Biscuit Joinery Basics
Six simple steps to make perfectly aligned joints using a biscuit joiner.
A biscuit joiner (also known as a plate joiner) cuts half-oval slots in mating workpieces; then you glue in a football-shaped "biscuit" and clamp the joint tightly. (Common biscuit sizes are shown at left.) Biscuits add strength to joints and assist you in aligning workpieces. Here's how to set up a joiner to cut a typical joint.
Mark biscuit-slot locations across the joint between two boards you want to join. Mark the first board, then transfer to the second.
Set the plunge-depth adjuster to match the biscuit size. For maximum strength, use the largest biscuit that fits your joint.
Line up the slot-centering marks with your layout line. (Similar markings are on the base's bottom for using it vertically.)
Typically, you'll center the slot in the wood. The joiner's base, when sitting on a flat surface, is preset to center the cut in 3/4"-thick stock.
Finally, grip the joiner by the bale and the barrel (or handle), engage the power switch, and plunge the blade into the wood.
After you've cut mating slots in your workpieces, add glue and biscuits and clamp the joint.