Text Resize

  • -A
  • +A
  • Your rating: None (30 votes)

    How to Use Biscuit Joints

    By Tom Begnal

    It will never match the beauty of a dovetail or the strength of a mortise-and-tenon, but for speed, accuracy, and ease of use, it’s hard to beat the biscuit joint.

    Biscuit joints can be used on all wood products: solid wood, plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and particleboard. For this reason, they are great for cabinetry, which typically involves a mix of solid wood and sheet goods. Biscuits are a great way to join a plywood carcase and attach an assembled face frame. They also help keep things aligned when gluing solid-wood edging to plywood or assembling solid boards into a wide panel.

    Biscuit joiner cuts the slots
    A dedicated tool and an oddly shaped tenon combine to create a biscuit joint. At the heart of the process is a power tool called a biscuit joiner or a plate joiner.

    To make a joint, use the tool to cut a shallow slot in each of the mating parts. Then, after adding glue to each slot, insert a thin, football-shaped biscuit into one slot. A little more than half the biscuit’s width goes into the slot; the other half sticks out. To complete the joint, just slip the mating slot onto the “tenon” and clamp the parts together.

    The biscuit joiner has just four main parts: a motor, a blade that cuts the slot, an adjustable fence that aligns some types of cut, and a base that houses the blade and also can align cuts.

    The 4-in.-dia. blade looks like a miniature tablesaw blade. Unlike a tablesaw blade, however, the biscuit-joiner blade cuts horizontally. The kerf it creates, commonly called the slot, measures about 1/8 in., just wide enough to accept standard-thickness biscuits.


    An adjustable stop on the joiner controls the depth of cut to match each of the common biscuit sizes—0, 10, and 20.


    Thanks to a spring-loaded sliding “way” that connects the base and motor, you can butt the front of the base against a workpiece, start the motor, and push it forward. The spinning blade emerges from the front of the tool to cut a shallow, arc-shaped slot in the workpiece. Release the forward pressure, and the springs push the motor back to retract the spinning blade safely into the base.

    Expanding biscuits fill the slots
    The second element in this joint is the biscuit. Made from beechwood or white birch that has been thoroughly dried, biscuits are compressed by machine to a standard thickness. For maximum all around strength, the biscuits are cut so the grain runs diagonally.

    When a biscuit comes into contact with moisture, it swells. So when you insert a biscuit into a glue-lined slot, the biscuit expands, creating a snug fit and a tight joint. It is important to use only waterbased glues such as common yellow PVA glue. Biscuits won’t work with epoxy, cyanoacrylate (“super”) glue, or polyurethane glues.

    Biscuits come in three standard sizes, No. 0, No. 10, and No. 20. The biscuit joiner has preset depth stops that match these sizes.

    Use the fence or the base to locate the slot
    When using a biscuit joiner, you have two ways—the fence or the base—to register the slot in the workpiece. Each has advantages.

    For extra flexibility, the adjustable fence lets you position the slot anywhere between 3/16 in. and 1 in. from the fence (if the biscuit is any closer than 3/16 in. to the surface of the workpiece, its swelling could create a bulge on the surface). Also, you can set the fence to cut slots in angled joints.

    However, if all you want to do is center a slot on 3/4-in.-thick stock, it’s easier to register off the base. This is because the center of the kerf is located 3/8 in. from the bottom of the base. To create a slot in 3/4-in.-thick stock, place the base and the stock on the same flat surface and make the cut. It’s OK if the slot isn’t exactly centered; just remember not to flip the parts when it comes time to glue them.

    Cut and assemble a simple biscuit joint
    With a biscuit joiner in hand, it takes just four steps to join a pair of 3/4-in.-thick boards end to edge. This joint is useful for making light-duty door frames, especially when the panel is plywood or MDF. That’s because plywood and MDF don’t expand and contract with changes in humidity, so they can be glued in place to add strength to the frame.

    Step 1: Align and mark—Align the boards as you want to see them joined, and use a single line to mark the biscuit centerline on the top face of both parts.
    Step 2: Determine the biscuit size— Based on the width of the board, choose the largest biscuit that it can accept. For the 3-in.-wide stock shown, no. 20 biscuits are a good choice.

    Step 3: Cut the slots—Clamp one of the workpieces in place (never hold the workpiece by hand). Set the depth-adjustment knob for the appropriate biscuit size. Align the center-registration mark on the biscuit joiner with the biscuit centerline mark made in Step 1. Start the motor and, with one hand on the top handle and one hand on the motor housing, push the motor toward the stock. Continue cutting until you reach the stop, and then allow the spring action to return the motor to the starting point.


    Step 4: Repeat—Repeat the process and cut the slots in the mating piece.

