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Posted: 4/28/2009 11:01:03 AM EDT
I'd like to create a new desktop out of 1x4s or 1x6s, basically butting them up against one another. I've got no biscuit joiner, and the only thing I can really think to use to make the joint stronger is to put some cuts in using the table saw. Would the kerf on the saw be a lot more than the standard size slot a biscuit joiner would create?

Anyone ever try something like this? I've currently got a standard, non-carbide tipped blade in the saw, so the kerf would be pretty thin. I assume I could increase the size with carbide teeth, or instead of sawing right in the middle, offset it by 1/8" and just flip the piece over.

Any thoughts?

Thanks
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 11:42:01 AM EDT
Originally Posted By GlockSmack:
I'd like to create a new desktop out of 1x4s or 1x6s, basically butting them up against one another. I've got no biscuit joiner, and the only thing I can really think to use to make the joint stronger is to put some cuts in using the table saw. Would the kerf on the saw be a lot more than the standard size slot a biscuit joiner would create?

Anyone ever try something like this? I've currently got a standard, non-carbide tipped blade in the saw, so the kerf would be pretty thin. I assume I could increase the size with carbide teeth, or instead of sawing right in the middle, offset it by 1/8" and just flip the piece over.

Any thoughts?

Thanks


Putting a spline in will not appreciably incrase the joint strength.

The glue joint is correctly made is stronger then the wood already.

A spline will make glue up easier by preventing the wood from moving as the clamps are tightened.
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 11:54:09 AM EDT
Gotcha, so basically the biscuits just aid in keeping the surface oriented properly, in a manner of speaking. They don't add significant strength to the joint. So as long as I properly glue the seam, and make sure the surfaces are matched up during clamping, I should be ok.

I want to do as little hand planing/sanding as possible, that's why I looked to the biscuit as a help.
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 11:56:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/28/2009 12:00:55 PM EDT by PUBBOY]
Seems like alot of room for mistakes. An actual joiner is designed to keep the slots and biscuits aligned for a nice flat finished surface.

IIRC this is under $100 at Home Depot: http://www.ryobitools.com/catalog/power_tools/biscuit_joiners/JM82K#
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 11:57:23 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/28/2009 12:00:34 PM EDT by PUBBOY]
Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Originally Posted By GlockSmack:
I'd like to create a new desktop out of 1x4s or 1x6s, basically butting them up against one another. I've got no biscuit joiner, and the only thing I can really think to use to make the joint stronger is to put some cuts in using the table saw. Would the kerf on the saw be a lot more than the standard size slot a biscuit joiner would create?

Anyone ever try something like this? I've currently got a standard, non-carbide tipped blade in the saw, so the kerf would be pretty thin. I assume I could increase the size with carbide teeth, or instead of sawing right in the middle, offset it by 1/8" and just flip the piece over.

Any thoughts?

Thanks


Putting a spline in will not appreciably incrase the joint strength.

The glue joint is correctly made is stronger then the wood already.

A spline will make glue up easier by preventing the wood from moving as the clamps are tightened.



Not true.

The biscuit 'swells' in the joint, making a lock between the pieces of wood.

http://woodworking.about.com/od/joinery/p/BiscuitJoinery.htm

Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:06:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/28/2009 12:10:01 PM EDT by GlockSmack]
So it both helps in alignment and strengthens the joint, which I was under the impression it did.

I didn't want to create a whole spline down the center, just  basically drop the wood down every couple of inches, mimic'ing what the biscuit joiner does. I wanted to keep the cost of the project down, and of course, I'd love to get a joiner, but I've been trying to restrain myself on power tool purchases as of late.

Thanks for the links

Edit:
Just saw that Harbor Freight has joiners for $50 or less. Maybe a trip tonight will be in store. It is Chicago Electric, but there ya go.
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:07:16 PM EDT
Biscuit joiners don't cost much,  did you know that?  





But, table saws are ideally designed to throw boards through your skull when you attempt to use them as biscuit joiners.





Safety alone demands that you spend a little money and buy a biscuit joiner, or rent one or borrow one.   Heck, the way things

are these days, the pawn shops are FULL of tools and you can probably pick up a nice one there, for not much money.



