Biscuits On A Budget

Router Table Biscuit Joiner
From lop: CFW 50; Wolfcrafl 2920; Sc ar« Bin-Kit.

With one of these gadgets, you can convert your angle grinder or router to a biscuit joiner for less than the cost of most biscuit joiners.

CFW 50—($149.95, top) A conversion kit for your table-mounted router, this unit consists of a 1 '/j-in.-dia. slotting cutter, an 18-in.-long spring-loaded fence and an adjustable work stop. It's designed for making face frames, and with die special biscuits supplied Ci2 in. by in. by in.), you can join pieces as narrow as V/i in. (available from CFW. 619-723-7586).

Wolfe raft 2920—($70, middle) This assembly—a base, fence and 12-tooth carbide blade—lets you convert a 4, 4x/i or 5-in. angle grinder into a biscuit joiner. Identical to the assembly on the Skil in the main article, it makes straight cuts in board edges or centers and 45° cuts into beveled edges (available from Woodcraft, 800-225-1153).

Sears Bis-Kit—($39.99, bottom) With this plastic base/fence assembly and three-wing slotting cutter, you can cut biscuit joints with a 6-in.-dia router. Bis-Kit is a cheap way to make basic edge-to-edge biscuit joints, but you can't cut slots in the face of a board or panel, and you can't make 45° cuts in a beveled edge (available from Sears stores).

Woodhaven's Biscuits & Bits— ($51.99) This kit has a l!>in.-dia. slotting cutter and special biscuits to turn your table-mounted router into a bis-

Plastic Biscuits For Fence

cuit joiner. At in. thick by 1 % in. long, the biscuits are thicker and shorter than conventional ones, so you can join stock as small as 1in. wide and in. thick. There's also a straight router bit for making cuts in panel middles and 10 ft. of spline material for joining grooved stock (available from Woodliaven, 800-344-6657).

Woodhaven's Itty Bitty Biscuits and Bits—($24.99) A smaller version of the above kit, this includes a by l-in.-dia. slotting cutter for joining stock down to 1 in. wide and XA in. thick.

in the middle of large panels, as you'd need to if you were joining a shelf to the middle of a cabinet side.

These two machines aren't strictly comparable. Both may be used for edge-joining boards, but die ruggedly built Delta is more flexible for slotting beveled stock. Because of its small oval biscuits, the CFW is especially useful for joining face frames as narrow as 1 Vt in.

Delta's $299.95 stationary joiner (see photo, page 51) is a sturdy, cast-iron machine with an adjustable-height table that tilts to any angle from 90° to 45°. A miter gauge is included for aligning stock for flat miter cuts, and there is a beefy clamp for holding the work in place. To make a cut, you register the work against die table and fence. Then you step on a foot pedal that pulls the blade into the workpicce.

Tlie $514.95 CFW 100 stationary bis-cuit joiner looks like a small router table. It's made mainly of particleboard and aluminum extnisions and is powered by a -V HP router. To cut a slot, you push the workpiece against the spring-loaded fence, triggering a microswitch and exposing die cutter. The fence has five preset work stops to quickly register common face frame widths from V/i in. to 2Vi in.

The CFW unit needed some tuning before it would work smoothly for us: we had to adjust and lubricate the fence's guide blocks and plane the bottom edge of die fence to make it parallel to the table. Then the CFW ait accurate slots in both end grain and edge grain. The router bit was easy to adjust but awkward to cliange. Also on the minus side, vacuum dust collection was necessary to prevent the unit from filling up with dust, which clogged the grooves in the fence guides.

Our Recommendations

So which biscuit joiner do we recommend? Well, we've got several choices to fit different needs. Our top choices among the portable units are the Lamello Top 10 and the DeWalt. (See sidebar, page 51.)_

If your work involves joining small pieces in a production environment, a stationary biscuit joiner like the Delta will let you work faster than a hand-held machine. And if you like die versatility of cutting gnxives with your biscuit joiner, get the Elu. ▲

Table Saw Fence EluTable Saw Fence Elu

A Gu Ah ovc the Router Table,

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Be st Choice for Professional Resulh

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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