Converting a plunge router to a simple biscuit joiner

From time to time I’m doing a bit of wood working in my garage. Only a bit, and not very often. I totally love biscuit joints. The result is always super accurate and it’s more or less fast to do. In the past I borough an ELU biscuit joiner from a friend in Germany. I don’t like too much to borough or lent out tools, but a biscuit jointer is a tool that I only need very rarely. And, good ones are quite pricy.

I’m planning to build a piece of furniture for the living room and need a biscuit joiner of a good substitution.
My first thought was, that got to be possible with a plunge router. On the internet I took a look how others (with may more wood working experience then me I guess) have done this. Everything I found was people using a T-slot and a normal router bit. That means the router needs to be readjusted for the each router bit. Don’t like that idea too much.

So I came up with the idea to use just one straight 4mm router bit and a quite big parallel stop. The idea is that the oversized parallel stop allows to use the router on both sides of the boards and the distance to the edge is always the same. The absolute distance of the slot to the edge is not that important imho. But, I think it’s very important that it’s always the same distance.
I did not own a router so far, so I bought a cheap one online. I was already prepared to send it back, but to my surprise it wasn’t that bad. The housing looks and feels very good for the price, and it runs smoothly. Did not find it necessary to measure the run out so far.

There have been only two big issues with the router so far. One, is the table isn’t plane enough. It doesn’t stand solidly on a flat surface. And the other one is the parallel stop which look a bit windy and float fife mills over the table. But both was fixed easily.

To make the table flat, I’ve put a piece of sand paper on a flat surface and moved the router forward and backward on it. Exactly like the old school way to plane a cylinder head. After a few minutes it was standing and moving solidly.


The parallel stop was working well after a bit of reinforcement with a bit of plywood.

Anyway, back to the biscuit joining. Last weekend I’ve spent good two hours in the shop and made a wooden prototype. It works better than I expected – guess because it’s stiffer then I thought it would be. This week we will get the plywood we ordered. I’ll do a bit more testing. But at the moment it looks like I’ll stick with the wooden prototype.

Converting a plunge router to a simple biscuit joiner
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