Adjusting a Joiner for 1/2" Stock?
Issue: Issue 2.14
Posted Date: 8/28/2001
Ellis Walentine, Rob Johnstone & Ian Kirby
Q. A reader wants to biscuit join some 1/2" stock but his PC biscuit joiner won't go that low. Any ideas on what he can do to adjust the joiner so he can glue up this stock?
Ellis Walentine: "Hmm. I don't know about earlier PC biscuit joiners, but the Model 557 Type 2 has a fence that adjusts down to within 1/16" of the blade, so theoretically you could center the blade on 3/8" stock. PC also provides a clear plastic shim plate for the flip fence that brings the blade about 3/16" closer to the fence.
In the case of an older model that might not have these adjustments, you could stick a piece of masonite to the fence with double stick tape, or you could make a simple fixture that would raise the workpiece off the bench so you can make the cuts with the base flat on the bench.
Rob Johnstone: "First, you don't need to use a biscuit joiner ... just glue up the stupid stock! As you may have guessed, I'm not a big biscuit joiner fan. (Hundeds of years of woodworking was completed before biscuit joiners came on the horizon.) However, if you feel the need use the tool, you can set up a 1/4 piece of plywood on your work surface, and use it as a spacer to lift up the stock you are joining. You may have to add some registration blocks of some sort, but just use the plywood to use up a bit of space. It will work out fine."
Ian Kirby: "Make a stacked jig to position the workpiece and the biscuit jointer where the cut goes. It's a good idea to clamp the jointer into place instead of using it as a hand-held tool."