Biscuit Joiner Workstation

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This article is from Issue 73 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Clever lever. Use this handy hold-down to keep your work flat and secure while cutting biscuit slots in edges.

Sometimes it pays to keep this portable power tool parked

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.

Miter mate. Slot mitered ends on stock up to 8" wide with this adjustable miter stop.

Groovy 45. Slip the corner of your workpiece into the groove under the fence to slot 45° corner joints.

Handy holder. This T-shaped pushstick comfortably and safely holds your work’s opposite face as you plunge the cutter.

Build the jig, then add the accessories

Start by routing a 3⁄8" × 3⁄8" groove in the base. The groove provides clearance space for sawdust and miter joint alignment. It also provides a straight shoulder for aligning the MDF and biscuit joiner fences. After gluing the base and subbase together, screw each MDF fence to its foot, then screw the fence/foot assemblies to the base. A pair of cleats can be added as shown to keep the fixture in place on your workbench. Seal the fixture with varnish or shellac for moisture protection and easier cleaning.

Construction sequence

  • Make the base and subbase
  • Make the fence and cleats
  • Assemble the pieces
  • Make hold-downs and guides
  • Mount your joiner


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