Before going into the steps of how to use a biscuit cutter, it is good to know what a biscuit is, and what a biscuit cutter is.
What is a biscuit?
A biscuit is a thin football-shaped slice of wood made out of a compressed beech wood. It is usually glued into a slot on one and of a board and another and of an adjoining board. Biscuits can help to glue several boards to make a table top. They are also essential when making cabinets.
What is a Biscuit cutter?
Also known as a plate joiner, a biscuit cutter is a woodwork tool used to make edge to edge joints and perpendicular joints. It is used to join two pieces of wood together. It uses a small circular shaped blade to cut a crescent-shaped hole on opposite edges of two wood pieces. Glue is applied to the slots. The biscuits are placed into the slots and than the two wood pieces are clamped together. It is designed to perform more than its task which makes it an ideal woodwork tool for every workshop.
Why should you use a Biscuit Cutter?
It has some advantages. But most woodworkers have in the past used a router that has a slot-cutting bit which cuts grooves for biscuits. This was dangerous since it is not easy to always put a slot cutting bit onto the router perfectly. A biscuit cutter eliminates this danger. Its blade is well housed inside a guard. It also has a guide system that ensures the cutter always cuts perpendicularly ensuring a consistent flt.
Steps of how to use a biscuit cutter
- First, check the two boards to make sure they line up properly. These two pieces should be the same in terms of thickness. They should also make contact throughout the entire length. If they don’t match, you will have to pass them through a jointer to make sure you have straight edges.
- Now line up the two wood pieces, making sure their grains face the same direction. Ensure the tree rings form the shape of an arch with the open ends of the curves facing downwards. This will prevent curving during high humidity.
- Using a pencil, draw a triangle across the boards that you intend to join. This triangle will be essential because it will guide you when placing the boards back to their correct positions.
- Using a pencil once more, mark each joint where you intend to put a biscuit. Ensure the biscuits are about 6′ apart.
- Place the guide fence on top of the stock than line the cutting guide using one pencil mark.
- Start up the cutting saw and force the blade through the stock up. Remove the blade then repeat at each mark.
- Slot in the biscuits to the slots of one wood and again into the corresponding slots of the other wood. Clamp the two pieces of wood together than let them dry.
For perpendicular joints, like those for bookshelves, just hold the two boards and mark both boards to show where the biscuits should be made. Make the cuts about 6′ apart. Put the boards parallel and on top of each other. Make sure the horizontal board is aligned with the drawn line. Clamp the boards in this position.
Biscuit cutter safety
Most woodworking tools usually have basic safety rules that require the use of common sense but they are important.
First, make sure you read instructions and safety rules that come with the machine.
Secondly, make sure you always wear appropriate safety gear like safety glasses when operating a biscuit cutter.
Never operate the biscuit cutter without the blade guard. It is also good to make sure you use sharp blades in your plate joiner.
Before plunging, make sure the motor is at full speed. Also never try to apply side pressure to slow a spinning blade.
Quality biscuit cutters have a sawdust port for collecting dust, an adjustable depth scale, and bevel feature. Some have the ability to make grooves in the edges.