Introduction to Plate Joiner

If you tend to make and assemble lots of furniture, shelving and cabinetry, frames, door and window trims or joineries, then you’re definitely going to need this tool, called the plate joiner.

Also known as “biscuit joiner,” a plate joiner is used to connect two pieces of wood together. It can be used in making edge-to-edge joints or perpendicular joints. Originally common only among cabinetmakers, plate joiners have become popular among DIY home hobbyists and carpenters thanks to the advent of reasonably-cost models that boast lots of useful features. Other reasons why plate jointers have become increasingly popular for home use are that they make joining two boards a lot easier, faster and safer, and making joints with this tool doesn’t also require extreme precision.

A plate joiner is a small power tool that can be easily handled, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space in a storage room or toolbox, compared to other tools such as a circular saw. Unlike other power tools that have more than one use, a plate joiner is designed to do only one function: to cut slots of boards to be joined together by a biscuit. This “biscuit” is a piece of football-shaped compressed chip which is originally made of beech, but is now made of various materials such as particle board or engineered wood. The biscuit is only slightly smaller than the slot that the plate joiner makes, so that it can fit snugly into that slot. This leaves the slot to have enough space for the glue, which is applied to further strengthen the biscuit joinery.

Types of biscuits – All plate joiners have at least three preset depth stops for all standard biscuit sizes. Some newer models have preset depth stops for specialty biscuits (measured in L x W x T inches)

  1. #0 – The smallest biscuit (1-27/32″ x 5/8″ x 19/128″) – ideal for joining smaller and narrower pieces of wood, or in areas where there is an anticipated lack of stress (such as framing and trim).
  2. #10 – Medium-sized biscuit (2-1/8″ x ¾” x 19/128″) – since this is not too big nor not too small, this size is ideal in most types of projects.
  3. #20 – The largest biscuit (2-3/8″ x 1″ x 19/128″) – ideal for projects where there will be a lot twisting or weight involved, such as making beds. This biscuit is perfect if you work with certain materials such as pieces of plywood that need a lot of bond to join them together more securely. That’s why one of the greatest advantages of using such biscuit is that you have an ample space in the slot to apply more glue to get more strength in your biscuit joinery.

A plane joiner has a 4-inch diameter circular saw that typically has six teeth. But there are models that have 10 teeth or even more. The blade is guided by the springloaded faceplate; when not in use, the blade is retracted as a safety feature.

In using the plate joiner, start by marking the location of the slots to be made into a piece of wood that you’re about to cut. Next, set the machine’s level adjustment (according to the depth of the wood) and then its cutter depth to determine how deep the slot you are about to cut into the wood. Firmly press the machine from behind to push it forward into the wood to make a cut.

Now that the predetermined slot has been cut into the wood, apply glue into the slot (or to the biscuit). Then insert the biscuit into the slot. The water in the glue causes the biscuit to expand inside the slot, fitting itself tightly into it and strengthening the joint even further. Continue making slots depending on how much biscuit joint you’ll need.

Then bring the other end of the biscuit into the corresponding slot to join the two pieces of wood together. Remove any excess of glue.

Another important element is the fence setting. Ideally, it should be set at 45 & 135 degrees. However, some biscuit joiners may have fences going from 0 to 135 degrees. Buyers who’re able to adjust the angle can work on either the external or internal face of a mitered, which multiplies the assembly choices for the project at hand. Additionally, it’s recommended that the tool should allow buyers to lower or raise the fence as it stays aligned with the blade in a parallel position. The recommended is a pinion and rack function, along with locking and adjustment knobs, and a big angle scale.

Best Plate Joiners to Buy

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
PORTER-CABLE 557 7 Amp Plate Joiner Kit with 1000 Assorted Biscuits
Makita PJ7000 Plate Joiner
VonHaus 8.5 Amp Wood Biscuit Plate Joiner
Lamello Classic x 101600 Biscuit Joiner

 

PORTER-CABLE 557 7 Amp Plate Joiner

This plate joiner can cut through several types of woods. 7 cutting options offer versatile function, and the 7A, 120V motor works well to deliver an RPM of 10,000. The fence of this joiner can tilt from 0 degrees to 135 degrees. Also featured on the plate joiner is the positive adjustable 90-degree stop and a 4-inch blade that makes standard size cuts. With that said, buyers do get an option to buy a 2-inch blade separately for making smaller cuts that are 1.5-inches in length. The tool also has a convenient mechanism that allows for the replacement and removal of blades. The 3.6 lbs weight also makes the power tool quite portable.