I promise you, ANY biscuit joiner costs less than the bill for ANY visit to the emergency room.





CJ






Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:11:24 PM EDT
A good wood glue, applied and cured correctly, will be plenty strong. I second the motion to get a biscuit joiner rather than throw lumber in your face or lose a digit though. The table saw is quick to take advantage of over-familiarity.
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:11:49 PM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
Biscuit joiners don't cost much,  did you know that?  


But, table saws are ideally designed to throw boards through your skull when you attempt to use them as biscuit joiners.


Safety alone demands that you spend a little money and buy a biscuit joiner, or rent one or borrow one.   Heck, the way things
are these days, the pawn shops are FULL of tools and you can probably pick up a nice one there, for not much money.

I promise you, ANY biscuit joiner costs less than the bill for ANY visit to the emergency room.


CJ




Yep.

It's a bad fuggin' idea.

Get a Ryobi joiner, and you'll more than pay for it with projects.

I made my kitchen counters with my joiner out of white pine 2x6's. I made my wife a dinner table, etc, etc, etc.....

Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:13:49 PM EDT
Originally Posted By PUBBOY:
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
Biscuit joiners don't cost much,  did you know that?  


But, table saws are ideally designed to throw boards through your skull when you attempt to use them as biscuit joiners.


Safety alone demands that you spend a little money and buy a biscuit joiner, or rent one or borrow one.   Heck, the way things
are these days, the pawn shops are FULL of tools and you can probably pick up a nice one there, for not much money.

I promise you, ANY biscuit joiner costs less than the bill for ANY visit to the emergency room.


CJ




Yep.

It's a bad fuggin' idea.

Get a Ryobi joiner, and you'll more than pay for it with projects.

I made my kitchen counters with my joiner out of white pine 2x6's. I made my wife a dinner table, etc, etc, etc.....




Where's the pics you wanker?
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:14:52 PM EDT
Haha, I don't think my insurance covers lumber through the skull, so I'll definitely look into getting a joiner rather than risk life and limb. The more I've read about them, the more I see me using it FAR more than just for this desk top!

Thanks for all the info!
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:29:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/28/2009 12:44:45 PM EDT by PUBBOY]
Originally Posted By PBIR:
Originally Posted By PUBBOY:
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
Biscuit joiners don't cost much,  did you know that?  


But, table saws are ideally designed to throw boards through your skull when you attempt to use them as biscuit joiners.


Safety alone demands that you spend a little money and buy a biscuit joiner, or rent one or borrow one.   Heck, the way things
are these days, the pawn shops are FULL of tools and you can probably pick up a nice one there, for not much money.

I promise you, ANY biscuit joiner costs less than the bill for ANY visit to the emergency room.


CJ




Yep.

It's a bad fuggin' idea.

Get a Ryobi joiner, and you'll more than pay for it with projects.

I made my kitchen counters with my joiner out of white pine 2x6's. I made my wife a dinner table, etc, etc, etc.....




Where's the pics you wanker?




The legs were posts from an old bed. The top came from some extra wood I had laying in the barn. Ran it through a planer, cut to thickness, and it was GTG. I used Milk Paint on the legs (black over green then distressed) and used Waterlox on the top as a sealant. I had to make the apron from new material.





Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:32:35 PM EDT
Why don't you cut a slot in each board, and glue/insert a strip of wood in the slots. Same principal as biscuits, but one long strip. You should be able to do that pretty easy with just a table saw.
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:33:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By telephoneman:
Why don't you cut a slot in each board, and glue/insert a strip of wood in the slots. Same principal as biscuits, but one long strip. You should be able to do that pretty easy with just a table saw.


Danger Will Robinson.
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:36:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/28/2009 12:39:05 PM EDT by thebeekeeper1]
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:39:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
Biscuit joiners don't cost much,  did you know that?  


But, table saws are ideally designed to throw boards through your skull when you attempt to use them as biscuit joiners.


Safety alone demands that you spend a little money and buy a biscuit joiner, or rent one or borrow one.   Heck, the way things
are these days, the pawn shops are FULL of tools and you can probably pick up a nice one there, for not much money.

