A biscuit joiner, or plate joiner as it’s sometimes called, is named after the small discs that it uses to join boards together, they actually do look a lot like a small biscuit or maybe a half moon shaped cracker.
They have quite a few advantages because they help line up boards in a joint, increase the surface area for the glue and provide a bridge between two parts of a joint, making it stronger. In addition to that, since the biscuit is hidden between the two boards, it is invisible from the outside, and makes for a cleaner looking joint for a nice piece of furniture. Let’s examine a few tips on using a plate joiner in making high-quality woodworking projects.
It’s Important To Practice Before You Start Cutting On Your Favorite Woodworking Project. While cutting the slots for the biscuits, and inserting them with good quality glue is a fairly easy task to do, it’s important to do some practicing before you start cutting slots on your woodworking project that is so dear to you.
In the first place, the parts that are to be joined need to have a very perfect cut, in the perfect spot, in order to match up without leaving any visible gaps, and you should test this before you get started. When the two parts are held together perfectly you’ll want to make a mark with a pencil that shows on each part in a matching location.
Then, it’s important to line up your plate joiner’s mark to your pencil mark and cut a slot on each part of the piece to be joined, so they match up. Test your accuracy by placing a biscuit in the joint without any glue and put the pieces together, they should match up perfectly without any gaps with the biscuit in place.
Then move on to the next place you’d like to insert a biscuit and do the same procedure, always testing to make sure that your marks are accurate and so are your cuts. Once you’ve mastered this technique on some spare wood scraps that you have in your shop, then it would be time to start using it on your prized furniture project, you hold so dear.
The Biscuit Joiner Increases The Gluing Surface Area While Providing A Bridge For The Joint. There are many different ways to join wood together on the joints, but one of the advantages of using the joiner is that there are no obvious outside connectors holding the joint together such as screws, dowels, or brackets.
When using the joiner you get a stronger joint by using the largest biscuits that will fit in the area of your joint, then use the highest quality wood joining glue,then hold the pieces together with clamps until dry. Make extra sure that you wipe any glue that has extruded from the joint, off with a slightly damp shop towel to save yourself the trouble of sanding it off later with sandpaper.
Once you’ve practiced on some scrap pieces of wood with your biscuit joiner you’ll find that it becomes incredibly easy to make a perfect joint every time. By using larger biscuits and plenty of high quality wood glue, you can rest assured that all of your joints on your project will be plenty strong for a lifetime of use.
image of biscuit joiner at the top of page contributed by:
Cheryl Reed on flickr.com