    Step 5: Apply glue—Use a small brush (I use a throwaway soldering brush) to apply a generous coat of glue to each slot. Be sure to coat the sides of the slots—that’s where a lot of the glue strength comes from. Add glue to the biscuit and insert it into one of the slots, then attach the other piece and clamp them together. Don’t answer the phone after the biscuit has been inserted into the first slot. By the time you come back, it will already have swelled enough that you won’t be able to insert it in the second part of the joint. The only thing you can do then is let the glue dry, saw away the protruding part of the biscuit, and re-cut the slot.

    You can also reference off the base
    Registering a cut from the joiner’s base always puts the biscuit slot 3/8 in. from the reference surface, or centered on 3/4-in. stock. This can make for quick biscuiting, as when attaching a fixed shelf to an upright.

    Step 1: Layout trick—To start, mark out the shelf location on the case side and clamp the actual shelf along one of those lines. You are now set up to cut both sides of the biscuit joint.

    Step 2: Just butt and cut—With the joiner base on the side piece, cut the biscuit slots in the end of the shelf (left). Reposition the joiner so the base butts against the end of the shelf, and cut the mating slots in the side piece (right).

    Step 3: Join the parts—Apply glue to the slots and biscuits, then fit the shelf to the side pieces and add clamps.


    Comment viewing options

    Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
    Denny Smudge writes: wow biscuit joints. this is what i was looking for. thanks for posting.
    Howard Find writes: Very detailed explanation of the process involved in becoming a pharmacy technician. It's a long process and a very detailed training course is required.
    adrian roy writes: yes we are agree with you howard, this article very details, so readers know how to practice, thank you. regards sumatra tours sumatra travel
    Scott UF writes: You Have Created A Very Nice Post, It is Helpful..
    lory lory writes: We are ready to help you to solve your writing problem! Do my assignment
    lory lory writes: Excellent essay writers! Our mission is to take care of your paper! http://supreme-essay.net/
    lory lory writes: Essay writers available 24/7 in order to provide you the highest quality papers! http://supreme-essay.net/
    Dede Sobirin writes: I really enjoy your editorials,thanks for such informative and insightful reading. Thank U..
    lory lory writes: Good essay writers! http://supreme-essay.net/
    sean mao writes: Large-diameter bits are for use only in a router table. Using bits over 1 in. dia. in a handheld router can easily cause you to lose control of the tool.
    Mike Bartted writes: Great post!
    raghu ram writes: great post thank yolu
    anvvesh ng writes: nice information thankyou
    Jenefee Mike writes: I'm not positive the place you're obtaining your info, however sensible topic. i need to pay a minute checking out additional or understanding additional. thanks for amazing info I wont to be finding out this information for my mission. http://www.boladiator.com/
    Stephanie Durot writes: Perfect ! Thank you for the article my french website mutuelle Comparateur de mutuelle santé
    Eva Pairet writes: Thank you ! I follow you. my french website mutuelle Comparatif mutuelle
    mori tehranee writes: its so nice to watch i have good experienced and it help me educate more things in life. I will bookmarked your page so that I http://xn----4mcvn1ho87d.net/ http://xn----4mcvn1ho87d.net/%D9%87%D8%AA%D9%84-%DA%A9%DB%8C%D8%B4
    akil cods writes: Good day ! I would like to say that your blog is really great it contains a lot of useful information that can be shared to others, i am also here to introduce our products and services. --buy soundcloud services
    prabhas rana writes: nice one buddy
    kang vhey writes: Inilah sebenarnya artikel yang benar-benar sangat bermanfaat dan menarik bagi semua orang. Tidak hanya saya saja yang mengatakan seperti ini, Server Bloger- Inilah sebenarnya artikel yang benar-benar sangat bermanfaat dan menarik bagi semua orang. Tidak hanya saya saja yang mengatakan seperti ini, Blogger X HTML- Inilah sebenarnya artikel yang benar-benar sangat bermanfaat dan menarik bagi semua orang. Tidak hanya saya saja yang mengatakan seperti ini, Widget Blogger
    project success writes: It's hard to tell with these Internet start ups if they're really interested in building companies or if they're just interested in the money. essay help
    Olly Fab writes: Great works, I like the the kind of wood you use and it's color, I think this working need to learn as much as possible, very hard for Me, But thank you for sharing this great article,very informative. Boat to gili tours to Lombok
    project success writes: Entscheidungsträger lernen, den Einsatz dieser Geräte von Anfang an richtig zu planen, so dass die Einführung der Geräte so reibungslos wie möglich abläuft und deren produktive. louisville ky apartments
    hakeem nour writes: [url=http://www.el-anwaar.com/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%87/%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A9-%D9%86%D9%82%D9%84-%D8%B9%D9%81%D8%B4-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%87/]شركة نقل عفش بالمدينه المنوره[/url] [url=http://www.el-anwaar.com/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%87/%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A9-%D8%B1%D8%B4-%D9%85%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%87/]شركة رش مبيدات بالمدينه المنوره [/url] [url=http://al-nourr.com/%d8%ae%d8%af%d9%85%d8%a7%d8%aa-%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b1%d9%8a%d8%a7%d8%b6/%d8%b4%d8%b1%d9%83%d8%a9-%d8%aa%d8%b3%d9%84%d9%8a%d9%83-%d9%85%d8%ac%d8%a7%d8%b1%d9%89-%d8%a8%d8%a7%d9%84%d8%b1%d9%8a%d8%a7%d8%b6/] شركة تسليك مجارى بالرياض [/url] [url=http://www.el-anwaar.com/%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%87/%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%A9-%D8%AA%D9%86%D8%B8%D9%8A%D9%81-%D9%81%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%82-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%86%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%87/]شركة تنظيف فنادق بالمديه المنوره[/url]
    walid ramadan
    walid walid writes: good nice شركه تنظيف فلل بالرياض http://www.dar-elsafwa.com/?p=80 http://www.dar-elsafwa.com/?p=48
    addie baldric writes: clamp some in a straight line border boards, on edge, crossways the boards to maintain the boards allied when clamping them together. There is a little play in the biscuit slots and the boards will glide and shift as the glue compress out.write an assignment
    walid ramadan
    walid walid writes: Beyond that, some tools are more dangerous than others. http://www.dar-elsafwa.com/?p=85 http://www.roknelbeet.com/?p=50
    diyah ayu
    diyah ayu writes: My sister confusion using this tool, but once I found my guide you will deliver it. Hopefully with this tool could work my brother better results. Oh I as travel service providers, if you want a holiday in my country, please check the following http://travelkebromo.com
    dzeko sansan writes:

