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View Full Version : Biscuit joiner - what ya like?



Bill Blackburn
11-19-2010, 1:01 PM
In need of a replacement for one that walked off......
It was a very old DW - anyone got one they want to call Top Dog?

Hate to drop a wad on something I'll use at best 2x a year but ..... maybe that have to be done.
Like the Kreg jig for 95% of yesteryears joiner needs but there is always that time when it not the best solution.
Thanky all


BTW-winter's really here:(:eek::mad:

Charlie Jones
11-19-2010, 1:09 PM
I have a Dewalt. It works fine and is accurate.

Tom Cornish
11-19-2010, 1:32 PM
Got a Domino - sold my Porter Cable 557. I don't miss it.

frank shic
11-19-2010, 2:20 PM
Got a Domino - sold my Porter Cable 557. I don't miss it.

ditto

forget about trying to build anything that requires resistance to shear forces. i'm still nervous about the stool i made for my in-laws and warned them not to sit or stand on it lol

Erik Christensen
11-19-2010, 2:22 PM
what tom & frank said

i have a nice low mileage dewalt that has not been used since I got my domino

Neil Brooks
11-19-2010, 2:32 PM
P-C 557.

BUT ... a lot of people DO say that their biscuit joiners collect dust -- whether because they bought Domino's, or because they simply don't use biscuits very often.

I like mine ... for glue-ups ... but could easily live without it -- particularly since I've bought, and become accustomed to using, a glue joint router bit.

Jon McElwain
11-19-2010, 3:05 PM
Yeah, your "top-dog" is going to be the Lamello S4 for biscuit joiners. They make a model C3 joiner as well. It is just a little smaller and a few less features. Lamello is on par with Festool and Fein as far as quality and hand power tool fit and finish.

After that, the Porter Cable seemed to be the one that I would have gone for. It also got top reviews (under the Lamello) in the Bosch/Makita/DeWalt/Porter Cable/etc. level of tools.

All that said, I ended up buying a Festool Domino like some of the other posters here. Very nice machine. A little bit of a learning curve, but once you've done a couple projects with it, it is like a bicycle - even 6 months later, you are still able to pick up the machine and go to work.

So, if $900 doesn't scare you off, go for the Domino. If you really need a biscuit joiner the Lamello is the top dog (top price too at around $500?), I would recommend the Porter Cable if you're looking to spend in the neighborhood of $200. Of course, others here have said that the Dewalt is a decent machine, and it is in the same price range as the Porter Cable.

Hope that helps!

Keith Hankins
11-19-2010, 3:12 PM
Got a Domino - sold my Porter Cable 557. I don't miss it.

I did the very same thing. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

Chip Lindley
11-19-2010, 3:51 PM
My first-ever biscuit jointer was a gently-used Lamello Jr. Great tool, but it lacks the rack n pinion fence. I keep it set to cut in the center of a "3/4" panel. That is it's only inconvenience. It will run forever!

More convenient are the DeWalts and Porter-Cables. Rack n Pinion makes all the difference in finding the right thickness setting again. Great CL bargains on both. You could have 3 or 4 of these for the price of 1 Domino!

Paul Johnstone
11-19-2010, 4:21 PM
I have the porter cable biscuit jointer. I know I am in the minority, but it actually gets about the same amount of use as the domino. I even have Plano clamps which allow me to get good glueups without biscuits, but I still find uses for it.

The PC biscuit jointer lets you cut small FF sized biscuits. This is a great feature, and well worth paying the extra $50 or so for.

Bill Blackburn
11-19-2010, 4:29 PM
Man o man o man ..... why did I ever start playing this tool game:eek:

To much to digest for the day .... 15 dominos would be dang near what I paid for house #1. Sold it for about 210K way back when .... things getting way to spendy for a hobbiest I am sensing. They chased the young hunters and fisherman away when boats hit 40K .... :(

Thanks --- need a day to get it right inside my skull and before I pull the plug on anything I guess.
Does whomever grabbed my old one want to return it and make this easy for me please

Gary Curtis
11-19-2010, 4:36 PM
:eek:Setting aside the specific manufacturer of the tool, you can have the best by choosing genuine Lamello biscuits. Side by side comparisons with other brands prove they have the best quality.

