What are the biscuits?
A Biscuit is a flat piece of densely compressed wood which resembles an American football with no air inside it. It is used by carpenters to join two pieces of wood by making a lock. For over two decades, woodworkers have benefitted from this revolutionary technique. Mostly used for various small projects, you can build cabinets, bookshelves, drawers and wooden boxes with ease using a Biscuit Joiner. Now, what is a Biscuit Joiner? — That’s what we’re going to learn here along with the method of correctly using it.
What is a biscuit joiner?
Biscuit joiners are portable machinery equipment used to make slots that fit the biscuits. They came into the carpentry industry about two decades ago. This tool creates a crescent-shaped slot with its cutter. A unique thing about it is that the cutter disc retracts inside as you pull the machine away from your work.
Learning to use elemental biscuit joining is a 5-minute-thing. But even then, you need to take care of certain things and practice them over and over to familiarize yourself with this new tool.
Using a biscuit joiner
Before we move onto the basics of using this tool, here’s a list of materials and tools you need to have by your side.
Materials you need
2.Pieces of biscuits (You can start off with any suitable size)
3.A marker or a pencil
5.Wood blocks to be joined
Firstly, you need to know that both edge-to-edge, as well as perpendicular joints, can be made, depending upon your choice. Face to edge biscuit joint is similar to the edge-to-edge. These two types of joints use the same principle, differing only in the position of the tool while working.
For edge-to-edge joins
These five steps give you a basic idea of using the biscuit cutter. These kinds of joints are the bread and butter thing for woodworkers. Since you don’t have to use the T- fences or position the joiner in an awkward angle to make cuts, this type of join is one of the natural methods to form joints.
Step 1: Line the wood pieces in an alignment
The first and foremost step to begin is to line up the wooden pieces which are to be joined. Make sure that the rough grains of both parts are facing the same way. For extra precision, you can make the curve of the tree rings face downward. This way, you can prevent the wood form unnaturally curving upon the wet condition of the environment.
Step 2: Mark the places where biscuits need to be placed
Use a pencil to make marks at places where you need to slot your biscuits in. As a rule of thumb, make marks with one 6 to 7 inches apart from another. Moreover, you can make triangles to guide yourself while placing the boards in their right locations.
Step 3: Use joiner to make slots according to the marks
Now, use the biscuit joiner to make a slot at each mark. Be sure you are aligning the tool according to mark you’ve made on the wood pieces. After making all the slots, apply some wood glue along the length of the slot’s edges.
Step 5: Put the proper size biscuits into the slots
Most biscuit sizes are of 0, 10 and 20. But it is better to choose the large one if possible. Now that you have already determined what sized biscuit you’re going to use, you need to slip the biscuit chips into each slot. Since the cutter-made slots are slightly oversized, once glued, the chips inside swell and correctly lock themselves.
Now slide the biscuits into the corresponding slots of next wooden piece.
Step 6: Clamp the wooden pieces with a clamper
Clamping the blocks will expand the biscuit inside so that it perfectly fits the slot. Thus, you get a stable joint between the pieces. Also, you need to wipe any excess glue before it dries.
For Mitered Biscuit Joints
Making mitered as well as end-to-edge frames can be easy if you are using biscuits. Making a picture frame or a cabinet’s face frame is not that difficult after you learn this method of using a biscuit joiner.
To do this, you need to start by choosing the right biscuit. For this, position the locks together after which you can put one or more biscuits on top.
Draw the line at the center of a test biscuit which can be useful while laying the slots out.
Use more full chips for more holding power. Tick this step optional if you need the biscuit to be hidden inside the joint.
If you make the mistake of hand holding the stock, the razor-sharp blade, which is rapidly spinning can walk around your table, causing minor to severe injuries. To get safe, clamp the pieces to a stop block.
Now you can align the joiner’s center mark with the pencil mark on your piece and make a perfect cut. Make sure you’ve already clamped the stock strongly before using the joiner.
After making the slots, you can now use glue on the length of the slotted edge and slip biscuits inside. Wipe off the excess glue before it gets dried. The extra biscuit tip, extending over the boundary can be cut off.
While doing different types of joinery such as Double-Biscuit Joinery or face miters or offset or butt or T-joinery, you may need to have the support of a fence. More experienced professionals tend to use the joiner’s base (against a workpiece) more than the fence as the surface of reference. They find this way more reliable and stronger. Even though some rocking and shaky movement may occur, practice helps you control the positioning of the joint. It is essential that when you decide to use the fence, you make full engagement of your wooden fence to a workpiece to be clear of future problems.
Some tips and warnings while using the biscuit joiners
- You should store the biscuits in a tight and dry container since biscuits can absorb the moisture in the air and swell. If a biscuit expands and becomes bigger than its standard size, they are of pretty much no use.
- Before you use the glue and make everything fit and fine, place your components and check if they fit with each other beforehand. It will ensure that everything will fit when glued.
- For your safety, wear goggles, soundproof headphones, and a dust mask when using a joiner.
- If you see smoke or burns in the wooden sluts, consider replacing the blade. Rusty and old blades can make marks of burns and generate smokes disturbing your work.
A biscuit joiner is a handy tool which revolutionized the carpeting with its easy, quick and homely method of making woodworking joints. You can get some of the best biscuit joiners to start off with your woodworks in online markets like Amazon or eBay.