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Quick Biccy Jointer question

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StevieB

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OK, never having used a biccy jointer, I suddenly find the need for one in a hurry to hold the mitres on some window cills in a conservatory before the plasterer comes to make my walls nice and flat. I could of course hire one as SWMBO suggests, but why pass up the opportunity to add to my collection of tailed demons, it will surely be worth it in the long run :twisted:

Anyways, the quick question is, will a cheap Ferm from screwfix be accurate, or should I go for the Freud JS100/102 or Trend TK20. I have read Gideons review of the Freud, and the Trend reviews from the Trend website (isnt it good to find a company that links to reviews of their products even though they are not 100% complimentary!) and have also read the thread on biccy jointer fences and know some of you out there use the Freud and the Ferm.

By accuracy I guess I mean to within half a mm repeatedly. I dont want to have to shave loads of wood off a badly fitting joint to get both cills flush on top, but as my use will be limited I dont want to spend more than I need to in the run up to the festive season (although if the advice is for the Trend/Ferm it will problably have to be my christmas present anyway :roll: )

Cheers for any advice! I am tending towards the Freud/Trend, but cannot decide why. Only other choice is the Axminster white jobbie, but after using an axminster half inch router which the knobs vibrated off I am not sure whether this would be a wise investment or not.

Steve.
 

Noel

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Steve, As someone may have mentioned the current Woodworker has 16 on test. Of course they failed to see that the PC is the best on the market.

Noel
 

Neil

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Hi Steve,

The problem with the Ferm is that the quality control seems to be so bad, so there are a very high proportion of lemons out there. I was lucky in two ways - I got one for £25 (I think they are back up to £40 now) and I got a fairly good example. Having said that, I would still love to change it for a PC or Makita eventually.

If you venture into Christmas present territory, how about the DeWalt? I can hardly believe I'm recommending that you check it out as I'm not a big fan of the yellow stuff, but it is well thought of, and I prefer its fence design to the Lamello-style.

DM have it for £169 including 1000 biscuits, which looks a bargain when you consider that the Toolshopdirect price is £239 :shock:

NeilCFD
 

Taffy Turner

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The test in The Woodworker recomended the DeWalt one.

The Lamello came out as "best on test", but what a price!!!! :shock:

I think that the DW one was "Editor's choice" or something similar.

I currently have the Ferm one, which is OK, but not great. I plan to upgrade to the DW when funds allow and a project requires a more accurate biccy location.
 

Waka

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Steve

Go for the PC, you'll never regret the expence.

Waka
 

StevieB

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Thanks peeps, sadly Waka the PC is out of the question at the moment, hence the choice of Ferm or Freud/Trend. I might be able to stretch to the DW if I call in alot of christmas favours, but thats it. Thanks for the heads up on the woodworker comparison Noley, will seek it out this weekend.

Steve.
 

Rattie

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I've got the Ferm from screwfix and of late the PC 'biscuitsabre'. While the PC is a truly awesome bit of kit, the Ferm will do the job and is very adjustable. The only problems I found with it are slightly untrustworthy height adjustment, and the unnerving feeling that everytime I did up the height locking screw it might be the last. The lock lever feels like it might strip on the studding it uses to clamp, but I'm sure it could be replaced quite easily.

If you are biscuiting window cills and can hence keep the fence at the same height for ech joint, then the Ferm is easily up to the job, as will any of the machines you mention.

Enjoy the biscuits

Martyn
 

Dewy

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The Ferm is much maligned.
I tried one and the first try resulted in the slots all being at different heights so had to be recut inbetween the originals.
I was using the wrong technique.
I wasn't holding the fence down on the work with my left thumb.
From then on all slots were OK.
The spring loaded plastic nut on the fence angle adjustment soon stripped its thread so I replaced it with an ordinary nut.
Now I just use a spanner when adjusting.
It may not be as good as most others but is OK for occasional use the same as any cheap rubbish. ;)
 

woodburner

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I, too, have a Ferm one, which didn't seem to be capable of cutting any slots repeatably. The adjuster knobs seemed to be made of cheese or chocolate, but once replaced with small nuts the performance has improved enormously. The fence doesn't seem to allow the cutting of slots in the face of a board though.
 

Rattie

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Just a minute woodburner, I don't have the ferm in front of me, but I seem to remember having to take the black plastic fence extension off in order to do slots in a board face. Obviously you want to clamp a straight edge along below the slots so that the bottom face of the machine has some datum to rest on, but other than that its fine. IIRC

Martyn
 

Shady

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Yup, I've got the Ferm, which was bought specifically to see what all this biscuit stuff was about. It'll happily cut in the middle of a board - just take the black plastic job off and throw it away...

I wouldn't trust its adjusters - but I don't on most machinery anyway... With a few sacrificial bits of scrap as stops/position indicators, its worked fine for me. At the price, I bought fully intending to throw the whole thing in the bin if I didn't like it, but it seems to offer the basic functionality of cutting a small slot at a very fair price. I'm happy with it.
 

kityuser

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hum.... way back in the mists of time (when there were only 120 od members :shock: ) I remember cussing the ferm.

My example wouldn`t cut parallel slots to the fence, thus was poo.

I took it back, got the white axminster jobbie and never looked back.

IMO ferm = something you step in, if you want to loose 25 squid give it to charity.


steve
 

Shady

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Possibly a little unfair there Kity.... I got a corded drill of theirs for £5 from screwfix... Still going strong after 2 years, and no problems. Similarly, my drill press is a cheapo of theirs, and has performed fine for over 2 years. I agree that their stuff has few 'refinements', but within limits it all seems useable enough - and at the price, worth a punt...
 

woodshavings

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Hi Steve,
Maybe I've been lucky but have the Ferm mortiser and Biscuit joiner from Screwfix and found them OK. :)
Cheers, John
 

Dewy

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Same here John.
If you use a tool correctly then it usually works OK.
They arent intended for constant use but if you learn how to use them right and take account of any slight errors then the work shouldn't suffer.
My ferm biccy jointer is a lot better since I replaced the plastic sprung nut on the angled fence.
 

StevieB

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Thanks for all the advice, I finally plumped for the Axminster white jointer. Three reasons for this - it was the only proper (ie not in a DIY shed) biscuit jointer I could actually see before I bought it, it was reduced by 10 quid and it came with 500 mixed biscuits free!

Initial impressions are nice and chunky, feels solid in the hand and a firm plunge action. Switch is on the wrong side as I am a lefty but I guess thats to be expected. Easy to select biscuit size by just rotating a wheel and the slots cut looked parallel (I didnt measure them) but the two halves of the joint fitted flush.

On the downside, I was not impressed with the plastic locking levers for the fence. One is already loose and they will probably be replaced with a wing nut and bolt fairly soon. The scale on the fence is cast into the fence itself, but the width of the scale lines and the fact that the fence is locked off on either side means its difficult to be sure you have a perfectly parallel cut. The scale itself also made no sense to me, although I may have been having a blond moment. It bares no resemblence to the distance from the fence to the cut (ie the depth below the surface the slot is made) and I couldnt work out where it was measuring from. In the end I tested on a piece of scrap until I got my slot in the middle of the board, locked the fence off and cut all my slots together. I will admit I havent had a proper play yet to see if I was doing something daft, but it certainly didnt seem blindingly obvious.

As this is the first biscuit jointer I have used I have nothing to compare it to, but the cuts were parallel and accurate, plunge nice and firm but the fence may be a problem with long term repeated use. Overall a nice hobby/light user tool rather than a professional day in day out tool.

Steve.
 
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