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Biscuit Joinery !

Not the type you eat silly ! Biscuits are in theory 'flat dowels' made from compressed beech. They fit in a groove and expand when glue is applied, the provide a very strong joint ! This is because of their extra glue surface area and also the fact that they swell.

They are used in many areas of furniture - You can literally hold a piece of furniture together with these - some gurus and purists might raise an eyebrow at that though !

So heres how it's done:

This is a biscuit joiner. It's specifically made to cut biscuit slots, quickly, easily and accurately. It has a spinning blade the width of the biscuit which cuts a half moon slot in each piece of the work.
These are the biscuits...they don't look so edible after all ! (You can get these in different sizes No 0, 10 and 20 - the ones pictures are No. 20's - the biggest)
These are the 2 boards i'm going to make into a panel - as you see the gap between them is very uneven - This is a poor join between the boards !

To sort this problem out i'm passith the boards over my jointer. This will square the boards and remove and irregularity on the edge.

Wear goggles ! O-O

Can you see the joint now ? Magic - isn't it ! This is the join we want - we don't want to force the joint together.
Now I have prepared the work, i'm putting index marks. I put these between the 2 boards and I will use these to keep them aligned, and also they show me where to cut the slots. If you have many boards it's probably a good idea to number them also - to avoid confusion when glueing up !
This is how the biscuits are going to site (Only withing the wood)
I set the angle guide to 90 degrees and tightened it. This will probaby varie depending on the make and model of your tool.
Also it's important that you adjust the height at which the slot will be cut. This mark indicates where the blade will come out. This mark should be about halfway on the edge. Also make sure the jointer is set up to cut the correst size slot (In this case a no.20 slot)
Now it's time to make the cut. Align the mark on the machine (Which is where the centre of the slot will be) with the index mark we drew earlier. Engage the power and plunge. Any one can do this and it's very simple and easy. You can also get cutters for the router to cut the slots - this is a good into into the biscuit world !
Here are the 6 slots, all cut ready for the biscuits !
Here i've shown to you how the biscuits will sit in the wood.
Put glue in the biscuit slots...
And along the edge of the board...(I used my cool roller bottle - spreads the glue easily and also makes light work of jobs like this. If you want a gadget like this click here.
Remember to put some glue in the opposing slots.
Knock the boards together with a mallet (or two if you have completely failed)
Now it's a case of clamping the panel and waiting for the glue to set.

Wow - that was fun. I hope thats explained how-to.

A few useful links:

  • Ferm - Made my biscuit joiner - buy it from screwfix VERY good tool!
  • I used Titebond wood glue for this how-to.
  • Axminster for the clamps and also glue roller.









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