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Alternatives to Biscuit Joints for Thin Wood?

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  • #615100

    I was joining two pieces of wood, just under 3/8″ thick. At 4 feet long, I wanted something to provide board to board alignment, but my biscuit jointer didn’t want to line up in the middle without shimming it. With shimming I think there is just enough left on these pieces to make it work this time. What other methods do you guys use for alignment when edge gluing two thin pieces?

    #615104
    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    I think I would opt for a half lap joint over a biscuit in something so thin. I just edge glued some 4/4 poplar with my Dewalt biscuit joiner…which I apparently can’t use properly. There was some lippage for some reason…

    If you have the extra width in the lumber, I would cut a small half lap joint in each piece and glue them up afterwords.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
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    #615107
    JimDaddyO
    Pro
    Wawa, ON

    You could try some gluing cauls on the flat faces. A few edge jointed pieces of wood with a layer of packing tape on the face that touches your glued up pieces clamped to both sides. The long grain to long grain gluing surface of the edges you’re putting together will be strong enough.

    Another method is to prepare your stock for gluing. Put them on a flat surface of the same length (ply or mdf or similar). Put a small stick (1/4 to 1/2 inch) under the pieces to be glued (no glue yet). Put a series of nails or scraps of wood down either side of the 2 pieces to be glued. Remove the pieces and again, a strip of packing tape down the middle of your new “jig” (or wax it heavily). Glue the edges of your pieces and put them between the nails (without the strip of wood under it). Push it down and clamp it down using cauls again. The nails, being slightly narrower spaced than the actual width of the glue up will provide enough clamping pressure. This is how I did my guitar top.

    The photo may be more descriptive. This is my guitar top in the jig drying.

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    #615109
    smallerstick
    Pro
    North Bay, ON

    I would probably just glue edge to edge using lots of clamps and cauls to maintain alignment. Half lap would give greater glue surface but alignment is still an issue.

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    #615113
    Austin
    Pro
    Covington, KY

    4 mm dominos u have used them before in 3/8 material and it works great

    #615115
    WoodsConstruction
    Pro
    Sudbury, ON

    I think I would opt for a half lap joint over a biscuit in something so thin. I just edge glued some 4/4 poplar with my Dewalt biscuit joiner…which I apparently can’t use properly. There was some lippage for some reason…

    If you have the extra width in the lumber, I would cut a small half lap joint in each piece and glue them up afterwords.

    I’d definitely go with the Half lap aswell. Simple and effective, with plenty of glue surface.

    #615134
    r-ice
    Pro
    Durham region, ON

    4 mm dominos u have used them before in 3/8 material and it works great

    I was coming in here to suggest this, if you have or can get a hold of a domino system, this would be the best way.

    #615162
    Kamster
    Pro

    How about using 1/4 inch dowels plus glue? It would be tight. The 1/4 inch dowel would be larger than the 4mm domino or the biscuit but it be cheaper than the Festool and if you use a doweling jig like a Jessem you wouldn’t need to shim anything to get alignment of the dowel centred on the board

    #615176
    jponto07
    Moderator
    Bloomington, IN

    How about using 1/4 inch dowels plus glue? It would be tight. The 1/4 inch dowel would be larger than the 4mm domino or the biscuit but it be cheaper than the Festool and if you use a doweling jig like a Jessem you wouldn’t need to shim anything to get alignment of the dowel centred on the board

    On a piece that was only 3/8″ thick? That’s asking for trouble IMHO. The 1/16″ of wood on either side isn’t enough for comfort. If your holes aren’t Perfectly centered, you’ll pop through the side of the work piece.

    Jon P.
    Timber Carpentry & Construction
    https://www.facebook.com/timbercarpentry/
    Instagram

    #615200

    How about using 1/4 inch dowels plus glue? It would be tight. The 1/4 inch dowel would be larger than the 4mm domino or the biscuit but it be cheaper than the Festool and if you use a doweling jig like a Jessem you wouldn’t need to shim anything to get alignment of the dowel centred on the board

    On a piece that was only 3/8″ thick? That’s asking for trouble IMHO. The 1/16″ of wood on either side isn’t enough for comfort. If your holes aren’t Perfectly centered, you’ll pop through the side of the work piece.

    A dowelmax will manage well, and you only need a couple for alignment

    But I would not bother. Cauls for alignment, and a spring joint. Done

    #615202

    I didn’t know dominoes came in 4mm, those would be great. The Domino system is so expensive though it would be hard for me to justify.

    The 1/4″ dowels I think would be worse than biscuits since the biscuits are around 4mm.

    I have done just edge gluing on thin boards clamping near the ends for alignment. These ones were over 4ft long so something like JimDaddyO showed would have been good.

    The biscuits worked ok, I flattened out the glue joint area today and didn’t see biscuits showing through which was exciting! I was trying to be more thoughtful with biscuit positioning ahead of time so I don’t cut into them again like on my last project.

    #615245
    Doobie
    Moderator

    Use a caul set up as mentioned, but I’d simply use my 4mm dominos as mentioned also previously since I have that myself. Much quicker and easier imo.

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