How to make a biscuit joint is one of the most fundamental things you must learn in the art of woodworking. Biscuit joints are very easy to do if you have the right kind of tools laying around your garage or workshop. It involves attaching boards together by their edges in order to come up with a wider plank or slab of wood without the need for screws and splicing techniques.
This basic type of joint is ideal for making furniture, tabletops, and cabinets. Another reason why biscuit joints are one of the most popular projects in woodworking is that it can be crafted out of all kinds of wood, given that these are in sheet form. For solid wood fabrication, biscuit joints can be a good replacement for mortise and tenon joints.
If you want to create your own woodworking station or home workshop, the tools for making a biscuit joint are a must-buy! In this article, we will be teaching you the steps on how to make a biscuit joint for whatever application you need it for.
Advantages Of Using Biscuit Joints
Easy to Make
Biscuit joints are some of the quickest and easiest woodworking projects you can do in a small workshop. You only have to measure once, and you’re good to go with the next steps. Just make sure you have a handy plate/biscuit joiner around.
Biscuit joints are suitable for thinner to medium-sized lumber thickness, and can be applied to pretty much all kinds of woodworking projects. You can go for single row biscuits or double rows for added support in thicker materials.
The biscuits are commonly made of compressed wood composed of beech shavings or something similar depending on its supplier. When a biscuit is first placed into the biscuit slot, you’ll find a bit of a space allowance going on. This is because it actually expands inside the hole when it comes in contact with the carpenter’s glue. This makes the joint stronger and more stable.
What Biscuit Size Should I Use?
Before we proceed with the different types of biscuits, let us first learn about its different sizes. Generally, the bigger the biscuit size, the more strength and durability it provides. So if you’re working with thicker boards or lumber, you may want to get the largest biscuit size possible. Meanwhile for smaller projects that make use of narrower boards, smaller biscuits are deemed fitting.
You can refer the detail biscuit size from this resource en.wikipedia.org
Types Of Biscuit Joints
There are several types of biscuit joints that you can apply in your woodworking projects. Let us go over them in closer detail.
Edge to Edge Joints
These joints are made by taking two boards or pieces of lumber together and securing them together into a single wider plank. It’s very important to get the biscuit size right for this application. Otherwise, the two boards may drift apart due to loose biscuit arrangements. This is often done with a boards of similar thickness.
Biscuit Reinforced Butt Joints
Commonly used in frame and carcase construction, biscuit reinforced butt joints are made by matching the edges of two boards to form a corner. These are used in most woodworking projects–from table tops and legs, to shelving, cabinets, and partitions. Biscuits provide butt joints added strength and durability.
A miter joint can be used to mask the board’s end grain. While it is weaker than a biscuit reinforced butt joint, it essentially works the same way. These joints are usually cut at a 45 degree angle and secured at a 90-degree corner. These are usually used for window and door trimmings, picture frames, and storage openings.
As the name suggests, T-Joints are those that are literally cut to a T. This is done by laying two wooden boards together in a T-shape, marking the biscuit slot centers, cutting these out with the help of a handy biscuit joiner, and finally joining them together using biscuits of appropriate size.
How To Make A Biscuit Joint
What You Will Need
- Compile all your tools and materials needed in making your biscuit joints. For a smooth operation, you may want to use a nice, flat and sturdy workbench.
- Choose lumber of the same thickness and density. If you have different-sized lumber, use a power plane to smoothen the edges and trim the excess wood. You can also laminate these together given that you only need one side to be visible.
- Arrange and trim the boards as needed in order for their edges to fit perfectly. If you want a beaded look, you can go for a rounded edge as seen in nominal lumber.
- Mark where the biscuits will be glued and sandwiched by the boards. The thinner the lumber, the shorter the spaces should be. The spaces between the biscuits correspond to how strong you want your finished plank to be. 12-inch biscuit spacing is ideal for 1-inch nominal lumber. Meanwhile, 16-18 inches spacing works best with 2-inch nominal lumber.
- Set your plate joiner’s depth of cut. Bear in mind that this should match the size of your biscuit/s. Arrange the joints at the middle part of the board’s edge if you want single row biscuits. If you want to achieve double row biscuits for extra strength, cut ⅓ of the board’s thickness for each row.
- Use the properly set plate joiner to cut biscuit slots. Keep the lumber in place using a clamp or simply hold it tightly against the push of the plate joiner’s blade.
- Once you’ve carved out your biscuit slots with the power tool, remove any sawdust or debris.
- Add premium carpenter’s glue/wood glue into about ¼ of the biscuit slot, and then place your pre-cut biscuit inside. Remove any excess glue that will run over to the board’s edges, as this could interfere with the staining process later on.
- Using a regular brush, spread an even amount of glue along the edges of the two boards. Fill ¼ of the remaining biscuit slots with glue.
- Align the boards and secure them tightly with a clam to let the glue dry.
- Plane or sand the finished product when it has finished drying.
Helpful Tips When Making A Biscuit Joint
- Wear protective gear before making any type of biscuit joint. You can never be too careful when dealing with power tools.
- Keep your pre-cut biscuits dry when these are in storage. Remember that these biscuits swell when they come in contact with moisture.
- For the best results, use high-quality carpenter’s glue.
- Always choose the right sized biscuit for whatever biscuit joint application.
- Keep your workbench and workshop clean and well-lit to avoid making mistakes.
That’s it for our comprehensive biscuit joint tutorial. We bet you’re dashing to your local hardware store now to get your own biscuit joiner and pre-cut biscuits. Knowing how to make a biscuit joint sure is handy when you go into the art of woodworking.
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