Graphical Construction Glossary >> Woodwork. >> Power Tools >> Biscuit Jointer

Biscuit Jointer
A relation of the small angle grinders, this tool with it's purpose made saw bed and adjustable frame is used in fine joinery work for producing what in effect are mortise joints with loose tenons called biscuits or plates. So, also called a plate jointer.

Lamello Top biscuit jointer
One of the original Lamello Top biscuit joiners

As far as I know Lamello invented these machines, they were the first and there are many more other manufacturers making them now. When I bought my old Lamello Top above it was considered a very expensive machine for such a small item. So why did cabinet makers all over the word buy them?

This is a tool that has made the modern frameless cabinet easy to build. The use of MDF sheets with or without melamine faces changed cabinetmaking forever. The change from building cabinets with a wooden frame with plywood or panel inserts required quite a few innovations.

It needed new hinge systems and other hardware and it needed a good way of joining the sheets. The biscuit jointer does just that.

This jointing system is accurate and the assembled joints are perfect, but unlike systems that use dowel joints there is a sideways tolerance built in. There is no need for absolute accuracy across the depth of the panel. This makes for faster machining and faster assembly

The blade extended
The blade extended

The blade is TCT and it is exactly the right thickness to suit the biscuits. The biscuits are mass produced out of a very dense composite wood fibre. They are strong and take to glue well.
Note that the face of the machine has a couple of small points. These are to stop any tendency for it to slide sideways.

The normal position for the blade is retracted and the operation is to place the machine in position and then press on the body slowly and the cutter moves into the work

A biscuit join

From the photo above it can be seen that the machine makes a slot in the shape of a segment of a circle. When the machine is set correctly it makes a wider cut than the biscuit is long making it possible to move and adjust the alignment of the faces of the panels as they are being assembled.

A new Lamello jointer
A new Lamello To biscuit jointer
Photo thanks to Wikimedia Commons, User: Chri4zno

The system is well thought out and there are many possible adjustments that can be made for the position and type of joint and also the thickness of the board. All the modern jointers have similar specifications. Here are the main ones:-

  • Various depth settings for #0, #10, #20 biscuits
  • An extra wide blade available, 110mm gives a 25mm depth of cut making it very useful for non=cabinet work such as cutting down doors in-situ and the same with skirting boards. This fact alone could make it a must have tool for ceramic tilers.
  • No Load Speed of 11,000rpm
  • Normal accessories like an angle guide, dust bag, spanner and carry case.

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
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