By this I mean they are accurately sized and well-made. A lot of error can creep into joints because of the poor quality Borg-bought biscuits. Purchase the best materials and you can skimp on the cost of the machine.

Incidentally, I have the top of the line Lamello, but experience tells me that the real difference is in their biscuits. If I had less money, I would buy a DeWalt and still get equal results.

Bill Blackburn
11-19-2010, 6:46 PM
Thanks Gary ... and everyone.
I'm leaning at the DW or maybe the PC .... the old DW was not fancy but did what I asked of it for many years w/o a complaint when I look back.
Some mucho compelling options for sure - but I still remain at heart somewhat frugal all in all. I keep saying I am but a hobbiest, I am but a..... and an old one at that :D

Lance Norris
11-19-2010, 7:04 PM
Bill... I have a GMC(not the truck)biscuit joiner. Lowes sells, or used to sell them. It does a fine job, isnt crappy, and was reasonally priced. For as many times as I use it, it sure does the job.

http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com/reviews/GMCBJ110/gmcbiscuitjoiner2.jpg

http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com/reviews/gmcBJ110.htm

Peter Pedisich
11-19-2010, 7:08 PM
I have a DeWalt that I'll be selling to get a Domino...
The DeWalt works perfectly once I ditched the Porter Cable bicuits for Virutex from Lee Valley. They are much more consistent. The Lamellos are probably even better.

Brian W Evans
11-19-2010, 7:08 PM
Bill,

I'll chime in with my Makita - about $200. Does just what you need it to do.

That being said, a third alternative (to the domino and biscuit joiner) might be a doweling jig. I have a Dowelmax but there are others (lots of threads on here) that people like as well or better. Dowels offer much greater shear strength, are about as easy to use, and can be used anywhere a biscuit can be used. A doweling jig is a very handy thing to have - more so than a biscuit joiner, IMO.

The drawbacks I see are that dowels are a bit slower (not an issue for you, perhaps, since you use the biscuit joiner infrequently), and don't offer lateral adjustment of the pieces to be joined - once you drill the holes, the pieces are gonna fit how they're gonna fit.

Just my $.02.

John McClanahan
11-19-2010, 7:11 PM
I have a Clarke. Looks like the GMC. Gave $35 new for it. No more than I need it, it will last a lifetime.

John

David Helm
11-19-2010, 7:55 PM
One thing about the Porter Cable that may help is that it is on sale at Grizzly for $169. At that price it doesn't have to be the best you can buy, but it is adequate.

Chris Padilla
11-19-2010, 8:39 PM
I have the porter cable biscuit jointer. I know I am in the minority, but it actually gets about the same amount of use as the domino. I even have Plano clamps which allow me to get good glueups without biscuits, but I still find uses for it.

The PC biscuit jointer lets you cut small FF sized biscuits. This is a great feature, and well worth paying the extra $50 or so for.

I'm with Paul: have both the Domino and the PC557. I love the FFs for small picture frames.

Biscuits are good for hardwood edging on non-hardwood materials (plywood, MDF) over Domino that are just too long.

Always sort your biscuits out ahead of time before gluing up. Fat biscuits can be placed into a vise to thin down if necessary. Thin ones get tossed.

Dominos are dead nuts on for size/quality but are overall, a lot more pricey than biscuits. But, dry fits with tight dominos are nice...it can be difficult to remove them bone dry!

Jonathan Spool
11-19-2010, 10:20 PM
Best Biscuit joiner = Lamello 20 S4
Best wood joining system = Domino

I have both, and I prefer the Lamello for throwing together carcasses, but will use the Domino whenever more strength and acuracy is involved.
Kind of like the Lamello for cabinets and the Domino for furniture.

Phil Thien
11-19-2010, 11:37 PM
I have the Porter Cable, and I think it is great for carcase/box work. Fast, accurate, and the joints are very strong (I've tested to destruction and have more often than not given up knocking some of the joints apart).

I do not have a Domino, and question the need for one. I haven't figured out any projects where I'd use on yet.

Kyle Iwamoto
11-20-2010, 2:29 AM
I have a DeWalt. Can't justify a Domino, although IF I could, I would get that. There really is no comparison IMO. I just cannot justify the cost, since I'm not a pro. Are the PC made better now? I didn't like them when I bought the DeWalt a couple years ago. I think the DeWalt has a better fence system.
Oh, my joiner has seen very little use since I've discovered the Kreg Pocket Hole Jig. Give that a thought. If you can't see the back, that's my choice.

