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to biscuit or not to biscuit

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by Dreadpoet, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. Dreadpoet

    Dreadpoet Active Member

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    I really haven't used a biscuit joint much and am curious about its strength. I am needing to construct 4'x8' theatre flats that are double sided and covered with muslin as a piece of stock scenery. So I need a flat that is somewhat durable. It is been suggested that I use a half-lap joint, but those are a pain in the posterior to make without a dado set on my saw. Question is...is a biscuit joint sturdy enough for use on a soft theatre flat? Lord knows it would be the least painful.
     
  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Biscuits work great in "Broadway" flats. I used to use them all the time when constructing even hard covered Broadways, it allows you to use thinner stock as a cornerblock and keystone. If you are making double sided broadways and you only want them 3/4" thick < which is what I think you are asking about.> Biscuits by themselves will not be enough to hold them together. Now perhaps a biscuit inside the joint and something like a rabbet with an inset piece of either dowel or something else glued and stapled or bradded in.
    I'll post a picture to illustrate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008
  3. Dreadpoet

    Dreadpoet Active Member

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    What about using a small L shaped iron on the inside of the flat? ...along with the biscuit
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Those will help significantly but you'll definitely want to beef up the screws, don't use the ones that come with the angle irons. you'll probably want to bore out the holes and up grade to at least a #6 screw and at least 1 5/8" piloting is a must, of course, when screwing into the edge of a board.
     
  5. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    You can make a pretty nice lap with a standard circ saw or even better a radial arm saw. Make a cut, leave a blades width, make a cut... until you have the entire piece cut, knock it out with a hammer and chisel to smooth it out. You would be amazed how fast it works and how clean you can get it. Its not as good as a dado by any means, but it will probably be faster then doing the biscuits.
     
  6. Traitor800

    Traitor800 Active Member

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    Another good way to make half lap joints is with a router, line all your boards up together and place a guide perpendicular to them to keep the router straight for the inside cut and then just start on the outside of the board and work your way in.
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I might recommend pocket screws for attaching stiles, rails, and toggles; if traditional corner and keystone blocks are not an option. Might not be as strong in pine, but are great and very strong in poplar and hardwoods.
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    OOOO, or maybe those Ikea kind of fastners. Might not be strong, might take 4 hours to put together a flat, but they'll be trendy and nice looking. :mrgreen:
     

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