Corded vs Cordless Biscuit Joiner
Most biscuit joiners available in the market today are corded models. If you want a joiner that packs more power, can cut through even the toughest material, and doesn’t run out of juice as long as there’s a power source nearby, then it makes perfect sense to purchase a corded model.
But that doesn’t mean that corded biscuit joiners don’t have disadvantages. If you have a corded tool, you always need to make sure that the jobsite you’re heading to has an available power outlet. If you do your work mainly in your own workshop or garage, you have to make sure that your workbench and your tool are always located near a power source.
Being tethered to an electrical outlet can limit your movement. You also have to make sure to get the cord out of the way as you work so as not to cut through it, trip, or tangle yourself in it.
If you don’t want your movement in the jobsite limited by a cord, then a cordless biscuit joiner is a good choice. You can cut slots in areas in the jobsite that are too far from the wall outlet, and you don’t have to worry about tripping or getting tangled in a cord. Cordless biscuit joiners are more compact than their corded counterparts, and thus are easier to store inside cabinets or drawers in your workshop.
But always keep your battery fully charged before you head out to work when you have a cordless biscuit joiner. Or better yet, always carry spare batteries so you’ll never run out of juice.
Plate Joiner Fence
One of the most important aspects of a biscuit joiner is its fence, and the first thing you should check is how its height and angle are adjusted. The rack-and-pinion system is the most common fence height adjustment system. To adjust the cut height, simply turn the knob located at the top or side of the fence and lock it in place using a locking lever or knob.
The fence’s angle is adjusted using the knob located on the angle scale. Some angle scales have positive stops in commonly used angles (0°, 45°, and 90°) to make them faster to adjust. The fence’s angle typically ranges from 0° to 90°, but there are exceptions. This Porter Cable biscuit joiner, for example, can be tilted up to 135°, allowing you to easily cut grooves for miter joints.
Most importantly, make sure that the scales of your chosen biscuit joiner are accurate and that there’s no ‘play’ or movement in the fence to get more precise cuts.
The most common biscuit joiner handle is the barrel type. With the barrel type handle, the user holds the end of the tool’s body while the plate joiner is in operation. You can either have a better grip on the tool by holding the handle near the fence or by holding the tip of the fence itself. The power switch is either positioned on the side or the underside of the body.
Another type of biscuit joiner handle is the D-handle. The Ryobi JM83K-AC and this Craftsman 17539 6 Corded Plate Joiner, for example, have D-handles. With this type of handle, the trigger is located inside the handle itself, making it easy-to-reach. You can also hold the top of the handle to get a better grip of the tool during operation.
Plate joiners with D-handles are rare as barrel types remain popular. Choose whichever handle is comfortable for you.
If you want to cut standard biscuit grooves, then choose a joiner that can accommodate 4″ blades. But there are joiners in the market that can also accommodate 2″ blades, so choose this one if you want more versatility.
If you’re new to woodworking and want to know how to use a biscuit joiner, then check out this video for a quick primer on this tool.