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Biscuit Jointing Jig

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ijam

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I'm feeling encouraged by the "Where is everyone?" thread, so here is a jig I cobbled together to biscuit joint battens onto the bottom of some saggy chipboard shelves.

I'm not sure that this deserves the word "jig".... :)



As you can see, the biscuit jointer is fixed in position. The piece of plywood clamped to the front leaves a shallow channel (A) between it and the fence the biscuit jointer sits on - this is sized to be slightly larger than the thickness of my shelves, allowing them to be slid past standing on edge.

Obviously the biscuit jointer is elevated in order to place the slots where I wanted them - at approximately the middle of the shelf.

The stop block (B) ensures that all the cuts are made at the same place. I used four size 0 biscuits per shelf, meaning a total of 192 cuts were needed. Using a stop block lets me make each set of cuts in turn, without any measuring.

So after cutting the first slot in all the pieces, the stop block was moved further to the right to make the second, third and fourth cuts in turn.

The other piece of wood (C) is used when cutting the slots for the battens. I wanted to be able to cut these at the same time as the shelves (without moving the stop block) to ensure that all the slots line up. Of course this meant I needed to raise the battens up off the table to align correctly with the biscuit jointer, and that's where this piece comes in. An extra strip of wood is screwed to the top for the battens to register against.

Here is that block in position:



Making the first cut in a shelf:



Some of the battens and shelves after making the first cut:



Making a second cut to a batten:



After a fair bit of biscuit slot cutting, and a few pauses to let the biscuit jointer cool down, I was ready to glue it all together. I used my recently purchased biscuit glue dispenser from Axminster (the cheapy version not a Dosicol). I was not impressed - it worked OK if you moved it through the slot, but was not any real improvement over my previous use of a fine nozzled glue bottle.



I didn't clamp them up - instead I stacked them all on top of each other and added some weight on top. I'll see tomorrow if that worked... :?

Finally, my Dyson vacuum happened to fit over the dust port of the biscuit jointer with only a little gap and this worked very well, picking up all the dust. Who would have thought you could get this much sawdust from cutting itsy-bitsy biscuit holes.... :shock:



:D

What would I do differently next time? I think this worked very well, so I might trying drilling a couple of holes through the biscuit jointer's base plate and making a more sophisticated fence I can bolt it to securely.

I would also be more careful not to let go of a batten a second too early, launching it across the kitchen to crack the facia of my washing machine... :oops:

ciao


Ian
 

Philly

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Nice one Ian
A jig is anything that helps you work quicker, easier and safer (in my book!) and that definitely is a jig! Well done!
Bet the Missus was happy with you using the Dyson? :wink:
Cheers
Philly :D
 

Adam

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Looks like a good setup. Like you say - it's amazing how much dust/chippings a biscuit jointer makers. I've given up using mine without the vacuum - even when I've only got "just a couple of cuts" to do.

Adam
 

Mcluma

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Ian that looks like a good job, but which glue did you use,

I used the polyurithan glue rather then the yellow glue, as the firs will also adhere perfect to the laminated surface,

I have noticed that if I use the yellow glue it will break the joint on the laminated surface and only glues the biscuts part.

Just as a small not

PS i have been using the polyurithan glue a whole lot more lately, as this is a much stronger glue than the yellow glue

and more important the drying time of 10min is perfect,

I never find the time to glue-up then put it aside for a day and then pick it up to continue

I like to glue (with clamps) then coffee (10mins break or toilet use due to the heavy coffee intake) back out to the workshop and continue the work

And the polyurithan glue is perfect
 

ijam

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Thanks guys - I honestly thought this sort of DIY job would be beneath your interest.

Philly":2mexkn28 said:
Bet the Missus was happy with you using the Dyson? :wink:
Ah, no missus - hence the kitchen workshop. My girlfriend does occasionally complain about barking her shins on things or not being able to get to the fridge though... :roll:

ciao

Ian
 

ijam

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Mcluma":3otkhn52 said:
I used the polyurithan glue rather then the yellow glue, as the firs will also adhere perfect to the laminated surface,

I have noticed that if I use the yellow glue it will break the joint on the laminated surface and only glues the biscuts part.
Yes, I used normal PVA - dirt cheap PVA from ScrewFix in fact. I didn't even consider gluing along the whole length and only applied glue to the biscuit slots.

Thanks for the tip - I'll try the polyurethane next time (I haven't unstacked this lot yet - might need that poly soon :shock: )

cheers

Ian
 

Aragorn

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Good job Ian - thanks for posting. Biscuit jointing is tedious at the best of times, and that setup must have saved you hours!

