Sometimes it pays to keep this portable power tool parked
By William Schneider
Power tools can be classified as stationary or portable. A biscuit joiner normally belongs to the latter category, but my shop-made fixture puts this compact power tool at the heart of a workstation that can streamline certain plate joinery tasks.
The workstation’s most important parts are a large, flat base and a fence that extends the reach of the biscuit joiner’s built-in fence. These features make it easy to position large planks that will be glued into panels, long face frames, and other large workpieces. But smaller parts can also be handled quickly and accurately, thanks to a few shop-made accessories (photos, this page). A lever arm holds the work in place by applying downward pressure, while keeping my hands away from the cutter. A T-shaped pushstick does an effective job of forcing smaller workpieces against the fence. To slot miter joints quickly and precisely, I use an adjustable miter stop.
Porter-Cable’s 557 biscuit joiner works great with this fixture because its base already has holes for attachment to the fixture. If your joiner does not have mounting holes, you’ll need to drill them.As shown here, the biscuit joiner is positioned to center slots in 3⁄4"-thick material. Inserting a spacer between the joiner’s base and the fixture base will elevate slot height