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The Stationary Biscuit Joiner:


A Simple Jig for Productive Precision

A powerful part of the biscuit joiner's appeal is its ability to go hand-held wherever joinery needs to be done. You can avoid the delay of clamping and unclamping your work, you avoid excessive handling of heavy stock by handling the lightweight tool instead, and you waste no time at all fiddling with alignment—because in most cases "close" really is close enough.

Convenient though the hand-held joiner is, however, there are times when you'll make it even more productive by turning it into a stationary tool. When you need to make identical cuts in a big stack of parts, and whenever precise cut alignment is a necessity (such as when using faceframe blades, or whenever you're making cuts very close to the edge of a piece), you can do the work faster and safer with a jig like the one shown here.

The jig could hardly be simpler. Our primary design criterion was making the 3 ft. by 3 ft. jig big enough to handle cabinet parts or other likely production pieces; please feel encouraged to adapt the dimensions to suit your specific needs. First, set up a quick way to mount your joiner, so switching from hand-held to jigged work is no hassle. The DeWalt joiner's base has two convenient holes in its flat base; you can glue a couple of steel dowels into the jig base, or drive a couple of screws through T-nuts from beneath the jig, then just drop the joiner into place (and fasten with knurled nuts or wing nuts if you wish). Other joiners can be set into a simple U-shaped plywood yoke made to fit the joiner base snugly. You don't have to worry about the tool slipping forward because you'll be holding a workpiece firmly against the joiner's nose as you cut.

The jig has two fences. One is fixed, with a gap to house the nose of your joiner; the other fence is used for miters or end-grain cuts. Align the two halves of the fixed fence straight and flush with the nose of the joiner, and attach them permanently to the base. It will be well worth incorporating one or more flip stops into the right side of the fence to speed repetitive cutting—check our FasTTrak hardware for ideas.

The miter fence should be at least about 3" wide, with slotted mounting holes to let you align a range of narrow stock widths. Mount it with wing nuts or knobs on carriage bolts coming from beneath the jig. Note that the fence is always mounted to the right of the stock, since the joiner blade's clockwise rotation will push the stock in that direction. Center lines marked on the base at 90° and 45° left and right make accurate fence alignment easy.

Copyright © 2001 Highland Hardware, dba Highland Woodworking

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