If you’ve suddenly discovered a new-found appreciation for carpentry and woodworking, a biscuit joiner might just be the tool you’ll be interested in. Aside from the usual hammers, screws and nails, wood craft has actually evolved to include some highly specialized tools and equipment that makes woodworking easier. If you’re not looking into carpentry as a career option, then knowing a few things about it won’t hurt, especially if you want to become an all-around handyman in your home. Knowing just the basics about tools, processes and learning to use them can save people lots of time and money. To start off, here are some of the frequently asked questions (and corresponding answers) about biscuit joiners.
Biscuit or plate joiners are woodworking tools used to connect two pieces of wood panels. The general idea is two slots are cut into the edges of the panels facing each other using the biscuit joiner. A biscuit, which is a thin piece of compressed wood shavings, is liberally soaked in wood glue and inserted into the slots to join the panels. In the process, the biscuit expands and creates a very strong bond between the pieces of wood. Biscuits come in a variety of standard sizes to match the depth and width of blade of biscuit joiners. Learn how to use a biscuit joiner.
Where did biscuit joiners originate?
Hermann Steiner, a Swiss carpenter, invented the biscuit joining process during the 1950s. It was by pure happenstance, while looking for a way to join chipboard, that he thought of the four-step Lamello wood joining system: groove cutting, gluing, joining, and finally clamping. Subsequently, there came further improvements such as the use of the circular saw and the creation of the first stationary biscuit joiner. The portable version followed soon thereafter. Steiner’s legacy continued with the incorporation of the family carpentry business into Lamello AG, which to this day continues the tradition of manufacturing some of the best biscuit joiners in the industry.
What are the uses of biscuit joiners?
The primary purpose of biscuit joinery is to connect and bind panels or sheet goods. It’s not entirely limited to solid wooden panels as it can also be used to connect particle boards and fiberboard. There are also specialty biscuits in the market made of metal connectors or hinges, even removable panels, to fit different carpentry needs.
Some specific uses include aligning sheets or panels, and butt joints. For example, when assembling a tabletop, drawers, even door and window casings. Joiner biscuits can’t be used to replace traditional joinery all the time, especially if the wood is heavy and thick, but can be relied upon if the pieces are lightweight. Biscuits also help with aligning boards during glue-ups.
What are the different brands of biscuit joiners?
Aside from Lamello, there are also other companies that make biscuit joiners. Porter Cable, Makita and Dewalt are just some of them. They even carry models with interchangeable blades. Festool is another manufacturer that makes something similar to a biscuit joiner. They call the tool the Domino. It’s equipped with a rotary blade which then makes a domino-shaped cut. The process used by the Festool Domino creates loose mortise and tenon joints in the wood using wood thicker than a typical biscuit. Check out our biscuit joiner reviews article.
- History of biscuit joiners
- Porter-Cable joiner biscuits
- How to use a biscuit joiner – Video
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