If you have been around a wood shop long enough or have been reading up online about different kinds of joinery tools.
You may well have heard both the term plate joiner and biscuit joiner and assumed they were in fact different tools.
Both a plate joiner and a biscuit joiner are the same thing just with different names.
Biscuit joiner vs plate joiner - in the US they are more commonly referred to as a biscuit joiner in the UK and Europe you will probably hear the term plate joiner used more often.
A biscuit joiner can sometimes also be called a biscuit jointer.
Regardless of what you call them they are used to cut slots in stock wood using a spinning blade that is pushed outwards and into the wood.
One cut is made in each piece of wood which makes an identical hole in each piece of wood that you are trying to join.
Into the hole a special piece of wood called a 'biscuit'. The biscuit is then glued into both pieces that you are trying to join.
You can make cuts at varying angles depending how versatile your cutter is.
Depending on how you adjust the fence you can also make cuts of varying depths.
Biscuits come in a variety of sizes and are usually pretty cheap to buy.
The kinds of joins that are made will normally be at 180 degrees or edge to edge as it is known. They are also used when joining at 90 degrees when making a small table or a drawer as an example.
There is also another type of plate joiner called a domino joiner and they are made by the company Festool.
Instead of a flat shaped biscuit that is placed into both slots they use a specially shaped biscuit that looks like a hybrid between the more traditional dowel and a regular biscuit.
The joins are significantly stronger, however they do take slightly longer to setup and make.
A Festool domino joiner is also considerably more expensive that a cheaper biscuit cutter.
Biscuit joiner or domino joiner - which one is right for your next project?
Making clean, square and strong joins is certainly something to be proud of in the craft of woodworking.
Although you can use traditional hand tools to make mortise and tenon joints using dowels or biscuits to make your joints can speed up your work significantly.
A biscuit joiner once set up correctly is a much quicker way to join two panels for example.
However biscuit do not provide quite as much strength as a dowel type joint.
However there is something in between the two - a Domino.
Festool developed what is known as a Domino joiner. A Domino gives you all of the strength of a dowel type join and also gives you the added bonus of being usable in much smaller joins unlike a biscuit.
The difference between using a good biscuit joiner and a Domino joiner is:
Biscuit joins are generally quite limited in the number of applications that they can have.
A biscuit does not offer much strength due to the fact that the biscuits are normally quite thin and their shape which is usually a thin flat piece can be quite easy to break across the flattest plane.
Where they are most useful is joining two large boards together. For example when joining to large sheet boards that make up each half of a table top.
It is the biscuit join that is used more often than not in this scenario as it can really help with alignment which is certainly crucial for something so visible as a table top.
A Domino joiner is somewhat of a hybrid between two different types of joins; a biscuit join and a more tradition dowel joint.
Although a Domino will cut mortises in a similar way to a biscuit joiner the actual shape of the mortise is specifically designed to only accept the Domino tenon.
The tenon is much thicker and stronger than a traditional biscuit. This added strength is one of the major benefits of a Domino joiner over a biscuit joiner.
The most obvious disadvantage of a Domino joiner versus the biscuit joiner is the cost.
A Festool Domino joiner is extremely expensive and a high quality biscuit joiner can be up to 1/5 the rice of the introductory Festool model.
That being said they are made to a very high quality standard. And should last years of usage even in a commercial setting.
If you are a professional woodworker who builds a lot of furniture then the Domino joiner is really the one that makes the most sense.
They allow you to make quite, accurate and easily repeatable joins over and over all day long.
DeWalt DWE6421K vs DWE6423K which random orbital sander should you buy ?
DeWalt have quite a few orbital sander available on the market right now. It can be a little confusing given that the model names are all so similar.
If you are in a hurry then our recommendation is to go for the DWE6423K with it's variable speed control and low profile form factor make it a breeze to use.
Lets take a more detailed look at each machine and see what they have to offer.
The DeWalt DWE6421K is powered by a 3 Amp motor.