Just my $0.02.

ed vitanovec
11-20-2010, 2:59 AM
I have the dewalt and really like it. Lowes in my area has the freud on closeout at $99.00, it looks to be a nice biscuit cutter.

Chris Kennedy
11-20-2010, 8:24 AM
I have a PC 557 and I wouldn't be without it. That being said, if you only use it once or twice a year, I would have a look at the Ryobi. It used to be small and a little chintzy, but the most recent one I saw looked significantly more robust.

Cheers,

Chris

Will Overton
11-20-2010, 8:49 AM
PC 557 is a good machine and reasonably priced compared to the "L".

As others have mentioned, the Domino will easily put your biscuit joiner out of business. Before buying anything, read up on the Domino to see if it would be a worthwhile addition to your shop. It does a lot more than a biscuit joiner, but is not for everybody.

Curt Harms
11-20-2010, 9:02 AM
Biscuits were developed after WWII for joining sheet goods. I don't have and have never used a Domino but it seems like a Domino would be more suitable for solid stock. I do own a P-C 557 that I use infrequently but biscuits do seem to work well with sheet goods. I'm sure Dominos are stronger in solid stock because they're loose tenons. So for me it's biscuits for sheet goods and mortise & tenon or dowels for solid goods.

This might change for someone who is time limited or working for profit instead of as a hobby. I'm sure Dominoes are a lot faster than traditional mortise & tenon construction.

Don Dorn
11-20-2010, 10:13 AM
Other than edge glue ups that are fairly large, (prmarily for alignment) my biscuit joiner (Makita) stays in the box, but I'm not getting rid of it, they are too handy when I actually need it. I don't have a Domino, but do have a Dowelmax and find that to be incredibly accurate and use it for nicer projects.

Frankly, I use pocket holes for most cabinet type work - you only have to drill one side, no clamps and very strong. Unfortunately, there are enough better joinery options that I'm afraid the biscuit joiner has been relegated to dust or sold in most shops. Doesn't seem that long ago that they were latest craze.

frank shic
11-20-2010, 11:46 AM
Frankly, I use pocket holes for most cabinet type work - you only have to drill one side, no clamps and very strong. Unfortunately, there are enough better joinery options that I'm afraid the biscuit joiner has been relegated to dust or sold in most shops. Doesn't seem that long ago that they were latest craze.

i use pneumatic staples and confirmat screws. i'm not planning on using dominos any time soon to assemble plywood/melamine cases.

Chris Kennedy
11-20-2010, 2:19 PM
For what is worth, there is a PC 557 available in the Classifieds.

Chris

Alan Wright
11-22-2010, 3:21 PM
I'm a weekend warrier as well. A couple years ago I bit the bullet and got a Domino. I have a Dewalt buscuit joiner and I just purchased the Jessem Dowling Jig. I find each tool to have their place and while there are occassions where more than one tool will work, I really don't think a Domino replaces a biscuit cutter and vise versa.

In a perfect world we would all have all the tools we could want for. If I had to pick, I'd get a Domino first because making mortise and tennon joints any other way is a much more time consuming process. However, Nothing beats biscuit joiner for quick glue ups.

Greg Portland
11-23-2010, 5:34 PM
After that, the Porter Cable seemed to be the one that I would have gone for. It also got top reviews (under the Lamello) in the Bosch/Makita/DeWalt/Porter Cable/etc. level of tools.Not any more, I would take a Dewalt of the current PC version any day. If you can get your hands on an older PC 557 then great... otherwise stick with the Dewalt.

I agree with the Craigslist postings... lots of people are no longer using their biscuit cutters since they've gone to Domino joinery. I would recommend posting a "wanted" ad to shake loose anyone who is sitting on an older biscuit cutter.

David Hostetler
11-23-2010, 5:40 PM
I am the odd man here, but I love my Ryobi JM82K. Puts the right size slot where I need it. I find the D handle comfortable, and easy to control..

Doug Carpenter
11-23-2010, 5:47 PM
I have an Elu. anybody Remember them?

It is the same as DeWalt. But not sissy yellow.:p

I still use mine. I think it is apples and oranges to compare it to a domino.