    We're a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable information to work on You have done a formidable job and our whole community will be thankful to you. You can read nice information Cipto Junaedy, and don't forget read valuable review Metland Rumah Idaman Investasi Masa Depan and nice review Cara Mencerahkan Kulit and review Sewa Mobil Di Jakarta and also lowongan kerja BUMN and sewa alphard Bandung | Sewa Innova Bandung | sewa hiace commuter and harga samsung galaxy and nice article Kerajinan Tembaga and kerajinan kuningan | kerajinan tembaga also Kerajinan Tembaga that's good and valuable article Lowongan Kerja and nice review Cipto Junaedy. Jasa SEO Murah and Jasa SEO Surabaya Thank you

    agus murod writes: This is a nice post in an interesting line of content.Thanks for sharing this article, Klikoffice.co.id Belanja Online Peralatan dan Perlengkapan Kantor
    koyex love writes:

    Thanks to a spring-loaded sliding “way” that connects the base and motor, you can butt the front of the base against a workpiece, start the motor, and push it forward.

    Cheap Datpiff Packages

    Christopher Lelouchi writes:

    I agree with you , They also help keep things aligned when gluing solid-wood edging to plywood or assembling solid boards into a wide panel.


    Feeling bored? Then why not check this out to Buy Datpiff Views

    Cryp Tor writes: This is really a great tutorial on how to use Biscuit joints, very useful. Thanks for the tips! Purchase Facebook Likes
    sep puku writes: Good day! This is excellent and great. Interesting and this could be helpful on how to use biscuit joints correctly. Also, can be a guide to those whose just a beginner in using biscuit joins. Its content are very well explain. Thanks for sharing this. Keep it up. Looking forward for more. Be with us here to Purchase Twitter Favorites
    williama willis writes: I want to convey my issue with the amount of complexness included to the subject of SEO. About 80% of details about SEO out there is too strong and complicated, with a lot of views. sell
    Richard Steve writes:

    Thanks for the amazing post you shared, I impressed so much and really like your writing skill, keep the good works and have nice day

    assignment geek

    project success writes: After this you url your site content your primary how does someone that after the individual thinks that buying your tool. Additional Info
    abhi an writes:

    the <a href="http://www.slotsjungle.co.uk/">slots at internet</a> is also an asweome site to play.

    koutb sawy writes:

    I enjoyed that. Very informitive. Now I will be a bit more relaxed when I finally شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض

    samtha robert writes:

    Enjoying the piece of writing.. thanks! Truly beneficial perception, many thanks for posting.. Terrific ideas you’ve got here.. Is not it awesome once you get a great publish? clash of clans hack online

    asdf sdcf writes:

    Excellent blog post! thank you so much for sharing
    this on us, I really enjoyed reading all your articles
    here. I'm looking forward to see more articles.
    Once again thank you and keep up the good work...


    buy youtube views

    ricky ardian writes: how much the price of the device ? 

    Kerajinan tembaga kerajinan kuningan

    gul naaz writes:

    Your blog provided us with valuable information to work with. Each & every tips of your post are awesome. toko plastik

    project success writes: The Cheapest locksmith has good skills at their work or possessions, and thus have good apparition, consociate of all the categories of locks in the industry and also be able to correspond the implementation of a variety of locks.useful source
    Login or register to post comments