It is a single speed orbital sander unlike the DWE6423K which is variable speed. It runs at 12,000 OPM(oscillations per minute)
The DWE6421K accepts the standard 5 inch eight hole sanding pads that are readily available. They use a hook and loop fixing system for less slippage especially after prolonged use.
There is a dust collection bag included and the dust port can also be hooked up to a shop vacuum once the dust bag is removed and you have the correct connector.
As sanders go it is a very high quality model at a very favorable price point.
The DeWalt DWE6423K is a variable speed random orbital sander.
It is powered by the same 3 Amp motor as the DWE6421K above. It's speed ranges from 8,000 to 12,000 OPM.
To help reduce unsightly swirls and marring that can sometimes happen at start up time DeWalt have added it's CFS(Controlled Finishing System). This generally happens if you have not let the sander reach peak speed before you apply pressure to it on the surface that is to be sanded.
Just like the DWE6421K above the DWE6423K has a very easy to hold ergonomic design that helps the operator find the most natural position which can help to reduce fatigue over long usage periods.
To confuse things more there is also the D26453K available and is a pretty similar sander to the DWE6423K you can read about them both here.
To the uninformed the two sanders are near identical but what exactly is the difference ?
The only real difference is the fact that the DWE6423K is a variable speed orbital sander. The DWE6421K is a fixed speed model. Which means you can only run it at 12,000 OPM.
The DWE6423K however has variable speed control from 8,000 to 12,000 OPM.
Why does this matter ?
Certain types of woods and finishes respond better to a slower speed than a higher one. You can also vary the finish dramatically by the type of sand paper that you are using.
This versatility is a significant bonus over a fixed speed sander.
Both are effectively the same machine. They share the same motor and at max speed 12,000 should give an identical finish. The variable speed machine the DWE6423K is the one to go for.
DeWalt DCK240C2 vs DCK280C2 which Dewalt drill/impact driver combo is best?
In the market for a new impact drill/driver kit? Of all of the leading manufacturers DeWalt has got you covered. It has numerous offers along with the other big names such as Makita, Porter Cable and Milwaukee.
When it comes to power tool combo kits the DCK240C2 and DCK280C2 are a great entry level choice for those in need of a cordless combo kit.
Both kits are fairly similar at first glance. Lets take a brief look at each and then make the comparison with a final decision below.
The DeWalt DCK240C2 combo kit includes the DCF885 impact driver and the DCD771C2 drill/driver.
The DCF885 is a light weight and compact 1/4 inch impact driver that has a 1/4 inch hex chuck. The chuck accepts 1 inch bit tips.
Weighing roughly 2.8 pounds the DCF885 is easy to maneuver in small spaces and can be used for extended periods without too much fatigue in the arms/shoulders when working over head.
Included on the DCF885 is a strong 3 LED light ring that focuses on the work surface whilst casting a minimal shadow. The LED is also delayed by 20 seconds so for sort bursts it won't come on. There is also a handy belt hook included on the DCF885.
The DCD771C2 is a 20 volt Lithium-Ion compact drill/driver. It has a two speed transmission that has settings of 0-450 and 0-1,500 RPM.
Power wise the DCD771C2 outputs 300 unit watts out(UWO). DeWalt has choosen to rate it's power tools with UWO unlike the majority of other manufacturers.
The chuck on the DCD771C2 is 1/2 inch single sleeve ratcheting.
Included in the kit is a single 20-Volt Max charger and 2 20-Volt Max lithium-ion 1.3Ah battery packs. There is also a hard wearing contractor bag for transport/storage.
The DeWalt DCK280C2 combo kit contains the DCD780 drill/driver and the DCF885 impact driver.
Everything on the DCF885 impact driver is the same as discussed above.
The DCD780 drill/driver is a step up in power and speed from the DCD771C2 found in the DCK240C2 combo kit above.
The faster DCD780 also has a two speed transmission that allows users to operate at either 0-600 RPM or 0-2,000 RPM. Power output is beefed up a little to 350 UWO.
The two battery packs with the DCK280C2 are 1.5Ah and there is a 30 minute fast charger included.
You also get a contractors bag 2 belt hooks and a bit tip holder.
DeWalt DCK240C2 vs DCK280C2 which should you buy?
The difference as outlined above between the DeWaltDCK240C2 and DCK280C2 is the drill/driver.
The DCD771C2 is a little heavier, slower, less powerful and the batteries in the kit have a lightly shorter run time than those found in the DCK280C2.
If you are on a very strick budget then the DCK240C2 is still a pretty good combo kit. However for a few more bucks you can get a much better version of the drill plus the longer battery life of those found in the DCK280C2.
Given the choice we would opt for the DCK280C2 as the winner every time.
DeWalt DW734 vs Ridgid R4331 which is the right portable planer to choose?
Brand wise there are a few offerings from both manufacturers from DeWalt the DW734, DW735 and DW735X. From Rigid there is the R4330 and R4331.
The DW734 from DeWalt is powered by a 15 Amp motor giving a max speed of 20,000 RPM. At the cutting head that translates to 10,000 RPM maximum.
It has a variable cutting depth from between 0 and 1/8 of an inch and can accept boards of 12.5 inches wide and a maximum thickness of 6 inches.
DeWalt claim a 30% increase in the life of the cutter heads as they are reversible. The cutter head is a three knife design.
The infeed and outfeed tables at on an extra 33.5 inches of board support helping to reduce snipe on longer lumber lengths.
To further help reduce snipe and keep lateral movement to a minimum there is a four column carriage lock that can be manually adjusted to ensure a true and square feed.
You can see how the DW734 compares against the newer DW735 also from Dewalt here DW734 vs DW735.
The R4331 planer from Rigid is also referred to as the Rigid 13 inch planer just to avoid any confusion you may have.
The R3441 is powered by a 15 Amp motor and has a maximum speed of 9,000 RPM.
Has uses a three blade cutter head that gives a maximum 96 cuts per inch giving 27,000 cuts per minute at a feed rate of 23.5 feet per minute. It has a maximum depth of cut of 1/8 of an inch.
The blades are also reversible so you can expect to prolong the cutting life of them once switched around. However, nothing beats a fresh blade.
The Rigid comes with an infeed and an outfeed table to help reduce snipe on your longer pieces.
It uses a chip impeller system to help remove waste material away from the cutting head which should result in a cleaner cut.
There are 8 depth stops and a top handle that can make an adjustment of 1/16 of an inch per full turn of the handle.
DeWalt DW734 vs Ridgid R4331 which is the right one to buy ?
When looking at DeWalt vs Ridgid planers they both are of a similar spec. Price wise the DeWalts range from 400 up to 600 dollars depending on where you purchase them from and the Rigid planers tend to hover around the $500 to $600 mark.
For us the winner is the DeWalt. With a slightly higher blade speed and the greater chance of getting it at a discount online it just about beats out the Rigid.
Wondering which planer to choose the Wen 6550 vs 6552 ?
Lets take a brief look at both models and then see where the differences arise.
The Wen 6550 is a 12.5 inch thickness planer that is powered by a 15 Amp motor giving a cutting speed of 18,000 cuts at a feed rate of 26 feet per minute.
It has a dual blade design and can plane boards up to 6 inches thick. The blades can be reversed to help extend their operational life.
A smooth granite table is virtually warp free and the base is made from heavy cast iron for added sturdiness.
There are height adjustable infeed and outfeed tables that can help to eliminate snipe during usage. There is also a tri-roller system to keep the feed as smooth as possible.
For each pass at the blades a depth knob adjuster enables you to strip off up to 3/32 of an inch per round.
The 6550 can be mounted on either a planer table or bolted down to a work bench for a more permanent solution.
The Wen 6552 is a 13 inch table top planer that has a cutting speed of 25,500 cuts per minute at a feed rate of 26 feet per minute.
It has virtually all of the same specifications as the Wen 6550 apart from the larger feed width and the lower number of cuts per minute.
Wen 6550 vs 6552 which do you choose?
