Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Something for Your Biscuits

Here’s a useful little workshop aid that I hadn’t seen before I re-enrolled at college, close to four-years ago now. I’ve bought biscuits from several different manufacturers. Lamello are my current favourites and I’ve also used Trend – the less said about Silverline, though, the better!! One problem I often run in to – and, I’m sure you’ve found the same for yourself – is that some biscuits will be significantly tighter than others. Where most will slip in and out of a slot with ease, there’s always one or two that need a hammer to drive them in. On the other side of the coin; getting them out again can be a burden in itself – I’ve had many biscuits ‘shatter’ whilst I’m trying to lever them out with a pair of pincers, leaving ‘fragments’ of compressed beech that are no easier to remove.

All you need here is a scrap of 18mm MDF (thinner stuff may also suffice). I’ve added a softwood ‘hook’ below the front edge so that I can safely hold this jig in my vice. On top, there are three shallow recesses; each one cut ‘freehand’ with a router to a depth of no more than 3mm. One size fits each of the three common sizes for biscuits (0, 10 and 20) and a small hole either side of the recess allows you to lever them out again safely. All you do is press the biscuit in to the correct recess and take a couple of thin shavings.

Before any says it, yes, I do store my biscuits in air-tight containers (pickled onion jars, etc,) that prevent moisture from getting in. Yet, I still suffer from swollen biscuits, which is why I’ve made this jig. I imagine that part of the problem though, is that I buy my biscuits in bulk boxes of one-thousand at a time (particularly for the no.20s, which I use all the time). Honestly, it is so much cheaper than buying them in bags of one-hundred, if you do a lot of biscuit-jointing, that is.

I’ve seen people achieve the same objective by resorting to the art of sanding – which most commonly involves inverting a wooden sanding block, covering it in a coarse sheet of abrasive paper and then running the biscuit back and forth over the top. Well, the jig I’ve made creates no dust and you’re not at risk of abrading the ends of your finger tips, considering that you’re working with a material that’s only 4mm thick.

I hope you’ve found this quick-tip to be useful.

Thanks for reading.

Advertisements

3 responses to “Something for Your Biscuits

  1. Lazy Larry 15/05/2011 at 10:26

    Very cool little jig.. makes sense to me..so simple yet so efficient…

  2. correawoodworks 25/05/2011 at 20:41

    I worked with a trim carpenter who came up with a great way to work with swollen biscuits. he would cut a small piece of brass feeler gauge. I am guessing it was about .050″. he would place it between the blade and the arbor flange on the top side. This created a type of “wobble dado”. The gauge thickness would obviously depend on how tight the biscuits are but it worked like a charm makking the kerf of the saw blade an extra bit of space for those fat biscuits.

    The small planing fixture is none-the-less fantastic.

    -Sam

    • Olly Parry-Jones 26/05/2011 at 20:38

      Hi Sam,

      That’s a fascinating solution! Thinking about it, I don’t see why it’s not more… Popular; as wobble saws and blades are still predominantly used in industry and in some home workshops, most commonly on the spindle moulder or shaper. Think I’ll play it safe and stick with my new jig, though. 😉

      Thanks for reading and for your recent comments.

I welcome your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: