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Thread: Biscuits & Dominos...

  1. #1
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    Default Biscuits & Dominos...

    I have been using biscuits, well, since my father bought his first Lamello machine in the 1980's. Currently I am using a Lamello Top20, which is an amazing biscuit joiner. (I have owned and used a DeWalt, and Porter cable machines but nothing runs like a genuine Lamello.)

    I use a lot of biscuits in various means, in my furniture and cabinet work. They are certainly very useful.

    But, there are some instances that just didnt work very well. I decided to purchase a Festool Domino joiner earlier this year, and it has proven itself to be very, very useful. For many cases were a biscuit wasn't well suited - a Domino usually will work perfectly.

    However, there are still some things a biscuit will do better, faster & easier.

    Just wondering how many are also in the camp that BOTH are equally good & useful. Or, do you find one or the other suits your needs best? I don't want to start a "biscuit vs domino" war

    I love em' both!
    Andrew J. Coholic

    Joe Coholic Custom Furniture Ltd.
    Timmins, ON

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    I agree with you 100% and I am in the same boat having 5 biscuit joiners and a Domino. I have 3 of the ELU joiners that they stopped making about 15 years ago. The cutter is on a pivot so you get a very consistent movement unlike some of the ones that slide and have a lot of slop in the slide. Each style of biscuit joiner was better suited for some operations than the others.

    Brian
    " It is nice to be important but more important to be nice"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    Gave my biscuit joiner away 4 years ago when I got the Domino and haven't found a want or need to use a biscuit since.

    John

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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    I haven't used my PC557 since I bought my Domino a few years back. I'm about to though. I need itfor making slotsfor the IpeClips I'm going to use to fasten my deck boards. I just don't want to use my biscuit joiner over my Domino. About tospring for the XL model as well I might add.
    Kevin

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajcoholic View Post
    I have been using biscuits, well, since my father bought his first Lamello machine in the 1980's. Currently I am using a Lamello Top20, which is an amazing biscuit joiner. (I have owned and used a DeWalt, and Porter cable machines but nothing runs like a genuine Lamello.)

    I use a lot of biscuits in various means, in my furniture and cabinet work. They are certainly very useful.

    But, there are some instances that just didnt work very well. I decided to purchase a Festool Domino joiner earlier this year, and it has proven itself to be very, very useful. For many cases were a biscuit wasn't well suited - a Domino usually will work perfectly.

    However, there are still some things a biscuit will do better, faster & easier.

    Just wondering how many are also in the camp that BOTH are equally good & useful. Or, do you find one or the other suits your needs best? I don't want to start a "biscuit vs domino" war

    I love em' both!
    Ive been wracking my brains over this and I cant think of a single instance where a biscuit is quicker or easier or better than a domino - what applications were you thinking about? I've just dragged out my Dewalt for the first time in 5 years to do the slot cutting for my deck fasteners and hating every second of it.
    Cheers

    Tim

    www.timbowdin.com

    'If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem'

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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lost in the Woods View Post
    I haven't used my PC557 since I bought my Domino a few years back. I'm about to though. I need itfor making slotsfor the IpeClips I'm going to use to fasten my deck boards. I just don't want to use my biscuit joiner over my Domino. About tospring for the XL model as well I might add.

    Kevin - I did think about using the domino for this and am still wondering whether it would be okay - I know the slots will be a mm too high but as long as the boards are held down tight it shouldn't be an issue - I may do a couple of test pieces.
    Cheers

    Tim

    www.timbowdin.com

    'If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem'

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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim in Milton View Post
    Kevin - I did think about using the domino for this and am still wondering whether it would be okay - I know the slots will be a mm too high but as long as the boards are held down tight it shouldn't be an issue - I may do a couple of test pieces.
    I wonder partially whether it is the ease of use of the Dewalt versus other brands maybe? I know the Lamello's stand apart from all others for buiscuiters, and while I've been happy with the performance of my PC557, it just doesn't compare imo to the Domino.

    I also have given some thought on where the biscuits are better than Domino's, and I can't come up with any situation.

    I'd like to hear your feedback on the Domino for IpeClips experimentation Tim. I'd be thinking about what may be problems with wood movement using the Domino for mortising rather than the biscuiter for slots and in particular freeze thaw cycle issues would be my concerns also with possibly the mortises not allowing water to drain more freely????

    Which type of IpeClip are you using and what is its width and required depth Tim?
    Kevin

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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim in Milton View Post
    Ive been wracking my brains over this and I cant think of a single instance where a biscuit is quicker or easier or better than a domino - what applications were you thinking about? I've just dragged out my Dewalt for the first time in 5 years to do the slot cutting for my deck fasteners and hating every second of it.
    Well, I use biscuits a lot for lining up parts (where it isn't necessary for a structural aid, but more to align parts while the glue dries - ie, as an assembly aid). Biscuits allow quite a bit of side to side play, which allows lining up parts, and it isn't necessary to be on your mark 100%. Biscuits are quite a bit cheaper than Dominos and also, much faster to cut, especially when you go to the larger Domino sizes.

    I do have to say, there is NO biscuit joiner on the market that comes close to a genuine Lamello. I have had the original, the top 10, (both used until motor failure after daily use for 20+ yrs) and currently the top 20. The Lamello vs a Dewalt, PC, etc is like driving a BMW vs a Fiesta... Seriously. There is a reason they cost $1K vs a few hundred. Same reason the Domino is pricey, it is a quality made machine. The PC is probably the best alternative, but it is still with its faults. A Dewalt is just rough, noisy and has no where near the adjustments and precise machining of a Lamello.