Well clearly they practically the same machine the decision you have to make is do you need the slightly wider board size of 13 inches ?
If you are on a budget the Wen regardless of the width certainly makes sense however if you are looking for something from one of the bigger brands then the DeWalt DW734 or DW735 may be more suitable.
Looking at the both orbital sanders it's plain to see that they share a lot of very basic design elements. DeWalt D26453K vs DWE6423K so which oe should you buy?
Each sander gives a fairly good finish and is built to a high quality.
Before we pick a winner lets have a quick look below at each sander and see how they look.
It is powered by a variable speed 3 Amp motor. With an operating range of between 7,000 and 12,000 OPM(Oscillations per minute) it offers a pretty versatile operating speed range so that you can match the sanding speed to the specific hardness of wood you are sanding.
The pads that the D26453K accept are the standard 5 inch eight hole and use a hook and loop system for less lateral slippage.
DeWalt have integrated their CFS(Controlled Finishing System) into the D26453K. CFS helps to reduce the gouging and marring of the wood surface as you start up the sander.
Holding a sander on the surface to be finished is not a good idea so you are much better off allowing it to hit peak speed before you press it onto the surface.
It has a nice ergonomic design and is easy to hold and maneuver for long periods of time. The main handle on the top is coated in a non-slip rubber like material that is easy to grip for just about anyone.
Included with the D26453K is a quality dust bag that can help reduce the amount of dust in your work shop by a large margin. It is also capable of connecting to any standard shop vacuum to further help reduce dust.
The DeWalt DWE6423K is the newer version of the D26453K. It has virtually the same motor and sanding performance.
It has a 3 Amp variable speed motor that runs between 8,000 and 12,000 OM. There is also a singe speed model available called the DWE6421K.
It has a lower profile than it's predecessor. It also has less vibrations getting through to the users hands thanks to better internal vibration dampening. It is achieved thanks to a separate counterweight inside the main body of the sander.
Comes with dust bag and carrying bag just like the D26453K.
So what the difference between DeWalt D26453K vs DWE6423K ?
Well the DWE6423K is the newer model in the range. It has a slightly lower profile than the D26453K and DeWalt claim that it will transfer slightly less vibrations through to the operators hands.
So the DWE6423K will probably be a little more comfortable to hold over longer periods of time.
The only real distinguishable thing between either is the variable speed range. On the D26453K the range is 7,000 to 12,000 and on the DWE6423K it is 8,000 to 12,000. That difference shouldn't really matter to most people.
That's pretty much the only difference between the two models.
Personally I would buy which ever is on sale or the one you can get the cheapest. Why? Because performance wise they are effectively the same sander. Same motor, control, same accessories and the same finish.
So choose the cheaper of the two depending on where you are shopping.
The two best mid-range biscuit joiners available head to head its the Porter Cable 557 vs DeWalt DW682K biscuit joiner face-off.
If you are looking for a new biscuit joiner and are not looking to spend a fortune on a Lamello or even try Festool's Domino joiner(that is also a small fortune) then the Porter Cable vs DeWalt biscuit joiners are the top two choices on the market right now.
They both come in at a mid-range price point and both are very capable and quality built tools. So which is best, well let's take a quick look at each ones features first.
The Porter Cable 557 has very powerful 7 Amp motor. With it's high end motor can tackle pretty much any hardwood you can throw at it. The rpm tops out at an impressive 10,000 rpm.
The biggest advantages the Porter Cable has over it's competitors are it's versatility and quality.
The 557 has an industry leading fence adjustment. It's fence can be adjusted to a max setting of 135 degrees with the usual adjustable stops at 90 degrees. The majority of other biscuit joiners are only adjustable to 90 degrees maximum.
The fence also features a micro-height adjustment knob that enables correct positioning leading to greater precision and more versatility. The fence also boasts a lock on trigger and has a specially designed pivot point that gives more accurate height reading than other plate joiners.
For the price the Porter Cable 775 is one of the most accurate and reliable biscuit. It is even a match more the extremely expensive Lamello biscuit joiner if you take price into consideration.