I promise you, ANY biscuit joiner costs less than the bill for ANY visit to the emergency room.


CJ




 Coffee out hte nose when I read that.

+1 to just buying a biscuit joiner.  Tablesaws are just not made to do what you are thinking they can do. I taught woodshop, once upon a time, and I would have put the board through a students skull if he had tried to use the tablesaw for that purpose.

TRG
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:40:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By PUBBOY:


The legs were posts from an old bed. The top came from some extra wood I had laying in the barn. Ran it through a planer, cut to thickness, and it was GTG. I used Milk Paint on the legs (black over green then distressed) and used Waterlox on the top as a sealant. I had to make the apron form new material.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/Pubboy/100_0276-1.jpg

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/Pubboy/100_0273-1.jpg



Nice work!
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:43:46 PM EDT
Originally Posted By PBIR:
Originally Posted By PUBBOY:


The legs were posts from an old bed. The top came from some extra wood I had laying in the barn. Ran it through a planer, cut to thickness, and it was GTG. I used Milk Paint on the legs (black over green then distressed) and used Waterlox on the top as a sealant. I had to make the apron form new material.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/Pubboy/100_0276-1.jpg

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/Pubboy/100_0273-1.jpg



Nice work!




I need to find pix of the kitchen counters. They really came out nice.

Link Posted: 4/28/2009 12:49:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By PUBBOY:
Originally Posted By PBIR:
Originally Posted By PUBBOY:


The legs were posts from an old bed. The top came from some extra wood I had laying in the barn. Ran it through a planer, cut to thickness, and it was GTG. I used Milk Paint on the legs (black over green then distressed) and used Waterlox on the top as a sealant. I had to make the apron form new material.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/Pubboy/100_0276-1.jpg

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/Pubboy/100_0273-1.jpg



Nice work!




I need to find pix of the kitchen counters. They really came out nice.



Please do, my wife is wanting new counter tops, and that might just be the ticket.
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 1:41:33 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GlockSmack:
Originally Posted By PUBBOY:
Originally Posted By PBIR:
Originally Posted By PUBBOY:


The legs were posts from an old bed. The top came from some extra wood I had laying in the barn. Ran it through a planer, cut to thickness, and it was GTG. I used Milk Paint on the legs (black over green then distressed) and used Waterlox on the top as a sealant. I had to make the apron form new material.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/Pubboy/100_0276-1.jpg

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b6/Pubboy/100_0273-1.jpg



Nice work!




I need to find pix of the kitchen counters. They really came out nice.



Please do, my wife is wanting new counter tops, and that might just be the ticket.


IIRC there is less than $200 in materials. It's pine, not the most durable counter-top ever, but for that price, it was within the budget.

Before.



During.





After.  



Other side of the kitchen.





Link Posted: 4/28/2009 1:45:23 PM EDT
Cool. Have you ever thought about covering the ends around the sink with some stock ripped to trim size and rounding over the edges?
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 2:09:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
... table saws are ideally designed to throw boards through your skull when you attempt to use them as biscuit joiner...
CJ


Is this a voice of experience?

I do a little wood work & still have all of my fingers...so far.
Razor

Link Posted: 4/28/2009 2:16:14 PM EDT
Originally Posted By PBIR:
Cool. Have you ever thought about covering the ends around the sink with some stock ripped to trim size and rounding over the edges?


That's actually a good idea.

Wanna open a shop?

Link Posted: 4/28/2009 2:37:51 PM EDT



Originally Posted By 7mm-08:



Originally Posted By cmjohnson:

... table saws are ideally designed to throw boards through your skull when you attempt to use them as biscuit joiner...

CJ





Is this a voice of experience?



I do a little wood work & still have all of my fingers...so far.


Razor









 It's the voice of caution, prudence, common sense, and well-justified paranoia.



I've done more than my fair share of woodworking and have never had an injury worth mentioning

or that left a scar.   I always consider a worst case scenario with any tools, particularly power tools,

and on the very top of the list of tools that must be respected are the table saw, the shaper, the router,

and the chainsaw disk on an angle grinder.



