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ben2

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Hi

I am about to start a simple project to build some open boxes from MDF. I don't really want to drill and screw them to hold them together as I don't want the joint to show, so was looking for a biscuit jointer.

However I am bewildered by the range. I know you generally get what you pay for, but there seems to be a group around £50-70, Einhill, SIP etc then a big jump to >£200, Makita/DeWalt etc.

Are they that much better to warrant the extra cash? Should I just cut my losses and buy a Domino (will make them expensive boxes..)

Thoughts/opinion welcomed.

Thanks

Mark
 

Eric The Viking

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I've a Makita. I love it.

It's all down to how well the sliding action works and how accurate the markings are, etc.

Some of the cheaper ones (e.g. older Freuds) can only address work at right angles. Most of the better ones have fences you can angle, with click stops for the more common angles. I'd also look at the quality of the plunge mechanism (I have a router that sticks and it's a real pain), and the dust extraction, and the serviceability (can you get parts/things that wear out, easily?).

I used mine for horizontal slotting recently for the first time. It was a long rebate in a rail (about 3'6"), that would have been hard to cut with a router (I don't have a rebating hand plane at the moment). I attacked it from both sides with the biscuit jointer (took the anti-slip piece off first), and it worked a treat - little mess and quick to setup for the task).

I think all the ones in the £200 and upwards group will work well for you, but if you can, try some to see which you prefer. For example the DeWalt style has a pronounced handle at the rear, whereas on mine you hold the motor body. I couldn't say which is better. The newer Lamello ones have a round knob on top, whereas mine is traditional (grab handle). Check they grip tight and don't skid on the work as the blade starts to cut.

There are also some that pivot into the work. I'm not sure what the pros and cons of that are, but I've heard it was originally done to get around Lamello patents. I think it may be less flexible than the more common arrangement.

Hope that helps.

E.

PS: There are loads of professionals on here, who are better informed than me - wait for a more experienced answer, coming soon!
 

Bale

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I bought a cheap biscuit jointer (Freud) for occasional use and have regretted it ever since. Not to put too fine a point on it, it's a piece of cr*p. I've sworn at it for years and now finally broken it. Grit your teeth and buy the best you can afford.

Pete
 

Peter T

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I had a De Walt for many years until I switched to Dominos.

I always found it very accurate and reliable, did everything I wanted to do!

Good luck,
 

mailee

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I had a Ferm biscuit jointer for a few years and thought it was ok but the slots were slightly slack, it did it's job but wasn't perfect. After using an Elu one I saw the difference! :shock: and what a difference! The biscuits had to be pushed firmly into the slots and the joints were very very accurate. I now have a Domino but still use the Elu for Quick and dirty jobs where i need a bit of wiggle room. :D
 

JakeS

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I have a cheapo Draper one that I got second-hand for something like £10; I've never had any problems with it, it produces two sizes of hole (10 and 20; I have no idea what those numbers mean), slides in and out, the biscuits are firm but not difficult to push in (unless you leave glue on the biscuit for too long) and adjacent surfaces line up with each other properly. I've used it for panel jointing, for making box sides, putting together my router 'table' fence... and I'm honestly not sure what I might be missing in more expensive models. I don't suppose any of them have quieter motors? ;-)

(The fence on mine does angle, but I've yet to actually have a use for anything other than 90 degrees, so I can't say how accurate that is. I'm also not sure I'd pay an extra £190 to get an accurate one if it weren't! And obviously as a casual hobby user I'm probably not putting so much strain on it as I would were I a professional biscuitist, I'm sure the Makita would last a lot longer.)
 

Eric The Viking

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The time I used mine with the fence angled, it gave extra support biscuiting a mitred joint. I could probably have done it just against the mitre surface, but it was quite narrow, and wobbling was a distinct possibility. It also gave a reasonable index, although obviously not as good as the benchtop or a batten.

You're right about the motor though - it is noisy, but then it's not on for very long.
 

Eric The Viking

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It's interesting.

One thing I definitely don't recommend is the cutters for router tables. I first started using biscuits that way, and whilst you'd think it's easy, I had a lot of oversize slots because the stock wobbled somehow.

I made a shelf for the bathroom that way out of fairly reasonable pine blocks and painted, but two of those joints sprung over last winter. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find it's because the biscuit slots were sloppy. When I got a proper BJ I was impressed how much tighter the joints were.

Also don't use rubbish biscuits. I had some from Toolstation. I've still using them up slowly - as barbecue firelighters.

E.
 

alan895

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siggy_7":3lg5mytr said:
Doesn't this Clarke one generally get positive reviews, despite what the brand/price combo might lead you to believe? http://www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/product/details/bj600-600w-biscuit-jointer-230v
I bought this model on the strength of the reviews, it wasn't too bad for a first foray into biscuit jointing however my main bug bear with it was I could never get the height adjustment to stay the same no matter how tight I fastened it. One of the first times I used it for was to edge band a plywood work surface with some oak - by the time I had cut all the slots (a dozen or so in each) it was around 4mm lower than when I started with. Every subsequent time I used it I would recheck the height after every other slot I cut which after a lot of patience finally did me in but luckily I was given the opportunity of buying an old Lamello from a friend at a reasonable price and the difference between the two as you'd expect is massive - I would definitely agree with the previous advice of buying the best you can first time because it will save you a lot of aggravation. I wont deny I'd quite like a Domino one day but I'm pretty satisfied at the moment with the Lamello.
 

ben2

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Hi

Thanks for all the replies. I had a good look at the Makita online (inc some of the videos) following some of the comments.

I'll see if I can get to see one at the weekend, rather than buy blind of the web...

Thanks for your help

Mark
 
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