Craftsman 17539 Biscuit Joiner Review


  • Craftsman 17539 Biscuit Joiner Review

    This review should also apply to the Ryobi JM82K, since other than color they are basically the same unit. I believe this is also my first review of a tool here on BT3, so please forgive me if I offend. I'm just trying to offer my honest opinion of a tool purchase.

    I recently noticed that since I am a Craftsman Club member, I could get a discount on this unit. Also, by cashing in a bunch of rewards points and by ordering online, I was able to walk out the door with the unit for less than $48. Normally, the unit retails for $99.99. I got the last one at the store.

    I decided to try this joiner since I had seen a lot of good user reviews on line. I have an older Craftsman joiner (17501)that isn't very good at all. Plastic fence with a lot of slop and deflection. I've ruined quite a few pieces of wood (and projects) trying to use it. I know that biscuits are not very strong structurally. I try to use them to help me line up panels and joints.

    Before buying, I was at the HD and looked at the display model of the Ryobi JM82K. The locking nut for the fence was missing, so I wasn't able to really look at the fence to make sure it worked properly, but decided that since the fence was made of metal instead of plastic like my old joiner, I would probably be fine.

    I got my order in less than 5 minutes from the pickup area at Sears. Less than 15 minutes later, I have it out of the box at home in my shop. Less than 17 minutes later, I've decided that I am going to return it and buy a PC 557 when finances allow.

    I found in the unit I purchased that there is a lot of vertical movement in the motor housing when pushing the motor forward in the horizontal plane. I didn't measure it, but there was enough movement that it was visually noticeable. This could cause panels not to line up flat, and would cause issues similar to those I have with my old unit and its fence deflection.

    The other issue I had was with the fence locking mechanism. I appears that the angle of the fence would lock in fine, but there were issues with the height. For example, when I would set the fence height to 1", the fence would move significantly when tightening down the locking nut. Usually the fence would climb as much as 1/8." I did try holding the height adjustment knob while tightening the lock, but this didn't help much.

    It should be noted that I at this point I placed everything back in the box and locked it in my truck. I never plugged it in to even test the cut quality. Since Sears is just 5 minutes from work I will be returning it during lunch. I don't use a joiner much, but would rather have no joiner as opposed to one that I'm not happy with and have to fight with to adjust settings.

    This joiner comes with a case, dust bag, and sample biscuits just like the Ryobi from HD. The Ryobi has a 2 year warranty, the Craftsman model only comes with a 1 year warranty. If it didn't have the problems I ran into, I would consider it a great value, especially considering all the discounts I got.

    • cabinetman
      cabinetman commented
      Editing a comment
      A very good review. Sorry you had disappointments. I have a DeWalt, and in general does what it's supposed to do, but doesn't provide the results that a shop made spine would give. There are many variables in the physical aspect of the biscuits, and in reality they don't insure alignment, but are designed to help the parts from pulling apart.

      As for alignment, if there's some leeway in their fit, the same leeway will persist for alignment. As an alternative for those conditions where a biscuit may seem appropriate, a shopmade spline from solid wood or plywood will fit better, and be more predictable.

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