    I use Dominos where biscuits are not suitable, ie, for narrow joints (I use a small Domino in all my face frame joints), for structural joints in chairs and stools, and in table skirts to legs, etc.

    As I said, I would not want to be without either - for me both are equally useful and have made themselves pay.

    AJC
    Andrew J. Coholic

    Joe Coholic Custom Furniture Ltd.
    Timmins, ON

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    I have significant experience with both, and If all else is equal for you, go for the Festool dominoes. They're stronger and provide more rigid registration (which can be Hell when you could use a bit of flexibility) and less susceptible to surface rippling (biscuits are compressed and expand when glued; dominoes don't).

    That said, I've been very unimpressed with the consistency of alignment that I've been able to coax out of the Festool domino machine, even when trying dozens of different ways to ensure that the machine doesn't tip out of plane when cutting. I've noticed that the following on my shop's domino machine affect its performance significantly: the cutter's edge, there's a bit of play in the slides, the positive stop on the reference fence is incorrect and must be set with a square and a test piece done do confirm accuracy, the fence is measurably twisted across its surface.

    The domino machine's performance and speed also relies heavily on dust extraction to keep the reference surfaces clear (more investment in suction and extra set-up time) whereas I find I can still get good, fast joinery from an un-vented biscuit joiner because the circular cutter seems to create enough turbulence/draw itself to clear dust.

    In general, I encourage people to go with the biscuit joiner because they're much more affordable and accessible for ever day users. At $900 per machine and $45 per cutter (which can't be sharpened; tried it, cutter came back ever-so-slightly smaller diametre, and had to sand dominoes for a week till boss went out and bought a new bit) that Festool's pretty costly. For production work though, I'd opt for the domino machine instead.

    EDIT: The most interesting use I've seen for a domino was to use them as a floating tenon on a cross-brace that was fastened to a wide-board table top. I thought that was very cleaver. Personally, I've also used dominoes to create a reference lip along the bottom of a cabinet's gables for a removable valence that had grooves in its ends to allow it to slid along the row of dominoes and reference flush with the bottom of the cabinet. It was quick and simple to set-up and cut with the domino machine, and could not be done with a biscuit joiner.
    Last edited by mynameisusername; 08-15-2012 at 09:11 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    I use a biscuit joiner more as an alignment aid for quick work than for any strength reason. I like it for that. My fine joinery is all done using hand tools so I never felt the urge to buy a Domino cutter. I am definitely not in a production environment so I would defer to others for that case.

    Ken

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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    Quote Originally Posted by KenL View Post
    I use a biscuit joiner more as an alignment aid for quick work than for any strength reason. I like it for that. My fine joinery is all done using hand tools so I never felt the urge to buy a Domino cutter. I am definitely not in a production environment so I would defer to others for that case.

    Ken
    Ken,
    I completely agree, as that is also my main use of the biscuits - for aligning parts. They are faster to cut, allow some movement in the lengthways, and are cheap. For those instances, a Domino will work as well but they are slower to cut, dont allow movement, and cost a lot more per piece.
    Andrew J. Coholic

    Joe Coholic Custom Furniture Ltd.
    Timmins, ON

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajcoholic View Post
    Ken,
    I completely agree, as that is also my main use of the biscuits - for aligning parts. They are faster to cut, allow some movement in the lengthways, and are cheap. For those instances, a Domino will work as well but they are slower to cut, dont allow movement, and cost a lot more per piece.
    If you use a standard width slot on one piece and a wide slot on the mating piece you can actually get quite a bit of lengthwise adjustment.

    John

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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    Quote Originally Posted by John JMK View Post
    If you use a standard width slot on one piece and a wide slot on the mating piece you can actually get quite a bit of lengthwise adjustment.

    John
    I know you can increase the slot width (three settings) but its still not as fast or inexpensive and a biscuit - for that purpose.

    AJC
    Andrew J. Coholic

    Joe Coholic Custom Furniture Ltd.
    Timmins, ON

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Biscuits & Dominos...

    I occasionally pick up a woodworking mag when waiting my turn at the cash and FWW turned out to be a real bargain. It turned my biscuit jointer into a real deal. If any one can link the article from last month to this thread about mounting the tool to a table, I think the much dissed jointer may give the naysayers a second thought.

    Pics are not that great, but i bolted a jointer to a table to make it a stationary tool, and added a quick clamp and dust collector to it.

    Very good article that makes biscuit jointing very fast and accurate.

    Lyndsay
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #15
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajcoholic View Post
    I know you can increase the slot width (three settings) but its still not as fast or inexpensive and a biscuit - for that purpose.

    AJC
    I suppose it depends on how you work. I agree that the dominos are more costly than the biscuits but I also reckon the domino machine is just as quick since there is no need to mark anything. I have the trim stops and I made a chart up for number of spaces and settings for any given length of panel/ piece. So while I end up maybe cutting more slots but don't put dominos in every one ams i have no need to reference mark faces etc Plus (and this is the biggest difference i reckon) I don't have a really nice biscuit jointer and the Dx is crappy so I probably have about $800 of dominos to use before I'm in for a lamello and I don't have to use my dewalt which is basically a modified angle grinder ;-)
    Cheers

    Tim

    www.timbowdin.com

    'If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem'

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