Best Biscuit Joiner – 2015 Biscuit Joiner Reviews

As a professional carpenter who also loves to work on hobby projects at his home shop, I am no stranger to tools. If you are in the market for any woodworking tools or accessories then you have come to the right place. I have a wealth of experience and interest in this subject and it is my goal to pass it on to you! In this blog entry, I will discuss biscuit joiners, the tips to choose them as well as best places to find great deals.

How to Choose the Best Biscuit Joiner

1. Power

Power is always important, right guys? This stands true when talking about biscuit joiners. The more cutting strength you want, the more power you need. Simple as that. If you only use a biscuit joiner occasionally than choose a smaller amperage unit but if you plan to work with it often or use it for hardwoods or commercial projects then you will need more power.

2. Motor

If you plan to use your unit often then you should also consider looking for one with a double-insulated motor because it will be more durable and less likely to burn out if it were to get overheated.

3. Plunge action

The “plunge” is the initial cut you make and is, therefore, very important. Look at the plunge action on your unit and make sure it is smooth because a jerky plunge action can lead to uneven cuts. If the plunge action is jerky, you can get uneven biscuit cuts.

4. Blade

A tight blade is also important. A loose blade may cause your cuts to be sloppy. If precision matters to you (and it should) then you want a tight blade with very little play.

5. Handle features

If you suffer from arthritis or other issues with your hands then you may want to look for a model with various adjustable handle features. Ergonomic features are important if you will be using it for an extended period of time and will decrease discomfort.

Top 5 Best Biscuit Joiner Reviews

1.DEWALT DW682K 6.5 – Perfect Investment for the Hobbyist

This is a good tool for the money. It works reasonably well and is fine for any hobbyist. It does, however, have some flaws to consider, particularly if you will using it regularly. It has a tendency to clog very quickly because the shaving port has a metal projection running through its center (presumably to keep your fingers safe).

It’s highly annoying to have to clean it out after 10 or less cuts. The fence angle indicator is off… by a lot. This is another disappointment. Last, when edge joining, I have noticed that my cuts are not parallel to the board surface making it sort of inconsistent from cut.

Find this Item on Amazon

 

2.Chicago Electric Power Plate Joiner – The Most Affordable for the Hobbyist

Compared to other comparable models by bigger name brands, this is an awesome value. It is certainly not commercial grade but, in my opinion is an awesome model for a hobbyist on a budget. It seems to do just as good of a job as the Dewalt. One small issue is with the adjustment screw to change the depth of the blade.

It is very difficult to adjust. This is a small issue because once it is adjusted, it works well. It’s certainly not a high end tool but will do the job if you are looking for something inexpensive.

This Plate Joiner Can Found on Amazon

 

3. PORTER-CABLE 557 7 – Perfect For Extensive Usage

This machine is well-built and durable. It is certainly a great buy for someone who will be using it often. It is more expensive than some others but worth it if you want to use it for years and years and on lot of projects. It really is a rugged tool. When testing this out, I found one sort of pesky flaw.

When I had nothing to hold the fence against (when making a slot on the face of a board, for example) the tool moved quite a bit and I had to struggle to keep it still when you turn it on and the blade starts to cut. Overall, however, I would recommend this tool. It gets the job done.

Click Here to see the latest price of This Item on Amazon

4. Makita PJ7000 Plate Joiner

This is a really great machine which is why it is a bit more expensive. The design of it is so simple that if you have much carpentry experience you probably won’t even need the owner’s manual. The fence alignment is very accurate and the cam lock height adjustment is very easy to use.

The only real flaw that I can find with this joiner is that the fence hides biscuit location marks on your project so you have to make your marks about a half inch longer (no big deal, really, but worth mentioning). All in all, a great tool.

Click Here to Check Out this Item on Amazon

5. Lamello Classic X 101600 Buscuit Joiner – Great Choice for the Professional Carpenter

This is among the top of the line when it comes to joiners and the price shows. Its motor strength is powerful, ergonomically designed, and the 780 watts will provide enough power for almost all projects. It is strong enough to stand up to the toughest challenges against harder woods such as Walnut or Oak.

One great feature that I love is that, Lamello’s plate joiner can cut grooves for 12 different biscuits without changing the cutting tool. If you are looking for a Cadillac, this is the model for you. Definitely a great choice for a professional.

Find it on Amazon

Few thoughts

When building cabinets, headboards and other more complicated projects, a great biscuit joiner is really a must. I know that from years of experience and using pretty much every tool out there.

It’s that experience that makes me so eager to share and help when I can. I hope that this is has been of some help to you in your search for the right tool for your projects!

For more about biscuit joiners, please check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biscuit_joiner.

