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Biscuit joints with a Router – how?

Discussion in 'Wood / Woodwork / Carpentry' started by bolst3r, 17 May 2010.

  1. bolst3r

    bolst3r

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    Hi,

    I'm new to all this wood work but successfully cut some decor ends and doors with a router a few weeks ago and now i'm looking at my next project but I need some advice.

    I want to create some 'L' shaped shelving for my larder and need to join the corners and figured biscuits were the way to go. Thing is I have a router and a few bits so was wondering how I use the router to do these types of joints as all I've done to date is cut solid boards down to length with the router sat flat on the piece of wood i'm cutting.

    If someone could explain how to use a router to make these types of joints I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks.
     
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  3. ToolbeltDandy

    ToolbeltDandy

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    I did it once and just ended up with a lot crumbs. Mother said I should have used custard creams instead of digestives, but I wouldn't listening to her if I were you.

    There's a youtube video of an angry Scotsman using a router upside down in a JimmyJig (a weird old workbench thing):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cirkp6QByYk

    You'll need a biscuit cutter attachment for your router and a router table. I don't think you should try to do it freehand. If you used a router table, I think you'd be moving the wood and not the router (with the JimmyJig, you can do either). I don't know for sure, 'cause I don't own a router table.
     
  4. bolst3r

    bolst3r

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    blimey, that means getting a bench, was hoping I could do all this with a router and workmate. Surely a biscuit joiner is the easier route, just wanted to avoid having to buy more kit.
     
  5. ToolbeltDandy

    ToolbeltDandy

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    Maybe you could fashion some manner of holding the router in the workmate without compromising safety? There are also guides on the internet for constructing your own router table. If that's too much work, perhaps you could achieve sufficient strength using many dowel joints? Also, my bottle of Evo Stick woodglue claims to form a joint stronger than the wood itself, suggesting that the would itself would break before the joint would come apart.

    Either way, I'd suggest waiting for advice from others on this forum before making any decisions.
     
  6. Jasonb

    Jasonb

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    If you use one of the bearing guided biscuit cutters in the router it can be done without a router table but you will need to be able to hold the work firmly, a workmate will do. I used this method for a while before I bought a biscuit joiner.

    Jason
     
  7. bolst3r

    bolst3r

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    I might be able to borrow a biscuit joiner off a friend, is it best to do this?
     
  8. squowse

    squowse

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    bearing guided biscuit joint router bit is about £6 or borrow your mate's and try it that way. either way you need to hold the workpiece - cramps and that friction mat stuff are very useful for this and zillions of other jobs.
     
  9. chippy5

    chippy5

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    with a biscuit cutter in the router the cuts in the end grain are easy as their is a large surface to rest the router on. the cuts in the face of the timber are more tricky. try clamping some timber to the back of the work piece to give you some stability take it slow and easy you should be fine. if your going to do a lot of biscuit work i would recommend a biscuit jointer the cheap ones are around £50 (B & Q ) they are worth the money
     
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  11. bolst3r

    bolst3r

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    Some interesting points - thanks everyone. I think this job is made easier by fact that all the joins I'm doing are in the end grain of the timber. Basically I'm joining two horizontal shelves together to form an 'l' shape. So if I'm getting this right, I use the router the same way I did when I cut a decor end down, but instead of pushing the bit vertically down and sweeping across the wood, I set the bit depth to half the timber thickness and push into the end of each shelve? Guess it would make sense to make a right nagke guide to clamp to each shelve that way I can push the router in to the same place each time?
     
  12. morrik27

    morrik27

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    Cut the two pieces of the shelves to size. Then dry clamp, or hold them together the way they'll be jointed.
    Once together mark a pencil line acrocc BOTH pieces, where you want the biscuits to be.
    Set a bearing guided biscuit bit in the router to the depth so that it's roughly in the middle of the thin edge of one of the poieces, then route the slots.
    On the piece that you need run the router along it's edge (i'e the pice where the slots are one the face, rather than the edge, clamp a piece of baton along the other side to give a wider bace to run the router.

    All this can be done on a workmate, with a couple of clamps. no need for amate or anything fancy, as you'll only be making short slots no running along the whole edge/face. so you can cut one, and reposion the clamps if needed.

    The most important thing is to keep the cutter at the same height for all cuts, if the cutter isn't completely central it's not a big bother, just work out which side to run the outer along. once you've done a couple of trial runs first you'll soon see how easy it is! Good luck, and enjoy!
     
  13. bolst3r

    bolst3r

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    thanks, that makes perfect sense, luckily all my cuts are along the edges so it should be a bit easier.

    Might cut a long channel in each end which will hold several of the biscuits then I don't need to be to accurate apart from the depth like you said. Once done I will clamp the shelves together whilst the glue dries.

    Is Evo stick ok to use?
     
  14. morrik27

    morrik27

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    Evo would be fine, running a slot along the ends would be to. Just remember to stop it short of the face!
    Personally I'd go for short slots, that way you maximise gluing surface on the join. Just mark big lines for the d'être of each biscuit to line them up, and short lines to mark the start/stop of each slot, using a biscuit to give you distances!
    Or run a slot along the legth and fit some 4mm ply along the whole length as a loose tongue
     
  15. bolst3r

    bolst3r

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    interesting 'loose tongue', sounds a good idea, I guess the only draw back is i'll have to cut pieces of play the right width/size first and unlike biscuits it wont swell.

    Seems like there are lots of methods – quite looking forward to my first woodwork adventure!!!!!
     
  16. morrik27

    morrik27

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    For long lengths it can sometimes be quicker to run a groove, and rip some 4mm ply, it’s actually very quick to put a fence on a Circ saw and cut a few strips, I keep a few long lengths cut down to hand, (very handy for making guides for large radius curves, if held between three pins!!)
    Also you can cut the widths the same as 0,10, an d20 size biscuits, then just cut to length as required.
    They don’t swell up like the compressed beach biscuits, but they’re much cheaper, and if you use the foaming polyurethane glues, like joiners mate from Dow corning, you get areally good joint. Just have some acetone handy (about a quid for a small bottle in boots or local chemists, as water wont wipe it off like with a PVA glue.
     
  17. bolst3r

    bolst3r

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    thanks, that all makes perfect sense – really appreciate your time.
     
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