If you work with wood, you’ll know that there are situations where you’ll need to join two pieces of wood together. There are different types of joints you can make to attach two kinds of wood. The type you choose will vary based on the type of joint you want and the nature of the project, among many other considerations.
Among the tens of different joint types available are two popular joints; biscuit joint and domino joint. These two joints always seem to spark arguments among woodworkers about which one to buy. Surprisingly, they are not so similar, offering different styles and strong points.
Biscuit joiner and domino joiner are tools that help you make these joints. Biscuit joiner excels when working with glue for alignment but falls short when making angles.
Domino joiner, on the other hand, is a more versatile joiner. They may all be joiners, but these two have so many contrasting features which makes the question of which to buy a little less straightforward.
Luckily, this guide lays out everything you need to know about the two joiners and makes simplified comparisons. This is so you easily know which among the two you should buy and why.
What is a Biscuit Joiner?
A biscuit joiner is a tool used by woodworkers to make joints made of biscuits and glue. The tool features a rotating blade with a spring-loaded system that cuts elongated and flat biscuit-like shapes into the boards.
Biscuit joiners have limited use cases, but this has not stopped its soaring popularity. Generally used for joining two large boards together. These boards are usually sheet wood.
Biscuit joints are not the strongest since the biscuits holding them together are thin and can break easily. In biscuit joints, a shape is cut out between the two boards, and a composite biscuit material is used to fill up the shape with the help of glue.
Composite materials are compressed and dried to form an oval-shaped material called biscuit, which is ever present in a biscuit joint. While the tool cuts out the shape from the edge of the two boards to be joined, it is the biscuit and glue that holds the joint in place. A half oval shape is cut out from each board so they can form a complete oval when joined together.
Biscuit joiners cut a depth of 20mm and can support biscuit sizes of 0, 10, and 20. They typically sport rack and pinion fences that help the alignment of the cut. Some more advanced biscuit joiners use higher-quality heavy-duty aluminum fences for even better alignment.
Apart from this upgraded alignment unit, these high-end versions also have foot-activated or hand-held production units. You can choose between the corded and cordless options with each having its strong points.
Pros & Cons
- Clean, professional outlook the type of joint presents a clean joining between the two boards. The clean look improves the appeal of the overall project.
- Fast and easy to use since its mode is like a plug-and-play model without the need for extra efforts like metric measurements.
- It is quite affordable when you compare it with other joiners like the domino joiner. People on a strict budget will find this quite useful as you don’t have to spend too much to get one for your work.
- Dust collection is available to collect dust while cutting and leave a clean cut. This will reduce the dust flying around and improve the quality of the cut since you can see the area clearly.
- The shallow joints made by biscuit joiners reduce the strength of the joint.
- Less integrity of the biscuit makes the joint to be less secure when compared to similar types. The biscuits can break easily.
What is a Domino Joiner?
A domino joiner is another powerful wood joining tool that joins two kinds of wood together, making floating tenon joints. The tool for these joints is made by a German company known as Festool.
The joints formed are mortise and tenon joints with the joints known as domino joiners. The tool itself has a blade that spins like a drill bit and cuts in different ways, including up, down, and sideways.
The tenons formed by this joiner are thicker and thus stronger, helping you make durable joints. Domino joiners are versatile and can work with a lot of different wood types and sizes.
Professional woodworkers find this tool helpful and this is why it is quite popular. Although its high price may be a drawback for some people, others who can afford it have no doubt about its quality.
Domino joints are made by making two matching slots in the side of the woods to be joined. These elongated slots will take the tenon that is fixed inside the two kinds of wood and glued.
Now, you may be wondering how a domino joint is different from a mortise and tenon joint. It differs as the tenon for the domino joints is separate, and the two kinds of wood have matching elongated slots. For regular mortise and tenon joints, one of the wood serves as the tenon while the other wood carries the slot inside it.
With the domino joints, you can carry the size of the tenon and slots alike to match the size of the wood and the level of strength you want for the joint.
The tenon is made by Festool, the tool manufacturer and you only have to use the tool to make the matching elongated slots in the two kinds of wood.
Pros & Cons
- Domino joiners make durable joints no matter the size of the wood, as you can use different tenon sizes to make the joints. Larger tenons hold bigger wood pieces better. This joint is as strong as the regular mortise and tenon joints.
- Adjustment is fast and accurate with this joiner as everything you need is easy to reach and understand. You can quickly make a joint using the joiner.
- There is a handrail fence that allows you to make curved mortises. You can make angles between 0 and 90 degrees.
- There is a support bracket that helps you make vertical cuts easily and accurately.
- It is a powerful tool that can work into any type of wood with speed and guile. This power also helps it make accurate cuts no matter the thickness.
- Dust collection is available and essential in this powerful joiner that produces a lot of dust.
- The price of this joiner is one of the most jarring drawbacks as it is set at a high price. However, considering its versatility and quality, people who can afford it get a lot of value.
- The power in this joiner can also be a disadvantage when considering the noise it makes. It is quite loud and may be disturbing without the proper ear protection.
- The manufacturer makes the tenon which means they limit the size of joints you can make.
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Differences Between Biscuit Joiners And Domino Joiners
While these two tools are both used to make joints, their similarities are few and far between. They make different joints and have varying levels of durabilities, among several other factors that set them apart.
When it comes to the strength of the two joints, they both possess considerable strength. However, their level of durability is not the same. Domino joints are stronger than biscuit joints because they have a larger surface area and deeper slots, unlike the shallow ones for biscuits. The biscuit material is not as strong as the tenon material.
What material is used to join these two joints? This is a valid question for any woodwork lover. Biscuits are the joiners for biscuit joints, and they are composite materials compressed and dried.
They are flat and usually not the strongest. Tenons are solid wood materials made by Fleetwood, the manufacturer of domino joiners. They are the joiners for domino joints. They are solid and firm.
Domino joiners are expensive when you compare them to other joiners. You’ll need to spend a considerable amount of money to get this joiner. However, most people value this joiner because of its versatility and quality.
Biscuit joiners are more affordable and wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to get. People who have a high budget can buy the two joiners.
Which Joiner Should You Buy?
Which one should you buy if you cannot afford the two? Instead of blindly choosing any and hoping you’ve made the right choice, you could check the one that best caters to your needs. If you do a lot of cabinets, the biscuit joiner is ideal. For framing like doors, you’ll need the domino joiner.
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Joiners help to make joints that make your woodworking effective. The type of joint is dependent on the joiner used. There are several types of joints available that you can use.
Biscuit joiners and domino joiners always seem to find themselves in the same conversations even though they are not so similar. You can use a guide like this to educate yourself on these joiners.