Check out some of our other reviews of your Woodworking Shop Must Haves

Best Belt Sander

Top 10 Scroll Saw Tips and Tricks

 

The scroll saw is an invaluable tool for woodworkers. It makes detailed crafts and crisp fretwork in a way that no other machine can. You might have already learned the basics on how to use a scroll saw such as turning it on, setting it on the bench and how to start cutting. However, there is so much more important information you need to have at your fingertips that might not be present in the saw’s manual. Here are some scroll saw tips and tricks that will make your projects easier, more fun and more successful.

scroll saw cutting plywood

1. Lighting

It will be difficult for you to get a clean cut when using a scroll saw if you can’t see the pattern line properly. You may also experience a perception problem whereby the black blade and the black line visually merge, making it hard for you to tell the exact position of the blade along the line. It is therefore advisable to purchase lights that can be mounted onto the scroll saw.  Alternatively, you can place a lamp next to the saw in such a manner that the blade casts a right-angle shadow on the workpiece. The point of the angle formed by the blade and its shadow will make a good visual reference. For more precision, you can use a magnifier.

2. Blade tension

Blade tension should not be too much or too little. Blades will often break in both cases. Set the tension at that point where you hear a ping when you pluck the blade. At this point it should flex no more than 1/8″ from side to side. If the blade breaks right after you start using it, the tension may be too much. If it wanders, the tension may be too little.

3. Blade retrieval

For you to be an expert scrollsawer, one of the things you’ll need to learn is how to minimize time wastage when changing blades. Most blades become dull or break after about half an hour. You’ll therefore need easy access to an extra supply of blades. One tip you can follow for quick retrieval of blades is to place them on a magnetic strip. The strip should then be attached to the scroll saw stand. Alternatively, you can adhere about 18″ strip of hook-and-loop tape to the side of the saw with epoxy. Next, press containers in which you’ll store the blades against the strip.

4. Warping

Plywood, especially thin plywood, runs the risk of warping. You can prevent it from warping by storing it in a dry, flat surface and placing a heavy piece of wood on top of it. However, this does not imply that you should get rid of warped plywood and go purchase new wood. Dampen the surface of the warped wood and then place it on a flat surface. Place a heavy piece of wood on top of it and leave it for a week or so. Most of the times, a pattern cut out from warped wood straightens out when assembled with other pieces into a project.

drilling wood with drillpress

5. Successful drill pressing

If drilling a hole through a thin piece of wood, you can prevent splitting by placing a scrap piece below your workpiece. If you are drilling through thick wood, you should drill down till that point where you just break through the bottom surface. Stop drilling the wood, turn it over so that the bottom surface is now facing upwards and finish drilling from this side.

6. Keeping stacked parts together

When sawing several identical parts, they should be stacked together and joined using cyanoacrylate glue. The stack will be held firmly by the glue and the project will fall out effortlessly when you’re done with sawing. Make sure you use the glue in moderation, otherwise it may spread to parts that were to be separated after cutting. Clear packing tape can also be used in place of glue. Tape around the stack to hold the pieces in place.

7. Check the teeth

Before you start the saw, always check the direction of the teeth. Make sure they are to the front of the saw and are pointing down. A blade installed backwards will not cut wood. If it is installed upside down, it will pick wood off the table and slap it back down again.  Smaller blades can sometimes rotate while you are tensioning the blade, so be sure to verify the blade is pointing in the right direction.

8. Preventing burning

Put clear packaging tape on top of your hardwood pattern to prevent it from burning. It prevents sawdust from accumulating beneath it and lubricates the blade.  When using thicker and harder material set the saw at a higher speed and conversely a lower speed for softer and thinner woods.

9. Scrolling position

You can operate a scroll saw while standing or sitting. If you are an amateur, it is advisable to always stand in front of the saw so as to easily feed the work into the blade and operate the saw without much effort. Whether sitting or standing, make sure you are always comfortable. Scrollsawing can go on for hours and in the process, fatigue and stiff neck and shoulders can creep in. If you saw while sitting, a swivel chair can come in handy because you can raise it higher and tilt the scroll saw by tipping its back with a piece of wood so that it sits at an angle of about 10 degrees. You’ll be able to work comfortably without leaning over or straining your joints and muscles.  Whenever possible, use a Pedal Foot Switch which allows you to keep both hands on your work for a safer and more exacting experience.

10. Taking care of scroll saw blades

Blades are vulnerable to rust when stored over a long period of time. You can protect them from rust by spraying a thin coat of WD40 or oil on them.  Check out our article on scroll saw blade selection here

Final thoughts

Scroll saw techniques require practice and lots of patience. Just relax and allow the blade to do its work according to its capability. The above scroll saw tips and tricks will help you enhance your skills and derive more self-satisfaction from your woodworking projects.  For some other great reading material to beef up your scrollsawing skills check out these helpful books.