Comes with 4 inch blade, blade wrench, centering plate and a dust bag.
The DeWalt DW682 is powered by a 6.5 Amp motor with a top speed of 10,000 rpm also.
It's design is a one piece fence that can be adjusted from 0 through 90 degrees. The accuracy of the cut is mostly about ensuring that the fence and the blade are parallel this is assured via a twin rack-and-pinion system for adjusting the fence.
Although the fence is limited to 90 degrees you can still use the DeWalt on mitered edges of more than 90 degrees thanks to a notch cut out of the bottom of the fence.
Keeping the fence and your wood surface firmly connected during cutting are anti-slip pins which can help greatly with keeping your alignment true and accurate.
Just like the DeWalt it comes with a dust collecting bag that can be hooked up to a shop vacuum.
Included in the box is a carbide blade, vacuum adapter, dust bag, wrench and Torx key plus a kit box to store and transport it in.
What is the difference between DeWalt DW682 vs DW682K ?
The DW682 is the tool only model number. The DW682K is the full biscuit joiner kit which is the one reviewed here.
Note you can no longer purchase the DW682 as a stand alone tool. It must now be purchased as the DW682K kit.
Although both models perform very admirably and are also incredibly popular choices for the average woodworker there can only be one winner.
The Porter Cable 557 is a clear winner over the DeWalt biscuit joiner.
It has a slightly more powerful motor 7.0 Amp versus the DeWalt's 6.5 Amp. The fence is adjustable from 0 to 135 degrees against the DeWalt's standard 90. It can also accept a smaller 2 inch blade that allows for even smaller biscuits to be used which is quite useful on smaller form factor pieces.
And ergonomically it is slightly nicer to use and more intuitive than the DeWalt.
However the DeWalt is still a solid performer and if you are on a strict budget or only need to make the occasional biscuit join it might be the better option .
Two planners that have gained a great reputation with woodworkers. We compare the Makita 2012NB vs Dewalt DW735 to see which is best.
Both planners are well respected in the woodworking world and both DeWalt and Makita are highly regarded brands.
Before we pit each planner against one another lets first have a quick look at the features of each machine and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.
The Makita 2012NB is a 12 inch planer. Powered by a 15 Amp motor it has a no load rating of 8500 rpm. It is capable of handling the majority of woods and with that kind of power should be sufficient for just about anyone.
It can handle a fairly substantial load over the course of an hour and has a feed rate of 28 foot per minute.
It has built a reputation as one tirelessly durable machine. Most people that own one tend to do so for many many years and it should last a long time provided you do some routine maintenance once or twice a year.
Cleaning out the rollers and internal body of dust and checking the blade for any deformities are all that is really needed on most modern planners.
The 2012NB features Makita's "Interna-Lok" automated head clamp for improved planning performance and less chances of snipe it also comes with infeed and outfeed tables to further help reduce snipe.
Saying that the major complaint with the Makita is the risk of snipe. Even with the Interna-Lok system it has been known to produce somewhat deeper cuts on the board edges, but with careful alignment of the board height on entry/exit you may avoid this.
The DeWalt DW735 is available in two models the DW735 and DW735x. The "x" stands for extra. They are virtually the same machine. However the DW735x comes with an additional set of blades and infeed and outfeed tables.
The DW735 thickness planer is powered by a 120 Volt 15 Amp motor. It has a max no load speed of 20,000 rpm and at the head 10,000 rpm.
It is capable of cutting boards of up to 12.5 inches wide and a max depth of 6 inches. Thanks to a two speed gearbox you can vary the cutting speed depending on your chosen material.
For a cleaner work space it has a "Chip Ejection System" instead of just having a dust hood for collection the chips and dust is blown into the hood/shroud and deposits them on the floor beside the planer.
It also features an auto lock feature on the carriage which can speed up performance if you need to get through a lot of wood quickly as there is less manual intervention in the setting up process for each pass.
Ultimately there can only be one winner among the two planners.
