This article is from the Woodworking FAQ Collection 2, by multiple authors.
From: email@example.com (steven.r.beckle)
Date: Thu, 7 Nov 1991 15:50:54 GMT
I'll throw in my $.02 worth about the PC biscuit joiner. I haven't
had the same bad luck that Joel Gringorten writes about. Just
this morning I unclamped a 5-board glue-up and was quite pleased
at the evenness of the surface. Without benefit of a micrometer,
I guess that the seams might be at most 1/64" out of plane, maybe
less. I've noticed *some* play in the tool also, but it has never been
a problem. If I'm joining 4/4 stock, here's how I use the thing. Secure
the board on a *flat* surface, loosen and raise the joiner fence,
butt the joiner up against the edge to be slotted, then lower the
fence until it rests on top of the board. Tighten the fence. This
just happens to put the slot about in the middle of the board. Plus,
when you make the cuts you have the whole tool supported on the flat
surface your board sits on --- it's actually a case of "pinning" the
board between the fence and the bench surface.
Now granted, for thicker boards, you can't rest the tool on the bench
because the blade is only about 1/4" above the base -- your slot
would be way off center of the board edge. But then, that's what the
adjustable fence is for. Only problem is now you only have the fence
resting on the board to rely on for holding your alignment -- the
base of the tool is left hanging. (There's two little gripper pins on
the face that contacts the board, but their effectiveness is
inversely proportional to the wood's hardness in my opinion).
Anyhow, I provide additional support by resting the
tool on the proper thickness of scrap wood to once again give the
housing a base to rest on. Heck, there aren't that many board
thicknesses I work with, so my "shim" collection doesn't have to be
Finally, let's realize that by design, the slots are a tad thicker than
the biscuits, so there will be *some* play (but I agree that 1/16"
is unacceptable). And are all biscuits created equal? I doubt it.
Some could be thicker than others in my bag of 500. Bottom line --
biscuits make glue ups easier, but I still expect to do some tweaking
as I tighten the clamps, because I never expect the biscuits to give
me "perfect" alignment. But it's darn close, I must admit. I'm
real pleased with my PC 555.