.
This biscuit joiner comes in several variants with or without biscuits. If you want the full package, you can choose from #10 or #20 biscuits so you can get going straight out the box.
Alongside efficient performance and impeccable build quality, this plate joiner is also astonishingly easy to use. Whether you’re a beginner or a more seasoned woodworker, the DW682K would make a great addition to your workshop.
To round out our best biscuit joiner reviews, we’ve got another Makita for you. We generally tend to avoid reviewing more than one tool per brand but in this case we made an exception.
Why, you ask?
Well, the cordless XJP03Z hits a pain point that exists for many but is not catered for by other manufacturers. If you’re looking for the ultimate in maneuverability without dipping out on power or performance, read on…
I’m using it for a slightly different than intended purpose – installing decks using Tiger Claw hidden fasteners.
I buy decking that already has the prerequisite grooves milled along the long edges to engage with the hidden fasteners. But for ends – especially ends cut at angles to create patterns in the deck – where fasteners are required – I had been using a router with slot cutters from Tiger Claw. This biscuit jointer accomplishes the same task – is easier and safer to use in the field – and strong enough for a whole day of work on Ipe or composites.
Maybe I’ll get around to trying it out for its intended purpose – but its excellent for what I’m using it for.
Makita says it was assembled in the USA – and the build quality seems excellent..
- 18V lithium-ion battery
- Cam locks
- Pivot fence with 3 positive stops
- 6 depth settings
- Bare tool only
Off the bat, be aware that the XJP03Z you’ll be buying comes with no charger or battery supplied. This can be viewed as a positive or negative depending on whether you’re already invested into the Makita LXT ecosystem…
Many brands offer cordless tools where a single battery and charger work across a full suite of tools. This allows you to make consistent savings by picking up bare tools while also freeing up some valuable space in your workshop. After all, who needs 10 chargers and batteries lying around cluttering the place up?
If, on the other hand, you’re a first-timer, don’t be seduced by the low price-point and make sure you allow enough money to pick up the battery and charger separately.
While you’ll clearly run the risk of losing power mid-project, you can enjoy a full 320 cuts or as many as 160 joints with a single charge. Thanks to the super-swift charging, you won’t end up with too much downtime either.
In return for making those concessions, you’ll reap the advantage of a power tool that won’t have you tethered to a power outlet giving you incredible freedom when you’re making joints.
The rigid and dependable vertical fence boasts the 3 positive stops you’ll be looking for. These come, as usual, at 0 degrees, 45 degrees and 90 degrees.
The body, like the fence, is made from cast aluminum serving up durability without weighing you down.
6 depth settings come with one-touch stops. As well as some more minority biscuits, you’ll obviously also be able to use the regulation #0, #10 and #20 biscuits as you’d expect.
Tool-free blade change means you won’t waste time when it counts, ideal if you’re working in a commercial setting and extremely convenient in the home workshop.
The aluminum shoe gives you plenty of stability but the confidence to make joints without worrying about scratching up the material.
The only notable niggles with the Makita are more related to cordless tools in general than specific to this plate joiner. Overall, as the below pros and cons will amply demonstrate, you’ll get an exceptional and versatile performer across the board. Whether you’re making furniture, cabinets or carrying out general fine woodworking, get power, pace and precision in one hard-hitting plate joiner.
- Enjoy complete cordless convenience without sacrificing too much power
- Sold as bare tool so if you’re already invested into the Makita 18V LXT system, you can use one charger and battery across multiple tools
- Cam locks enable quick and easy adjustment of the fence
- Vertical rack-and-pinion style fence makes for easy fine-tuning and complete precision
- Fence comes with 3 positive stops and the ability to center with consummate ease
- Cut a full 160 joints before you need to give your joiner a burst of charge
- 6 depth settings catering for all main biscuit sizes along with some less common ones for good measure
- Tool-free blade cover along with a shaft lock lets you swap out the blade in no time
- Be sure to budget for the battery and charger if you don’t already have them in place to avoid any nasty surprises
- Despite impressive battery life, there’s always a chance with any cordless tool that you might run out of power mid-flow
If you’re looking for the best cordless biscuit joiner, the Makita is by some distance your most effective option. This sub-niche is a very narrow playing field and one that’s totally dominated by Makita.
