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Dowel vs biscuit- advantages of biscuit jointer

When we talk about woodworking techniques and the changes seen over time, one can’t deny that there are notable changes seen in the joinery mechanism. Dowels and Biscuits are both modern-day innovations that are used to join two workpieces. Both these techniques require different tools and differ from each other in a lot of aspects. To understand their use and application, let us first go through the features of both these techniques and further distinguish between them to find out which one is more reliable.



Biscuit is a new quick and convenient tool to join the workpieces. The joint made using the biscuit is called a biscuit joint consisting of a biscuit or a plate. This biscuit is a thin, football-shaped disk that helps in aligning the workpieces and joining them. It acts like a tenon that joins the two pieces. One needs to glue the biscuit on both the pieces using their joint slots for forming a joint. The biscuit expands in the slots of the workpieces on the application of glue, which creates a biscuit joint, holding the piece together. 



A lot of carpenters and woodworkers prefer to opt for dowel jigs to get a strong joint. For this joint, one needs a dowel, a wooden cylinder made to fit the slot holes drilled on the workpieces. Like biscuits, dowels can join the two workpieces by aligning the dowel on both the workpieces using their slots. One can also easily align the workpieces using dowel and create a stronger joint.

Now that we know what exactly dowels and biscuits are, let us go through their differences and their use.

Dowel vs biscuit




For making a biscuit joint, an adhesive or glue is used to hold the pieces together.Dowels are drilled into the holes on the workpieces to make a joint.
Making a biscuit joint is easy, less time-consuming, and convenient given,  that you have a good quality adhesive. Dowel joints are comparatively time-consuming and take a longer time to make the joint. 
Biscuits work better for the workpieces’ alignment and one needs to have a good biscuit jointer for joining the workpieces. People have been using a dowel for years to join the workpieces with more strength. One can invest in a good drill and dowel jig to carry out this jointer machinery. 
Different types of biscuits available differ in size and are made of other materials such as metal and plastic. One can easily get different diameters in dowels starting from 3/16 to 1 inch. 
The biscuits joints are often referred to as reinforcing joints as it holds the two workpieces together.  The joints formed by the dowels are like mortise and tenon joints, as they form a stronger joint as compared to the biscuits.
Biscuit joints are an easy way to keep the glued-parts together by adding strength to the joints.Dowel joints are more substantial and also have a higher pull-apart strength.

Which one is better?

After going through the differences between both the techniques, you might be wondering which one you should opt for. Well, it depends upon the type of materials and pieces you are working with. Depending upon the criteria, you can select the type of joint and move forward. 

If you need a proper alignment with a tight-fitting joint, you can opt for the biscuit joint similarly, if you want a joint with more strength and reliability. Both these methods have their pros and cons. Biscuit Joints are quick to get done but offer lesser strength than that of dowels. Whereas Dowels work exceptionally well for joining the two pieces with more strength, but it is time-consuming. 

Many woodworkers prefer biscuit joints due to their ease of use, alignment, and secure the joints with ease. But people who have been into woodworking for a long time trust dowel joints more than the biscuit joints because the jointer is drilled and glued. 

Concluding Remarks

Both these joinery mechanisms have their drawbacks and merits. However, if you are looking for a seamless alignment with reasonable strength, you can use biscuit joints or opt for dowel joints. But it is always better to know both the techniques so that you can use either one of them as and when required. Being a woodworker, having a skillset of using different techniques comes handy to ease the work. 

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