The Basics of Biscuit Joinery

12/03/2011 15:10

If you're a new woodworker then your chances are good that you've got heard the term "biscuit joint" but had visions of grandma baking up a piping hot tray of buttermilk biscuits. You're on target if you're thinking "a method for joining two fecal material wood," because that's what precisely a biscuit joint is. And also, it's one of the simplest strategies to true joinery and a excellent place for beginning woodworkers to start with learning basic principles.

1) What Is A Biscuit?

A biscuit is usually a thin, ovular piece of compressed wood - typically birch. There're remarkably strong as they are constructed with a diagonal grain pattern, meaning they're tough on the length and the width. Biscuits are designed to be porous. Biscuits are available in three sizes: the #0, which happens to be 5/8" x 1-3/4"; the #10, which happens to be 3/4" x 2-1/8"; the #20, which happens to be 1" x 2-3/8".

2) How Does The Biscuit Work?

Biscuits are classified as the connecting pieces between the two pieces of wood you're wanting to join - bring to mind them as the dowels in the dowel joint. But in a biscuit joint you're cutting holes with your pieces that are a lot more like trenches, made to accept the biscuit as being a toaster accepts a form of bread. Once you glue your biscuit in it absorbs the water inside the glue and expands, making your joints unshakable.

3) What Are The Best Applications For any Biscuit Joint?

There are woodworkers who use biscuit joints regularly. Your professionals and extreme hobbyists are inclined to use them primarily when joining panels, corners, miters, face frames and T-joints. If you are just getting started then make sure to pick a very simple application - try just an edge-to-edge joint and then determine how it goes for you before you'll launch into any new projects.

4) Why The Biscuit Joint?

Many woodworkers are very enthusiastic about biscuit joints because they're so much faster than business cards and fliers for joining wood. Further, it's among the best joining methods for new woodworkers wanting to go beyond the standard butt joint, or who are tired of their glued joints always breaking on the projects.

5) What are the Required Tools and Accessories?

Biscuit joining requires you to purchase biscuits plus biscuit joiner (they're also called plate joiners) or perhaps an appropriate add-on for your router. Often the biscuit joiner itself is gonna give you an easier out-of-the-box exposure to less fussing with put in place. It will be more expensive though if you're on a tight budget then look for something which will work with your router. In addition, you will need a good supply of the wood glue that you picked.

6) Biscuit Joining Tips

Here exist several tips to help you on your way when you begin using biscuit joints with your projects.


a) Cut each slot 1/32 of an inch deeper than one half of the width of one's biscuit on both boards. This ensures a neat and even fit for your biscuit.

b) Cut a practice slot in scrap wood before cutting to your working piece. Try out your biscuit in the practice slot to ensure you're sure that your cuts are accurate.

c) Assemble your biscuit joints in the dry run before you'll glue up. This will help see if you're missing anything or are misaligned in any respect on your project. And also you definitely want to know this before you have the glue out.

d) Biscuit joiners are notoriously bad on dust collection. Empty the dust bag frequently and be sure that you're wearing your face mask and have your dust collection filtering working over time while cutting the biscuit slots.

e) If you are having trouble picking which size biscuit make use of on your project, select the biggest that fits. When joining you need as much biscuit with your project as possible to be sure a strong joint.

f) In case your stock is one inch thick or even more you should use two biscuits. This is a general rule of thumb that will not apply in all circumstances.

g) When you mess up cutting your slot just include a biscuit, glue it and after that trim it for the edge of your board. Then just recut the board inside the right place.

h) Your joiner blade can collect just as much gunk as your blades. Keep your WD-40 handy to clean the blade off and replace the blade whether or not this starts to burn your wood.

7) Exactly what are You Waiting For? Join The Shop And Start Joining!

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Now you realize the basics of biscuit joinery and get an arsenal of tips to help you along on your next project. It's the perfect time for you to research and choose your biscuit joiner you should getting what no article on the globe can give you - biscuit joining experience. Enjoy, have fun, and most of all... BE SAFE!