Well constructed, easy to set-up and use, and effective for a wide variety of joinery.
Biscuit (aka plate) joiners are versatile and cost-effective power tools, ideal for joining panels, assembling cabinetry and other case goods, along with window casings and other trim. You can also use them to assemble rail and stile doors, bookshelves, drawers and face frames cabinets. In fact, for all but the most demanding applications biscuit joinery is a viable joinery option, especially for those new to woodworking, as biscuit joiners are relatively easy to set-up and use.
Battery platform: 20V MAX (18V nominal)
No-load speed: 8,000 RPM
Blade diameter: 4″ (100mm)
Bevel capacity: 0 – 90°
Weight: 7.1 lbs (DCB205 battery installed)
Includes: tool, 4″ blade, dust bag, spanner and T20 Torx wrenches, Airlock compatible dust adapter and angled dust adapter
The corded DEWALT DW682K, which has been on the market for about a decade, has a stellar reputation for durability and performance. Recently DEWALT released a cordless version, the DCW682B that has a lot of the same highly commended features as the corded model, but in a cordless version.
The DCW682B is sold as a bare tool (no battery). According to DEWALT, equipped with a 20V MAX 5.0Ah battery (#DCB205) you should be able to make 300 joints (600 cuts) per battery charge. Unless you’re mass producing cabinets that’s a heck of a lot of joints.
The joiner comes with a pre-installed 4″ carbide tipped blade, dust bag, two dust adapters and wrenches. Like most biscuit joiners, you can cut slots for #0, #10, and #20-sized biscuits. There is also a #M (max) setting that will cut the maximum slot depth. The joiner cuts a #20 biscuit slot that is 1/2″ deep. The #M setting enables you to cut a slot that is 9/16″ deep – this gives you a bit more horizontal ‘wiggle room’ when assembling joints.
When working on a few joints, or if you happen to be in tight quarters, then it’s not too much of an issue to simply let the debris fly. Cutting a few slots doesn’t produce a lot of waste. However, the debris can interfere with the tool’s alignment, which results in misaligned joints. If you’ll be cutting a lot of slots then I suggest you ditch the dust bag and connect a dust extractor to the tool (via the angled dust adapter). Biscuit joiners produce large size debris rather than fine dust, which I find tends to get caught up in the dust extraction outlet with the bag installed.
The 7 pound weight (with battery installed) is on par with other biscuit joiners. It’s not an issue for me as I bolt the joiner to a shop made table that I use atop my workmate bench. This completely eliminates the jerking motion that happens when you start the tool. It also speeds up the process of cutting slots. And you can operate the joiner with one hand. While 80% of my cuts are made on the table there are times when I need to use the joiner handheld – for example when cutting slots in panel sides for shelves or slots for “Z-clip” fasteners to secure tops to tables. When used freehand I find the DCW682B well-balanced. Coupled with a comfortable top handle you can use the joiner for long periods of time without undue stress on your hands or forearms.
The trigger safety button on the bottom of the main handle is easy to depress in tandem with the trigger.
The locking, height adjusting, fence alignment and depth stop knobs are all of a decent size and easy to manipulate. On either side of the joiner are easy-to-read reference scales – a 0° to 90° angle scale to set miter cuts and a depth scale to adjust the height of the fence.
The fence is, arguably, the most important component on any biscuit joiner. In order to cut slots accurately it has to remain square to the base and without any flexing or movement in use.
It also has to be easy to adjust, which I found to be the case with the DCW682B. The rack and pinion plunge mechanism moves the fence up and down smoothly and locks solidly in place.
While there are positive stops on the fence at 0° and 90° there aren’t any detents – one at 45° would have been useful as it’s probably one of the most frequently used bevel angles. Adjusting the angle scale is straight forward.
With the fence extended at 0° there is a maximum travel of 1-3/8″, which I find adequate for the range of stock thickness I generally work with. You can cut a slot a mere 1/8″ from the edge of a board.
I find the depth ruler on the side of the joiner awkward to use. There are two alternate ways I set the fence height. One way is to hold the joiner on its side with the stock held tightly against the fence and then turn the height adjustment knob so that the blade is centered on the slot line penciled onto the stock. Once the adjustment knob is locked down it holds its position firmly. Alternately, you can use setup blocks to position the fence at the precise distance you want from the top of the biscuit slot.
To align the tool I use the center mark near the blade opening as the large opening in the fence provides an unobstructed view.
The DCW682B has a rigid aluminum base plate. There are two bolt holes in the base plate that enable you to attach the joiner to a work surface, which makes it easier to handle the joiner and considerably speeds up the joinery process.
Unless you use the joiner in a production environment, the carbide tipped blade that comes with the tool should remain sharp for years. If you ever do need to replace the blade simply remove the base plate, press the spindle lock located on the top of the joiner and loosen the blade with the supplied wrench.
I used the DCW682B to cut biscuit slots in all three sizes in various materials and at a range of angles. Overall, it performed flawlessly. Once set at the required cutting height and angle it cut slots consistently at the correct length, width, and depth. Plunge movement is smooth. When hand held there might be a slight side-to-side wobble but it won’t be enough to adversely affect the size of the slot. Better yet, bolt the tool to a work surface. Adjusting the fence angle is reasonably quick, particularly as I cut 90% of my slots with the fence set at 90°.
If you’re looking for a reliable biscuit joiner that can consistently cut exact size slots and is quick and easy to adjust, then the DEWALT DCW682B will likely serve the purpose quite well.