You’ll get even greater value for money if you’ve already got a charger and battery in your workshop. Sold as a bare tool, this cordless plate joiner comes in very competitively priced.
There are obvious drawbacks to a cordless power tool but in return you’ll get far less restriction along with far greater freedom of movement than you could achieve with a corded alternative. As always when choosing power tools, there’s no fixed right answer, simply the right answer for you.
With our detailed reviews put to bed, it’s time to round out with our usual buying guide so you can go into this purchasing decision with your eyes wide open. The more you know about the tools you’re planning to buy the better and we’re here to help you every step of the way at Miter Saw Judge.
Who Needs Biscuit Joiners?
First thing’s first, who actually needs biscuit joiners?
Furniture making and cabinet making are perhaps the most common applications for a plate joiner but these tools come in handy for any kind of fine woodworking when you’ll need to join 2 piece of wood seamlessly.
Attaching boards side-by-side on a tabletop is a breeze when you’re using a plate joiner.
They also come fully to the fore when you’re working with the corners of cabinetry and drawers. You’ll get increased stability as well as precise and durable joints.
So, if you think you might have cause for one of these innovative tools, we’ve got some more handy hints coming up to streamline your buying decision…
When you’re looking for a biscuit joiner, you’ll have a range of factors to take into account and we’ll break those down for you below.
Think carefully about your intended usage before steaming in and buying the first tool that catches your eye. How you plan to work with your joiner will dictate the most suitable model for you.
You should also place more concern on price/performance ratio than purely obsessing over the bottom line. You can expect good tools to last you for decades so don’t sell yourself short in the quest for a bargain.
Remember that old adage: Buy cheap, buy twice.
We’ll highlight now the crucial factors to consider when you’re on the buying trail. As always, we’re here to make your life easier and to save you both time and money.
What To Consider When Buying a Biscuit Joiner
Without sufficient power on tap, you won’t be able to work as quickly as you’d like to and you’ll also run into problems with more challenging and harder woods.
You should consider 2 factors here, both the amperage and also the RPM generated.
While a higher amp draw will ensure more power, if this is combined with an elevated RPM, you’ll be able to work at full clip without compromising accuracy.
In short, more power leads to quicker workflow so consider how important that is to you.
Arguably the most important component on a biscuit joiner is the fence. The fence acts as a guide for the blade when you’re cutting grooves into the wood.
The best fences give you a great deal of scope with adjustment. You’ll be able to fine-tune them through multiple angles and positions depending on the application.
The more options with fence adjustment, the more flexibility you’ll have to create different grooves.
Diameter of Blade
The length of slots you’ll be making is dependent on the cutting blade’s diameter.
A 4-inch blade is standard-issue.
If you think you’ll need to work with smaller pieces of wood and you’re concerned about the wood splitting with longer cuts, you can get 2-inch biscuits. Some plate joiners give you the option of using 2-inch blades to make this possible.
When you’ve got a plate joiner capable of cutting quickly, you’ll be able to deal with much harder and knottier pieces of material. A slow blade can easily get caught up on imperfections.
The average speed is somewhere between 10,000 and 11,000 RPM although in the case of the Festool, you’ll enjoy considerably more pace.
Depth Settings and Cutting Angle
Look for a model giving you the number of depth settings you’re likely to need for the kind of jobs you have in mind.
As with all aspects of your buying decision, taking the time to ponder your intended usage will guide you better than if you seek a one-size-fits-all solution.
As well as the cutting depth, think also about the angle. Although the majority of regular and simple joints call for a 90-degree cut, with more complex projects you could need to cut out to 135 degrees. If you feel that’s likely, make sure you pick up a plate joiner capable of delivering that.
As a rule of thumb, the larger the groove you can create, the bigger the pieces of wood you’ll be able to join.
Again, take the time to think about the projects you’ll be working on and make sure the plate joiner you choose gives you sufficient choice.