Mcluma":19ebru6a said:
I have been using the polyurithan glue a whole lot more lately, as this is a much stronger glue than the yellow glue and more important the drying time of 10min is perfect,
I never find the time to glue-up then put it aside for a day and then pick it up to continue
Fair enough Mcluma, but a couple of thoughts if you don't mind. Polyurethane glue isn't stronger than wood glue (PVA) when the wood glue is used as intended.
The foaming of a poly glue can be really hard to completely clean up, and it does not accept a finish well. It can ruin the look of joints that would be equally as strong with PVA based glues.
PVA-based glues do not need to be clamped up overnight. 30 minutes is fine. I regularly leave mine for much less than this and the joints are incredibly strong. Evo-Stick, for example only needs 20 mins. I currently use a PVA wood glue by Everbuild which has the advantage of actually being waterproof (as opposed to weatherproof) and it sets in 10 minutes. In this respect, a poly glue doesn't really offer any advantage.

Gosh - hope that doesn't sound like I'm getting at you! :shock:
 

Mcluma

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Your right about cleaning up, but I know that the Poly, has a much stronger bonding on smooth surfaces (non porous), and can also glue plastic to laminate, which you cannot do with a pva glue

If it is wood to wood, and i can put fixings in to hold the wood in place i would stay with PVA, that for sure, but for large fixings (when I put my decking down, I just joist hangers and Poly glue for the supporting joist. as it expanding, and waterproof, and a good sealant

IJam
I also bought the glue from Screwfix, bought lots of them,
 

Taffy Turner

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I have always been a bit wary of using Polyurethane glue on biscuit joints, as I thought the whole point of biscuits was that the water in the PVA glue causes them to swell, making the joint nice and tight.

As Polyurethane doesn't contain any water (it is the presence of water that causes it to cure), surely this would mean that the biscuits don't swell up and consequently don't do what they were designed to do?

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
 

Mcluma

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Aha, very well noticed Taffy,

But Polyurithan glue is GAP filling and EXPANDS, so, it takes the expanding away from the biscut, but the glue does then the expanding,

Sometimes, I use both, the PVA for the biscuts and Poly for the remaining

As long as it sticks he :wink:

McLuma
 

Alf

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Taffy, I wondered the same thing. Sort of defeats the point of using biscuits I'd have thought.

Ian, what an excellent solution to what would otherwise have been a really, really tedious job. Funny how seldom you see ways to take the work to the tool with the biscuit jointer when every other power tool seems to be regularly held in a jig or whathaveyou. Maybe I'm not reading the right books? :)

Cheers, Alf
 

tim

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I've given up using mine without the vacuum - even when I've only got "just a couple of cuts" to do.
Agree with you there Adam - made 5 cuts on a piece yesterday on a piece - dust everywhere :(

Ian - good jig - although I would not be tempted to drill the machine face yet - you will have much more adjustability using clamps. Unless you tap the support material as well there is a danger that any misalignment when screwing down the jointer will create inherent inaccuracies.

Re cheap glue bottle - I have that one too - I find it alright if I use Titebond nothing else flows well enough - also don't push it all the way in to the slot - which i did when I first got it - forgetting that the curve of the slot matches the curve of the applicator, thereby acting as a lid. :oops:

Taffy - hadn't thought about the biscuit/ water thing - I imagine you are right - makes total sense. I always spray water onto the biscuits/ one surface when using poly however humid the conditions.

I use both poly and PVA depending on how I feel. I have seen quite a few negative comments re poly on US fora where total joint failure has occured. The danger with poly is the assumption that if it is foaming out of the joint then its a tight fit, but 'as every fule no' the foam has no strength.


Cheers

Tim
 

Newbie_Neil

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Hi Aragorn

Aragorn":1xe04cws said:
I currently use a PVA wood glue by Everbuild which has the advantage of actually being waterproof (as opposed to weatherproof) and it sets in 10 minutes. In this respect, a poly glue doesn't really offer any advantage.
Thanks for the Everbuild tip. I must give it a try.

Thanks
Neil
 

Aragorn

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Mcluma":zbrxmvh1 said:
But Polyurithan glue is GAP filling and EXPANDS
But it's worth noting also Mcluma that the expanded foam has no adhesive strength.
For gap filling with adhesive strength go for a construction adhesive like no-nails or gripfill. These will stick practically anything to anything else!


EDIT: Sorry Tim, just saw you'd already mentioned about the foam
 
A

Anonymous

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Nice Jig Ian ( I like jigs!!). I like the oven in your workshop too, very flash :lol:
 

DaveL

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Ian,

Good work on the jig front, the thread has lead to lots of extra info coming out about different glues, well done. :D
 

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