Best Belt Sander – 2015 Belt Sander Reviews

As a professional woodworker who also loves to work on hobby projects at his home shop, I am no stranger to tools. As with most men, I love power but I have also learned that quality and durability are equally (if not more) important. It is my goal to help you find the tools that have both the power that we all crave and the quality and durability that make something worth your money. I have seen it all, done it all and have a thing or two to pass on to you so I hope that this article is as helpful to you as it is enjoyable for me to write! In this article, we will discuss the best belt sanders, how to choose them as well as the best place you can purchase them.

How to Choose the Best Belt Sander

When choosing a belt sander, there are a few important things to consider. You will want to keep in mind the size of your job, what you want the sander to do and your budget. Keep those three things in the forefront of your mind as you shop and read up on:

1. Size of the Belt sander

Small sanders are better for smaller jobs and larger ones are better for larger ones. Simple enough, right? It’s pretty logical and no surprise that if you are looking to sand your whole house’s siding, you probably don’t want a compact sander. By the same token, if you want to sand a small area, a large sander doesn’t make much sense.

2. Corded or Cordless Belt Sander

Cordless sanders are portable but much heavier and you have to recharge their batteries. In general, I recommend corded. Although, if you aren’t sure if you will have a power source where you will be working, cordless may make sense.

3. Speed

Low-speed sanders are best for finer finishes. High-speed sanders are going to give you a rougher finish but get the job done a lot more easily and quickly. If you are looking for a smooth, silky finish, always go for lower speeds.

4. Price

Your budget matters, of course. Belt sanders can run anywhere from the low hundreds into the thousands depending on what you are looking at. You can probably spend a couple of hundred dollars and get a good one, however. If you are not a professional or don’t do a lot of carpentry projects, it is not necessary to spend a ton of money on your belt sander. Choose one that is reasonably priced and fits your needs.

5. Noise

This may seem like a small thing but it can be a real pain to have to wear ear plugs for all of your projects. A quiet machine can be a real convenience and a joy to use.

Top 5 belt Sanders Reviews

1. Makita 9403 11 Amp – Suitable for Big Jobs

This tool delivers power without excessive noise.

You can even use it without ear plugs but it does the same work as most sanders in about half of the time.

I was amazed at how quietly it ran the first time I used it. It’s just a great machine. I love the dust collection system and the long power cord is awesome!

So much better than having to use an extension cord almost every time. It does require some arm strength to control because of how powerful it is so it isn’t really suitable for smaller jobs but for big jobs this is one of the best on the market!

Click Here to Check it out on Amazon

 

2. Hitachi SB8V2 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander

This is a well-built sander and works well. It is quite heavy so it does require some upper body strength to use.

The bag is OK. It collects a lot of the dust but it does leave some mess behind. Once I installed the belt and set the tracking it stayed true and did not wobble all over. The belt installation lever makes installing the belt quick and easy: Pull the lever back, install the belt, slide the lever up.

Voila! This is probably a close second to the Makita 9403 but I still prefer the Makita because of the dust bag and the fact that this one can be a bit noisy.

Get the latest pricing for Hitachi SB8V2 On Amazon

 

3.PORTER-CABLE 352VS 8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable-Speed Belt Sander

I like this sander It’s durable and works well. I think it is probably really versatile too (I have only used it on a few jobs so I can’t say for sure). But there are 2 things that irritate me when using this sander.

1. The positioning of the cord coming out of the top of the grip and

2. The dust bag coming right out of the top of the grip. Are you noticing a pattern here? They are consistently in the way when I am trying to work.

It seems like such a simple oversight on the part of the manufacturers. I really wish they would have put more thought into its design because, aside from this major flaw, this thing is great. It’s just as good as my first 2 picks.

Click Here to see the latest Price for this Item on Amazon

 

4. Grizzly H6070 Belt and 5-Inch Disc Sander, 1 x 30-Inch

This sander is just OK. It’s not bad. It’s really a great choice for someone who doesn’t use a belt sander often and who only needs it for small jobs.

It’s nothing spectacular but it does what it is supposed to. The motor lacks power and I don’t know how long it would last if used often for bigger jobs. But as I said, for smaller jobs once in a while it would probably be fine.

It’s considerably cheaper than my last 3 picks, well, so it really isn’t a bad deal for the money.

This Item Can Be Found on Amazon

 

5. Makita 9031 5 Amp 1-1/8-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander

I like this sander a lot. It works well and its small sizes is great for getting into those tiny spaces. It’s fantastic for small spaces but not as great for larger spaces as it leaves wheel marks when used on large, flat surfaces.

It is also possible to tire out the supports on the metal plate but it is still a very tough and durable too with a lot of power. It’s not cheap but compared to equivalent machines that go for much more, this gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

Click Here to purchase on Amazon

 

Few thoughts

I truly hope that this article has helped you to choose a belt sander that will work for your needs. It is a personal choice and can’t be decided without considering your needs, your budget and your projects but my goal is to give you unbiased and fair assessments so that you can choose the best tool for you.