As with any power tool, you can prepare yourself for a good deal of dust and debris kicked up when you’re operating a plate joiner.
You’ll need some kind of dust collection system in place.
While even the less expensive biscuit joiners make some provision for this, you’d be well advised to consider a full-bore air filtration system in your workshop as well.
Ease of Use
Last but certainly not least, you should take the time to read plenty of honest user reviews so you can get a feel for the overall ease of use of any biscuit joiner you’re thinking of buying.
It’s pointless getting a feature-rich tool targeted at experienced woodworkers if you’re just starting out. The difficulty will only put you off.
Think also about the shape of the handle and the weight of the biscuit joiner and make sure it won’t be too much for you to cope with.
Usage and Maintenance Tips
Luckily, using a late joiner is extremely safe compared to tools like a table saw.
You should nevertheless observe basic safety protocol. Wear protective clothing and eyeglasses. Remove any jewelry that could get caught up in the blades and avoid loose clothing for the same reason.
Always use a clamp to secure your workpiece and make sure the wood is of the right type for the project at hand. Observe minimum thicknesses for the biscuit joiner in question.
It goes unsaid you should keep your hands well clear of the blade.
Aside from swapping out the blades as needed, maintenance is blissfully stress-free.
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1) What materials is it possible to work with when using a biscuit joiner?
The core purpose of a biscuit joiner is to work with wood, either softwood or hardwood. Depending on the model, you might also be able to work with composite materials and sometimes even plastic. If you need to work with metal, you should purchase a model specifically designed for this.
2) Are plate joiners suitable for any size of workpiece?
Not usually. If you attempt to join pieces below the stated minimum thickness, you’re highly likely to experience problems. Check for the specs of the model you’re interested in before committing to purchase. Weigh this up against the type of projects you have in mind.
3) What, exactly, is a biscuit?
This is the name given to the thin disc of wood you’ll use with your joiner. Normally made from compressed beech, biscuits are oval-shaped. You glue the biscuit into a slot of one workpiece and it fits neatly into the slot of a second workpiece.
4) How do you go about choosing the correct biscuits?
You’ll need to think about the length of the blade on your biscuit joiner. A 4-inch blade calls for a 4-inch biscuit so this element is hardly rocket science. With some 4-inch joiners, though, you’ll be able to use 2-inch biscuits if you need to create smaller joints. The most common sizes for biscuits are expressed as #0, #10 and #20. These all demand different cut depths.
5) Are expensive biscuit joiners really worth it?
Value is subjective. Think about what stage of your woodworking journey you are on and how much longer you plan to keep at it. We always advocate buying the best tools you can afford without overextending yourself. Not only will you generally get superior results, if properly maintained, the best tools can last a lifetime. Cheaper alternatives will almost always fail in a relatively short space of time.
6) Are biscuit joiners messy to use?
As with any woodworking tool, you can expect a fair amount of dust kicked up. This can be easily mitigated by using a dust collection bag, though. You should also seriously consider installing an air filtration system in your workshop.
7) Is it not possible to just use dowel rods rather than a biscuit joiner?
Absolutely. This is arguably the most popular way of joining wood but the method is not without its drawbacks. You’ll have to do plenty of cutting and drilling then shoot for perfect alignment. Then, once you’re done, the joints won’t have the durability or effectiveness of those created with a biscuit joiner anyway.
8) What extras and accessories are worthwhile with a biscuit joiner?
Most plate joiners don’t come with anything much bundled so this part of your decision is straightforward. Some come with an extra 2-inch blade to sit alongside the standard 4-inch blade supplied.
9) Are all biscuit joiners limited to cutting at 90 degrees?
Most are but if you need something with a little more latitude, you can find plate joiners capable of cutting at 135 degrees and more.
10) Is the weight of the biscuit joiner an important factor?
It is, yes. This is especially the case if you’re planning to work on larger projects for extended spells so think closely about form factor to avoid fatigue setting in.
We very much hope you’ve found some nuggets of wisdom here today to help you on your way to getting the best biscuit joiner the easy way.
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We’ll close for today with 10 of the most frequently asked questions about plate joiners.