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  • Kitchen cabinets - biscuits or dados?

    Hi all,

    I am getting ready to use my 2424 for what I really bought it for - making new kitchen cabinets. After a few warm up projects and a lot of research, I am now wondering whether to use traditional dado construction or biscuits. Your comments are appreciated.

    Best regards,

    Henry

  • #2
    By dado, I guess you are considering a half lap joint? When I made my cabinets for my basement, I used half lap joinery and am pleased.

    I would also look at pocket hole joinery, seems to make a strong joint and may be a bit simpler to line up than the biscuits.

    Take a look at the Kreg: http://www.kregtool.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      I would go for the dado..easier,quicker and I think stronger.

      Comment


      • #4
        There is a lot of conflicting information, on the actual strength of biskets. While I use them for a lot of purposes, mounting shelving isn't one of them. Kitchen cabinets, at least in our house, have to withstand a great deal of weight and stresses---I'd go with dados---and don't get hung up with too many adjustable shelves---fixed shelves add strength and prevent racking.

        Dave
        Dave

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        • #5
          "traditional dado construction or biscuits", in which part of the cabinet?

          Four distinct and separate modules in "traditional" cabinets:
          Carcase
          Face frame
          Carcase-to-face frame
          Door

          Additionally, if carcase, the material used makes a big difference.

          Dave

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi all,

            Let me clarify: Cabinets are Eurostyle, built from 3/4 birch plywood including the back. I am mainly concerned about the carcass at this point. Shelves were planned to be adjustable but am now rethinking based on strength concerns voiced in this forum.

            Thanks for all the help so far.

            Best regards,

            Henry

            Comment


            • #7
              That takes my list of four down to two.

              Biscuits were invented in the fifties, in Europe. Care to guess what application they were made for?
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              Dave
              That's right, assembling cabinets made of sheet goods. [img]smile.gif[/img]

              Comment


              • #8
                David,

                So, in your opinion, biscuits would be appropriate for carcasses and shelves? I recall a post of yours regarding your friend who uses biscuits on entertianment centers.

                I could go with dados or biscuits and have had pretty good results with both methods (after screwing up a couple hundred bucks worth of good stock - paying the dues I guess as I am an optimistic beginner).

                The dados have been more difficult to glue up, that's why I am leaning toward biscuits. How far would you space them? For kitchen cabinets I would think about 6".

                Thanks all, I haven't yet given up on dados, lord knows I spent $175 on a Super Dado, and

                Best regards,

                Henry

                Comment


                • #9
                  David,

                  So, in your opinion, biscuits would be appropriate for carcasses and shelves? I recall a post of yours regarding your friend who uses biscuits on entertianment centers.

                  I could go with dados or biscuits and have had pretty good results with both methods (after screwing up a couple hundred bucks worth of good stock - paying the dues I guess as I am an optimistic beginner).

                  The dados have been more difficult to glue up, that's why I am leaning toward biscuits. How far would you space them? For kitchen cabinets I would think about 6".

                  Thanks all, I haven't yet given up on dados, lord knows I spent $175 on a Super Dado, and

                  Best regards,

                  Henry

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Dave,
                    Thanks for the trivia question and answer. I often wondered who thunk them up...
                    Regards,<br /><br />Big Johnson<br /><br />Pictures: <a href=\"http://www.woodworkersweb.com/modules.php?set_albumName=albuv85&op=modload&name= gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php\" target=\"_blank\">http://www.woodworkersweb.com/modules.php?set_albumName=albuv85&op=modload&name= gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php</a>

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Big, where? Add on that the inventor was Herman Steiner and that the original company to build the machine was Steiner Lamello, get extra credit.

                      Back to seriouser stuff...

                      Henry, way I look at it, biscuits are cheap and cabinets live a long time. Few things more annoying than a carcase coming apart, I'd probably go a little tighter than 6", more toward 4". I have to admit an aversion to measuring when I don't have to, so I'd just strike a line every 4-5 inches or so by eyeball.

                      Dave

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Boy Dave, an "aversion to measuring when I don't have to"? Your starting to sound like Bob on the "ROUTER WORKSHOP"!
                        Every project I start is a gamble.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          BTW, Lamello still makes, I think, what is considered by many to be THE benchmark biscuit jointer. Never seen one but have heard folks talk about them in "hushed tones."

                          Also, for what its worth, I ran across and posted earlier on a thread about biscuit use a study done on joint strength which included biscuit joints. If anyone is interested, I'll try to pull it back up. Bottm line, the biscuits were at the top of the list. The wood actually tore apart at the point of failure which was several thousand pounds in this particular test. This was a controlled test with testing and measuring equipment set up specically for this purpose. If anyone has taken one of those biscuits and wet it enough to see it swell (by design) you get the idea why it makes such a strong and sturdy joint.

                          Wood Dog

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've used a Lamello Top20, which is their top of the line. It is a very nice machine, but for the "average Joe", not worth the price difference over, say, a Porter-Cable 557. (Amazon sells 557 for $205, Colonial Saw sells the new Top20s for $629). Fit and finish are stunning, ergonomics so-so (in particular, the power switch is in an odd position, it is easiest to just lock the machine on). It has a neat blade height adjustment for use without the fence, but I'm not sure how many people use that mode.

                            Dog, you cannot specify a joint as "strongest", without knowing the usage. Circumstances dictate proper methods. Failure of any well-made joint that uses glue will result in wood splintering, because the glue is stronger than the wood itself.

                            Fine Woodworking recently ran some tests that simulated a rail-to-leg joint. Biscuits failed easier than any of their other choices. However, the failure still required massive stress, more than I would ever expect a kitchen cabinet to receive. I sure wouldn't use them to attach legs to a chair, though.

                            Dave

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This has been a great thread. Thanks for all your responses and the history lesson, David. After further research I find out that biscuits vs traditional joinery is quite the topic of contention.

                              One more question. Do you need to glue the whole joint or just the biscuits and the slot?

                              Best regards,

                              Henry
                              (Still unsure as to which method to use)

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