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Biscuit Joinery Techniques
23-4. Mark centerlines on both pieces of stock to
assure proper alignment.
Joints- The only marking normally required for biscuit
joinery is to indicate the centerline for each biscuit's location.
These markings are usually made on the back side of the stock
and may be made with a square (Figure
23-4) or freehand. Marked centerlines are then aligned
with the engraved centerline on the biscuit joiner guide while
quill and worktable adjustments are then used to control the
biscuit's vertical position. Figure
23-5 shows typical markings for various types of joints.
23-5. Here you see typical centerline markings for
various types of joints.
Adjustments and Cuts- After mounting the biscuit joiner
on the Mark V (Figure
23-6) and establishing a basic setup as shown in the biscuit
joiner Owners Manual, several adjustments must be made before
using the accessory. These basic procedures apply to all types
of joints, so review these steps before each biscuit joiner
23-6. Attach the biscuit joiner to the quill and
tighten the housing collar capscrew. Don't forget to
tighten the setscrew which holds the blade arbor to
by selecting the size biscuit you will be using and set the
depth-of-cut accordingly. This is done by unplugging the Mark
V and compressing the spring-loaded guide until the desired
grooves on the guide rods are even with the biscuit joiner
housing. The three grooves in the guide rods indicate the
correct settings for #0, #10 and #20 biscuits respectively.
23-7. Adjust the depth-of-cut setscrews to match
the biscuit size being used.
both depth stop setscrews (Figure
23-7), so that the guide cannot retract beyond the desired
the two pins in the guide face and lock them firmly in place
These pins provide important kickback protection and should
penetrate about 1/32" in hard woods and 1/16" into softer
23-8. Adjust and lock pins to engage work during
the Mark V Model 510, position the worktable so the face of
the biscuit joiner guide is above the table insert (Figure
23-6). This will keep the leading edge of the stock from
interfering with the ribs in the worktable surface.
adjust the height of the biscuit joiner. Press the stock against
the joiner fence until the blade is visible and adjust the
quill until the blade is at the desired height (Figure
23-9). Normally the biscuit location will be about midway
the top and bottom, but higher or lower positions may occasionally
23-9. Use the quill adjustment to position blade
for cut. Allow clearance between biscuit joiner and
important factor is that the cuts be at the same height on
both pieces of stock. When making these adjustments, the quill
should not be extended more than 3" and be sure to allow clearance
between the biscuit joiner arbor and the worktable in order
to prevent damage to the table surface. After all adjustments
have been made, turn on the Mark V and set the correct speed.
Guide the workpiece with your left hand until the biscuit
centerline mark on the stock is aligned with the engraved
centerline on the biscuit joiner guide. With a push block
23-10. Align biscuit centerline with joiner guide
and use a push block in your right hadn when feeding
23-10), press the stock slowly against the guide, compressing
the springs until the guide reaches the depth stops... then
retract the stock. Repeat this procedure for each cut on both
pieces of stock before changing the setup or height adjustment.
Construction- Panel construction or edge-to-edge joinery
is one of the most common woodworking operations. For best
results, place the boards face down next to each other and
mark biscuit centerlines on the back side. Then cut the biscuit
slots and assemble the boards in this face-down position to
help assure a flat, smooth final surface.
allow one biscuit for each foot of length in an edge-to-edge
joint, with a minimum of three biscuits. Space the biscuits
evenly and position the end biscuits at least 3" from the
ends of the boards so the boards will engage both of the pins
in the guide when the biscuit slots are cut.
23-11. On stock more than 1" thick, two biscuits
may be used for added strength.
Grain and High Stress Joints- Because of the wood's high
porosity, end grain joints--such as T-Frame, L-Frame or End
Butt--are almost impossible to make with glue alone. Using
biscuits will strengthen these joints because the biscuits
are glued face-grain-to-face-grain.
results, use the largest biscuit available that will allow
at least 1/4" of stock at each end of the biscuit slots. On
wide joints, such as a T-shelf, use multiple biscuits, allowing
as little as 1/2" between biscuit slots.
over 1" thick--especially on high stress joints such as a
table leg and skirt--two or more rows of biscuits may be used
for added strength (Figure
23-12. When joining stock of different thicknesses
a shim may be used to eliminate adjustments and assure
stock of different thicknesses-such as a 1" thick skirt being
joined to a 2" square table leg-a thin piece of scrap wood
or hardboard can be used as a shim (Figure
23-12) to eliminate the need to make quill adjustments
for each thickness. This assures that the setback will be
exactly the same on all joints and that the biscuit slots
will be aligned correctly for easy assembly.
23-13. If the stock does not engage both pins, use
your miter gauge to maintain control of the workpiece.
and Narrow Stock- Workpieces less than 6" in width or
length must be handled with special care because the pins
in the joiner guide will not engage the stock and a kickback
or injury is possible. For these cuts, align the centerlines
and lock the miter gauge into the worktable to serve as a
guide and stop. Hold the workpiece against the miter gauge
face and advance it slowly and firmly into the biscuit joiner
are making multiple matching components--such as door frames
or rails and stiles for a cabinet front--you can make the
setup once and cut all biscuit slots quickly and accurately.
23-14. Use your miter gauge to hold and advance
the stock on mitered cuts. Do not slide the stock across
the miter gauge face.
Joints- For corner miters, mount the biscuit joiner so
that it faces the front of the Mark V with the guide perpendicular
to the miter gauge slots (Figure
23-14). Adjust the worktable so one of the miter gauge
slots is under the biscuit joiner and the quill is extended
3" to avoid interference between the safety grip and the Mark
V's powerplant. Set your miter gauge to 45° (or to match
the angle of the miter), place your workpiece against the
miter gauge with the centerlines aligned, and adjust the safety
grip to hold the stock securely.
cuts by advancing the miter gauge and stock into the cut together.
Do not slide the stock across the miter gauge and into the
biscuit joiner as this will not produce an accurate cut. A
piece of coarse sandpaper may also be attached to the surface
of the biscuit joiner guide to keep the stock from creeping
during the cut.
23-15. When working with large stock, mount the
biscuit joiner diagonally for maximum support of the
Cuts in Wide Stock- Working with large or wide stock is
similar to other edge joining operations, but additional support
must be used to give the operator control of the stock for
accuracy and safety. This is achieved by mounting the biscuit
joiner diagonally, at about a 30° to 50° angle to the miter
gauge slots (Figure
23-15). With the Model 510, check your setup to be sure
the table height crank doesn't interfere with the stock.
support is needed, use the extension table system
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