One thing a biscut is great for is ninstalling laminate backsplashes.

a guy that worked for me broke the dust chute on mine and I need to see if I can find a new one.

Mike Shields
11-23-2010, 6:16 PM
I would be one of those who has a 557 collecting dust.

Matter of fact, the thing may have cut only 10 biscuits. It is essentially new.

I now use a dowelmax.

glenn bradley
11-23-2010, 7:14 PM
I sold my rarely used 557 to a fellow Creeker years ago. It was a Type 2 (post DeWalt lawsuit but before they got wonky) and was a dream to use. I just found I never did that sort of work so a Canadian brother made out ;-)

dennis thompson
11-23-2010, 8:06 PM
I have a Craftsman I bought for $99, works great, does everything I ask it to do & it didn't break the bank:)
Dennis

Van Huskey
11-23-2010, 11:52 PM
Big money just get a Domino
Big money but in love with biscuits? Lamello
Moderate money get the PC 557
Less money the Dewalt

Todd Crawford
11-24-2010, 8:55 AM
I've had the PC 557 for about 5 years now and I use it on nearly everything I build. Really like the FF option that the Dewalt did not have.

Jim Heffner
12-01-2010, 6:58 PM
DeWalt...'nuff said here!

Ron Kellison
12-01-2010, 9:42 PM
In need of a replacement for one that walked off......
It was a very old DW - anyone got one they want to call Top Dog?

Hate to drop a wad on something I'll use at best 2x a year but ..... maybe that have to be done.
Like the Kreg jig for 95% of yesteryears joiner needs but there is always that time when it not the best solution.
Thanky all


BTW-winter's really here:(:eek::mad:

I've had a Freud JS102 for almost 8 years now. Works great for what I need i.e., glue-ups for panels. I tend to use it for quick assembly projects for the shop or outdoor projects just to line things up during assembly. Based upon everything I've read if you're planning on doing top-quality work go for the Lamello or the Domino. Once you drop out of that category you can go with just about any of the lesser models on the market. For casual use I don't think you will find any real stinkers if you stick with the brand names.

Regards,

Ron

hank dekeyser
12-01-2010, 10:42 PM
Got one of the older P/C units, dont know the model #. I just dont use it enough to care - it works like I need it to when I use it. My preference is some sort of glue joint whether its a router bit, half lap or whatever. The biscuit jointer just helps w/ alignment IMHO. Pocket screws work well also when you can use them.

IMHO- it isnt really a matter of who's tool you buy - even the best tool is junk if the operator doesnt use it well. the tool might make a difference if this was a machine shop, but you do remember we work with wood- it moves - even a perfect joint sanded to perfection will move on you.

my 2 cents -

Don Selke
12-01-2010, 11:03 PM
Have been retired for 15 years now and the Domino is well over my price range. I use a mortising machine and biscuit jointer. Have no intention on purchasing the Domino due to the price tag. My PC biscuit jointer has done a excillent job for me.

Bill Blackburn
12-02-2010, 10:54 AM
I went cheap, in price but not the tool IMO .... kinda got lucky maybe as I picked up a PC 557 for $75. A decent ol' chap had started out using power tools and then went all hand tools --- in just a month. The noise of it all made him crazy he said. Funny side note I think - his hearing is bad so I was a bit perplexed as we shouted at each other the whole time. I mean his hearing is B A D. (Maybe it was vibrational matter???)
He said he used it 4-5 times and I have no reason to question it. He also had that General cabinet saw that I referenced a few days ago someplace on forum here.
Yeah - that's coming home here too next warm day we have. That was a bigger steal IMO - $750 and still shiny new!:D
Been to damkit cold to haul things around ..... brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Learning to not like winter as much as I get older. :eek:
Spent a month in Texas over past summer - learned I don't like that much either;)

Thanks to ya'll for the feedback and help.

Bill

David Hostetler
12-02-2010, 11:12 AM
Been to damkit cold to haul things around ..... brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Learning to not like winter as much as I get older. :eek:
Spent a month in Texas over past summer - learned I don't like that much either;)

Thanks to ya'll for the feedback and help.

Bill

I was about to offer to trade your winters for my summers... But it looks like you have experienced them... Never been to Minnesota, but Winters in Oregon, particularly the mountains can be harsh... (I'm not a native Texan...)