On the one hand you have the reliable Makita that although is extremely well built it does still suffer from the posibility of snipe on the edges of the lumber.
And the DeWalt has the superior cutting performance and precision, however you must pay extra for the infeed and outfeed tables if you purchase the DW735, if you buy the DW735x however they are included along with extra blades.
The DeWalt also has a more modern intuitive layout than the Makita something which is often over looked.
For us the winner is the DeWalt it just gives a better end product than the Makita, it also has a slightly wider table at 12.5 inches versus the Makita's 12. A high possibility of snipe is just not good enough to risk with the 2012NB plus you get a 3 year limited warranty over the Makita's one year.
Two plunge kit routers head to head it's the Bosch 1617EVSPK vs DeWalt DW618PK.
If you are new to wood routing and you are unsure if you will need either a fixed base router or a plunge router then my advice would be to go for both in the form of a mixed kit.
Having the option to use your router in either configuration is generally the best value for money.
Fixed base routers are great for trimming edges and they are used extensively when making high quality joints.
A fixed based router is generally preferred when using a dovetail jig. The fixed base router is considered more accurate than a plunge router. As it easy much easier to mount on a router table and generally can be adjusted in much smaller increments.
A plunge router really comes into it's own when you need to cut into the middle or away from the edge of a piece of board.
The plunge enables you to place the router over the board and then lower the bit accurately and perpendicularly to the board. It is perfectly suited to making cuts using a template or making mortices and flutes.
If you are in a hurry then the Bosch 1617EVSPK is the one to buy. It is a better built router and has a slightly higher top speed.
Let's take a more in-depth look at each router kit. Both have there strengths and weaknesses and price wise are roughly the same.
The Bosch 1617EVSPK is a 2.5HP 12 Amp variable speed plunge and fixed-base router kit. The 12 Amp motor is more than capable of cutting through hardwood boards and edges.
It features a soft start; which means it raises the rpm slowly until it hits peak rpm. A slow start helps to ensure that you don't damage the surface material surrounding your cut. Plunging a router too quickly onto wood a max speed can result in small nicks and tears around the cut.
The constant response circuitry gives a smooth and consistent power and torque delivery at your desired rpm.
It is compatible with both a Bosch router lift and numerous router tables such as the Bosch RA1171 or RA1181. For added reliability there is a definite click when it is secured in either. On the third click the router is properly affixed to the table/lift.
It's variable speed of between 8,000-25,000 rpm allows you to match the bit speed to the materials you are cutting. Matching the speed means better cleaner cuts and certain router bits perform at their best only a specific rpm when used on certain types of wood.
As stated above this is a fixed/plunge router kit which means you have the option to do both.
The DeWalt DW618PK is a 2.25 HP 12 amp variable speed plunge and fixed base wood router kit. With variable speed from 8,000 to 24,000 it has a versatile cutting range suitable for a variety of different wood strengths.
Like most router in the smaller range settings of the rpm it will perform best on larger type cuts and hardwoods. When set to the higher end of the rpm range it is more suited to smaller sized cuts and softer woods
It comes with 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch collets included. It has a through-the-column dust collection system which should accept a standard shop vacuum keeping your work space clear ad clean from dust.
For fixed base use there is a micro-fine depth-adjustment ring enabling precision adjustment of the router bit in 1/64 of an inch increments.
For the plunge base there is an adjustable turret on the right hand side that has five different positions. Each position allows for a change of 1/32 inch incremental adjustments.
Who is the winner in the Bosch 1617EVSPK vs DeWalt618PK head to head ?
The clear winner is the Bosch 1617EVSPK. It has a more accurate plunger, better motor locking mechanism and is a better built power tool than the DeWalt.
Reliability wise there have been numerous reports online of the Dewalt's variable speed control failing. And the occasional motor burning out after a few months. Although it has a three year warranty versus the Bosch's one year, it is apparent that is the less reliable of the two.
Cost wise they are priced at roughly the same depending on where you purchase the units from. Value wise however we feel that for the money the Bosch unit is the better option.