Monday, February 05, 2018

Biscuit Joiner and Flat Head Syndrome

If you need to make some quick and dirty sheet good cabinets there isn't a much quicker way than either pocket screws or a biscuit joiner. I've both kinds of cabinets in my shop. I've always felt my shop furniture was there to function, not to show off my skills. And either pocket screws or a biscuit joiner will get you functional cabinets very quickly.

Pocket screws, not the pocket screw system, I use all the time in the shop. They are good self tapping screws. The biscuit joiner is pretty useless and just sits there taking space and collecting dust. At least that was the case before I had my latest bout of flat head syndrome.

A little back story. Up until recently I've always made wood cleats to attach table top to base. They are cheep to make, just a little scrap wood, and I think look good good. Not that anyone other than another woodworker would look at 'em. The only problem with using them is they are a little labor intensive with the making of the cleats and chopping the required mortises. Even that is not a big problem, I'm not a production shop, I build furniture because I enjoy the process but a month or so ago I needed to ship a table with the top off and I was afraid the skill level and knowledge of the receiver might not be up to attaching the top with wood cleats. I remembered "Z" clips do the same thing as the wood cleats and were pretty much a no brainer to install.

I made the required saw kerf with the Table saw and sent the table off with a package of "Z" clips. It must have worked because I received no complaints. The only problem was I wasn't real comfortable with the full length saw kerf down the table's aprons. Now comes the flat head syndrome: Shortly after sending the table off I noticed the biscuit joiner sitting on a high shelf gathering dust and thought "self, why not use the biscuit joiner to make the saw kerf".

Of course I did the usual back patting and fist pumping thinking I was brilliant and had discovered something new. Of course, wrong sawdust breath, as usual I'm the last to know, I've spent most of my life riding in the short bus and this was just one more time.

BTW, a biscuit joiner makes a really quick, easy, and strong way to use "Z" clips for attaching a table top.



  1. Hum, my biscuit joiner has been gathering dust since we left YBG in 2011, used it for 2 jobs, then put away. Always made and used wood cleats also, but these Z clips are sure faster and you could put more of them, easier faster. Will have to give that a try next time.

    Bob, who knew i kept that gismo around for a good reason :-)

  2. Bob,

    About the same here. I had to blow a lot of dust off to use it. Even though I'm a OF sometimes I can learn something new.