Using a tablesaw as a biscuit joiner would be a big bag of frozen concentrated FAIL.   You don't EVER

advance the blade into the workpiece with a tablesaw,  or start a cut at the top of the blade.  That's INSANE.



I'd rather do much safer things like cut 1 1/4" half round coves in hard maple with a router inverted and

running in a shaper table,  driving a router bit that weighs nearly a POUND, at 22,000 RPM.  And I've done that,

SAFELY,  but it's terrifying to do even though my safety precautions are extreme and include laminating the

workpiece to a maple 4x4 for blast-through protection.



CJ

Link Posted: 4/28/2009 2:59:39 PM EDT
Originally Posted By PUBBOY:
Originally Posted By PBIR:
Cool. Have you ever thought about covering the ends around the sink with some stock ripped to trim size and rounding over the edges?


That's actually a good idea.

Wanna open a shop?



What are we waiting for? Can we take a lunch break at the pub for some mother's milk?
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 5:34:00 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 5:45:05 PM EDT
Gluing long grain to long grain you do not need bisquits for a strong joint.  Norm Abrams uses them all the time, David Marks doesn't.  They are an aid to keeping things straight when clamped, but you can do that with flat weights (bricks).  I'd just glue it.
Link Posted: 4/28/2009 6:32:31 PM EDT
If it is just a desktop, I might just glue and clamp in your situation.  But I would want to make sure the glued edges are jointed properly.  If you don't have a jointer you can use a router and table or a table saw jig to do the jointing.  As mentioned use a counter weight on the surface when clamping to keep things flat.  If you feel you need to mechanically join them, as well as using glue, then you can do a simple tongue and groove using a table saw, and a simple jig, or you could just cut groves in the boards and use splines to join them.  You could also use a router and table (if you have that) and do a mortise and tenon.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 4:51:44 AM EDT
Awesome responses all, thanks for the information.

I'll be picking up the wood today or tomorrow and will assess how well the boards match up, depending on that, I'll decide on how to join them. I do have a router and an el-cheap Craftsman router table I assume a straight-cut bit would do the trick to straighten the sides.
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 9:05:45 AM EDT
Originally Posted By PUBBOY:
Originally Posted By telephoneman:
Why don't you cut a slot in each board, and glue/insert a strip of wood in the slots. Same principal as biscuits, but one long strip. You should be able to do that pretty easy with just a table saw.


Danger Will Robinson.


PUBBOY, what's the danger here?  If you have a tall and long-enough fence (or short-enough board) that you have good contact with the flat of the board against the fence, is this still a problem?  Not trying to assert my woodworking intelligence here, as I'm still quite a novice (I can make sawdust just as good as Norm, though! ), but I have done this without noticing an issue.  Thanks!
Link Posted: 4/29/2009 10:39:38 AM EDT
That WOULD be rather dangerous.  The problem is that just a LITTLE bit of side force on the board while the blade is inside the board

can result in a full power kickback.   DON'T DO IT.



With FEW exceptions, never use a table saw to make a blind cut.  It should only be used to cut completely through the work.



Yeah, we've all got a dado attachment.   But it's a lot easier to manage a board laid down flat on the saw table than it is

to manage one that's stood upright on an edge and being pushed across the blade.





CJ


Link Posted: 4/29/2009 11:30:14 AM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
That WOULD be rather dangerous.  The problem is that just a LITTLE bit of side force on the board while the blade is inside the board
can result in a full power kickback.   DON'T DO IT.

With FEW exceptions, never use a table saw to make a blind cut.  It should only be used to cut completely through the work.

Yeah, we've all got a dado attachment.   But it's a lot easier to manage a board laid down flat on the saw table than it is
to manage one that's stood upright on an edge and being pushed across the blade.


CJ


Not a problem if you now what you are doing.

Splines have been cut on table saws for a long time either everyone loosing fingers or having kick backs.

A spline or biscuits in long grain do not appreciable add to strength.
This is NOT a end grain to long grain but joint that needs a mortise or cheap biscuits.

You could even just use a few dowels to prevent shifting when tightening the clamps.

The other problem with doing anything but a but joint is that the moisture from the glue will cause the wood to swell slightly along the spline or at each biscuit.
If you do not wait long enough for the wood to come back to size and sand, you will get 'biscuit suck' when you sand the slightly swollen wood and it then dries out over a long time.
On spline joints the entire joint becomes a shallow depression.


