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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
many thanks for your help -- and patience with a newbie --

i am using biscuits to make a tabletop finished size will be 44 x 64 -- maple -- 1 x 6 finished boards -- cut biscuit slots every 10" --

my confusion revolves around how and where to apply glue -- i've read and been offered a number of opinions that don't always jive --

i would appreciate your thoughts / techniques -- please bear in mind i have never done this before so don't hesitate to reply like you are talking to a 5 yr old ...

thank you --

larry thomson
 

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Larry, I always used to fill the biscuit slots with glue but I had a wood shop teacher tell me this was not necessary. Frankly I'm not sure if it matters but it IS important to make sure that there are no dry spots on the surface areas to be glued. I always spread glue on both edges just to make sure that there is good coverage all along the joined area. On another note, the only time I even use biscuits is when there is some bowing in the stock. I cut slots where ever the stock is bowed and the biscuits help with alignment while glueing. So I think of biscuits as an alignment technique and not a structural aid.
 

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In theory you can join two straight, dead square boards with only a film of glue along the board edges where they meet.
This was called a rub-joint which, when used with hide glue, was all you did. But the edges must be dead straight and true. Done well, these joints will last for decades…. centuries……

You can do the same with modern glues and the joint is permanent (unlike hide glue bonds that can be taken apart and re-done at any time in the future).

If you are using biscuits, personally speaking, I would consider them a means to alignment. The integrity of the joint is in the accuracy of planning and the fit of the two board edges. Biscuits don't contribute much to an edge that was well made in the first place.

One thing that has been problematic for me with biscuits is that if you use too many biscuits in a row, there is a tendency for tiny inaccuracies to creep in which can lead to immense frustration when you are assembling against the clock with a finite open-time on your glue. One at each end and one in the middle is sufficient.

Hope this helps.
 

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.One thing that has been problematic for me with biscuits is that if you use too many biscuits in a row, there is a tendency for tiny inaccuracies to creep in which can lead to immense frustration when you are assembling against the clock
I've run into this same issue. Always best to do a "dry fit" before applying glue and if necessary, you can re-do the slot with your biscuit joiner to open it up a bit. If that doesn't work I remove that biscuit entirely.
 

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biscuits

Being just a weekender in this, I question the value of biscuits being used in a rub joint. I see the use of 2 or 3 when assembling a glue up as helpful, but not adding any strength to the actual joint. On the other hand, where you are dealing with end grain in situations like picture frames or butter boards on tables, the biscuit acts like a splice of sorts. The problem I see, is that the biscuits tend to be loose in the slots, and the swelling of the biscuit as it absorbs the glue could cause some misalignment if the glue is not disbursed evenly in the slot. Am I even close on this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
first, my apologies for being so long in saying thank you for all the great advice -- it really helped -- the tip on the paint brush was what i used -- and then ordered a glue kit from rockler -- i've attached a pic of the final table and bench --

many thanks for your help --
 

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