What makes it stand out?

The power tool comes with a centering plate and a dust bag that allows you to throw away all the debris after use. The chip deflector also has its place, ensuring that buyers are able to work on wood-related projects with maximum efficiency.

Makita PJ7000 Plate Joiner

The 700-watt, 5.6-amp motor on this plate joiner can rotate the integrated 4-inch blade at an RPM of 1,000 and it provides enough force to even cut knotty hardwoods smoothly. However, the tool doesn’t accommodate diameter blades of 2-inches so there isn’t a way to make smaller cuts. Rather, the highlight of this joiner is its blade cover, which doesn’t need any tools for changing out and accessing the blade for fresher cuts. The joiner’s fence has a large top grid handle that comes in handy during extended use, and its capable of pivoting from 0 degrees to 90 degrees, and stop at exact 45 degrees. The cut’s height is also adjustable even though a fine adjustment knob is missing from the tool. Moreover, the shoe’s rubber inserts are there to avoid slippage, which makes it easy to make precise cuts when you use the tool without a clamp.

What makes it stand out?

Even though the fence doesn’t pivot 135 degrees as it does on some other plate joiners, it comes with six depth settings to cover the usual biscuit sizes as well as the less frequently used ones.

VonHaus 8.5 Amp Wood Biscuit Plate Joiner

This biscuit joiner is one of the best for making fast cuts. Its 8.5-amp motor increases the weight of this joiner to some extent, but it’s more than capable of accommodating the 4-inch diameter blade at an RPM of 10,000 for cutting hardwoods without any kicking or catching. The 2-inch blades are not accepted, so smaller cuts are not possible. However, its fence comes with “depth” stops that allow users to work on the most common biscuit sizes and make cuts with precision. Another appreciable feature of this plate joiner is the large fence handle; this makes it easy to hold the joiner firmly while carrying out a woodworking project. Based on all the functionality at hand, this joiner is ideal for people who won’t be using the power tool very often.

 

What makes it stand out?

 

The dust collection system on this joiner prevents the machine from getting clogged and does quite well to keep the accumulating sawdust at bay.

Lamello Classic x 101600

This plate joiner’s multi-function strips square, fence, and slide show are all designed using the same kind of metal, and it’s the only model and brand that leverages this construction method to offer incredible accuracy and durability. There are 12 depth halts in the fencing which enable you to use all types of biscuits available at the local hardware shop without needing to change the cutting power tool. Also, the there are five stops that the fence pivots to between 0 and 90 degrees (more than any other joiner out there), and an option to pivot to 135 degrees when there’s a need to work on a complex miter joint. Another appreciable feature is the fence, which allows users to use the plate joiner in a vertical position. Also, its 780-watt motor puts the spin on its 4-inch blade, taking it to an RPM of 10,000. All that makes cutting through knotty hardwood a breeze. And even though some buyers report the motor making a slight sound of grinding, precision is not affected by it and the sawdust is never clogged, even if the vacuum or the dust bag included in the 1-inch dust port isn’t brought into play.

What makes it stand out?

Although the Lamello Classic x 101600 doesn’t come with a protecting casing given its make, you do get a good warranty for the entire thing that offers replacement parts in case any one of them gets damaged.

Conclusion

When you need to carry out a woodworking project or attach two pieces of wood together, nothing is more useful in your power tools kit than a plate joiner. The versatile, compact tool enables users to cut slots in paired wood pieces with ease and they can be fitted using a biscuit to keep them adjustment securely. Hopefully, the models and brands mentioned above have provided you with sufficient information about what plate joiner to choose based on features and functionality that most closely align with your needs.