Link Posted: 4/29/2009 11:46:04 AM EDT
I know what I'm doing in a woodshop and I wouldn't want to take on a cut like that.  You're NOT going to be able to stop

a kickback from a 1.5 HP motor, no matter WHO you are!



Biscuit joiners are cheap enough.  There is NO excuse for not getting one if you want to do biscuit joinery.  Which,

personally, I have absolutely no use for.  I just don't make the sort of things that would require such a joint.



There aren't any biscuit joints in a guitar.  







CJ

Link Posted: 4/29/2009 9:44:44 PM EDT
If you make cuts on end, such as tenons, tongues, groves etc, than I highly suggest using a tenon jig, or simply making a raised panel / tenon jig that rides over your fence.

Something like these





Some of my jigs or cutting sleds are very simple, but very effective



Link Posted: 4/30/2009 5:28:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/30/2009 5:29:09 AM EDT by brickeyee]
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
I know what I'm doing in a woodshop and I wouldn't want to take on a cut like that.  You're NOT going to be able to stop
a kickback from a 1.5 HP motor, no matter WHO you are!

Biscuit joiners are cheap enough.  There is NO excuse for not getting one if you want to do biscuit joinery.  Which,
personally, I have absolutely no use for.  I just don't make the sort of things that would require such a joint.

There aren't any biscuit joints in a guitar.  


CJ


Then learn how to set up the cut correctly.

It is actually no more dangerous than just ripping a board (and you will not be able to stop that kick back either).

If the fence is aligned to the blade the cut will be made just fine.

If you have a misaligned fence, or a crappy fence that is not rigid you have a lot of problems with even a rip cut.

If you make cuts on end, such as tenons, tongues, groves etc, than I highly suggest using a tenon jig, or simply making a raised panel / tenon jig that rides over your fence.


It is not and end cut, it is the length of the board.
Link Posted: 4/30/2009 5:34:03 AM EDT
The illustrations in the post above yours show how to do it.  I'd be comfortable with setups like that as they are well engineered for safety.



The critical element is the clamp on the workpiece and backing board.  I wouldn't do it without that.



There's very little I don't have at least a good concept of in the wood shop.  I've made more sawdust than practically anybody but

a full-time woodworker.





CJ


Link Posted: 4/30/2009 9:39:25 AM EDT
It depends on how wide the board is.

If you are using wide boards you need a taller fence.

Link Posted: 4/30/2009 9:55:06 AM EDT
Toungue and groove is the way to go. A couple simple router bits and BINGO.

No need to turn this into brain surgery.  
Link Posted: 5/3/2009 9:15:42 AM EDT
After over 45 years of power and hand tool woodworking I would have to add this.

When jointing boards lengthwise:

1. Proper joint surface and angle are critical. A jointer is the normal tool to do this. A properly set up table saw and router/table or hand plane can also do the job.

2. Properly cut and surfaced joints will usually be sufficiently strong without dowels, splines, biscuits, etc. if the proper glue and clamping technique is used.

3. For some applications, dowels, splines, biscuits, etc may help if the finished glued up structure is unsupported, i.e a folding table wing or is used in a high humidity environment, i.e yard furniture.

4. With an inexpensive jig, dowels are simple to install although they are somewhat weaker than biscuits due to small glue surface. They can be used simply to align the boards for glue-up.

5. A spline can be installed simply by cutting a kerf in the joint surfaces using a table saw or router/table and using holding fixtures to ensure safe cutting. Alternately a hand plane such as a Stanley 45 or 71 could be used. Splines provide good alignment during glue-up and will help prevent board ends from becoming misaligned due to warping but do not provide much protection from catastrophic board separation.

6. Biscuits are normally installed using a Biscuit Joiner although they could be installed in a board length kerf made with a table saw, router/table or dedicated hand plane. Because of the glue surface, biscuits installed with a biscuit joiner are usually the strongest option.

7. Proper glue for the glue-up process, clamping technique, wood type, wood moisture content and end use are critical for a successful joint.
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