For additional information, make sure you check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belt_sander

Scroll Saw Blade Selection Guide

Scroll Saw Blade Selection GuideScroll saw blade selection is a monumental task. It can however prove to be daunting, especially for newbie scrollers. A visit to a hardware store can leave you overwhelmed by the many kinds, sizes and brand names of blades available. Some scrollers take the easier option of buying any blade or one that looks good to them. This should not be the case because the success of your project will be greatly determined by the type of blade you choose.

An application chart containing a comparison of the various types of blades is beneficial but should not be used as the only guide. There are other factors that should be considered.

1. Compatibility
When it comes to compatibility, scroll saws accept either Pin-end or Plain-end types of blades. More often than not, older saws use pin-end blades whereas modern saws use plain-end blades. It is much faster to change pin-end blades than the plain-end ones. Nevertheless, plain-end blades are the more superior of the two. They don’t require a large starter hole in the work piece because the pin is not required to pass through the material. A plain-end blade can slip through a 1/64” hole where a pin-end blade would need a 1/16” hole. This is of great benefit when cutting very intricate patterns.

2. Type of material

The type of material to be cut is an important factor in determining the type of blade to use. All blades are made from steel blanks and are usually hardened and tempered. As a result, standard blades can be used to cut most wood. Some types of material such as aluminum and plastic have to be cut using special blades.

3. Blade Measurements

A blade’s measurement determines its suitability for use on a material depending on the material’s hardness and thickness. You should therefore be familiar with every aspect of measurement before buying any blade. Blades come in sizes that are listed using numbers. The numbers usually range from as high as #12 to sizes below #0 such as #2/0 and #3/0. The higher the number of the blade, the bigger it is and the lower the number of teeth per inch (TPI). This implies that a #12 blade will have fewer teeth per inch on it than a #7 blade. The higher number blades are thicker and wider.

The thickness and width of blades should increase as the thickness and hardness of the materials to be cut increase. This implies that thicker and wider blades are required to cut thicker and harder materials. The higher the TPI the more the aggression and smoothness of the blade’s cut. Blades with a higher TPI achieve cleaner cuts. A point to note is that these blades can burn wood
more easily if they are run too fast. It is therefore advisable to use slower speeds with them, and faster speeds with the larger blades such as size #9 to #12 blades.

4. Complexity of patterns

The intricacy of the scroll saw pattern is an important consideration when choosing the right blade for your project. In general, complex patterns will require a blade with small teeth. Bigger blades cannot cut tight corners. Even though the application material may be thick and hard, the blade you select should be small enough to cut the sharpest corners of your pattern without giving you a lot of trouble.

5. Tooth design

The tooth design has an impact on the performance of the blade. Let us have a look at the different types of blades and clearly bring out the differences between them.

  • Standard/Regular tooth blades
    These have the simplest tooth designs. The teeth are of the same size and are right next to each other. The two major types of standard tooth blades are metal and wood blades. Metal blades have smaller teeth and less space between them in comparison to wood blades.
  • Skip-tooth blades
    These blades are similar to standard blades but have a much wider space between the teeth hence a reduced TPI. They are recommended for the beginner because they stay cool and cut smoothly.
  • Double skip tooth blades
    These are skip-tooth blades with a gap between sets of two teeth. They cut slightly slower on most materials but leave a very smooth finish.
  • Reverse tooth blades
    These blades usually have a skip-tooth configuration but with the last inch of teeth pointing in the opposite direction. This allows them to cut on both the up stroke and down stroke, minimizing tear-out or splintering on the underside of your work piece. They cut slower than a regular blade but produce a smooth, splinter-free edge on both sides of the material.
  • Precision-ground tooth blades
    These are skip-tooth blades with small, razor-sharp teeth that have been ground to shape from the finest carbon steel. They outperform and outlast all the other blades. They cut faster and smoother in both straight and radius cuts. Because of how sharp and aggressive the blades are, they are not recommended for beginners.
  • Spiral blades
    Spiral blades consist of normal blades that have been twisted together in such a way that all sides have teeth. They therefore cut well in all directions without having to spin the work piece. They are ideal for cutting highly detailed portrait patterns.
  • Crown-tooth blades
    These blades have teeth that are shaped like a crown. There is a gap between each crown. Their unique design allows them to cut on both the up stroke and down stroke. They cut slightly slower than regular blades. Their cutting action prevents melting behind the cut, making them good for cutting most plastic including lexan, acrylic and Plexiglas. When one side of the blade dulls, you can get a new set of teeth by simply turning over the ends.

Final thoughts

Use the factors listed above as a guide for selecting the right scroll saw blade for your next project. It is advisable to always use the largest size of blade that gives the desired results.  Amazon offers a Great Selection of blades at great prices for all your scroll sawing needs.