Dewalt Plate Joiner - DW682K
- Easy To Use
- Dust Collection
- Easy to Adjust
- Simplifies Glue Ups
- Very Fast
- Fence Feels Flimsy
- Adjustment Knobs are Cheap
- Difficult to Get 100% Accuracy
A plate joiner is a handy, but not essential tool. Plate joiners make it easier to line up boards when gluing, but don’t add any strength to the joint.
Originally, I used my Rockler 1/4″ dowel jig to align boards for gluing. It was a tedious task that required drilling multiple holes. My wife recently took pity on me and purchased this plate joiner for me.
There can be no dispute, the plate joiner is faster than drilling dowel holes, but it has its drawbacks.
The Dewalt DW682K is in the middle of the road when it comes cost. In fact, the Amazon price is lower than just about any other common brand out there. However, there are cheaper alternatives such as the Chicago Electric Biscuit Plate Joiner from Harbor Freight which is $59.99.
However, accuracy is crucial in joinery and some of the reviews for the Harbor Freight version suggest that the blade is not perpendicular to the face of the unit. So in terms of direct competition, the Dewalt from Amazon is a steal. Additionally, the Dewalt comes with a nice carrying case if you are in to that sort of thing. Personally, I just find them to take up unnecessary space, but also do not travel with my tools.
I did knock off 20 points though for the indirect competition. As I mentioned above, a lot of the work of a biscuit cutter can likely be accomplished using a small inexpensive 1/4″ doweling jig.
Ease of Use
Again, there is no dispute this is easier to use than a doweling jig. The tool itself is also relatively easy to use. Set the depth gauge, set the distance to the center, align the tool with a scribed line and cut.
I knocked off a few points because it is moderately difficult to get the location of the cut from the edge of the tool consistently the same. The best method is to index off of the bottom plate. But depending on your board thickness this may not be ideal.
The Dewalt Plate Joiner has a dust collector adapter that connects to a 1 1/4″ vacuum hose. There isn’t much dust created, but whatever dust exists is easily captured by the vacuum. The joiner also comes with a dust collector bag. It seems to catch some of the dust, but the vacuum attachment is a better choice.
The tool overall seems very solid and durable, with two exceptions.
First, the tilt down fence is very flimsy and doesn’t provide a lot of confidence.
Second, the knobs to adjust the fence height and the fence angle are both very flimsy.
I am having a hard time getting perfectly accurately joined plates. When using the fence as the index, I see errors up to about 1/16″. I have recently switched to using the bottom plate to index and that seems to have move the errors down to about 1/32″.
Using the bottom plate is not very convenient as the cutting head is a fixed distance from the bottom plate, so for thicker boards I have to use a spacer between the bottom plate and my flat surface. This can add some potential for error and always adds some complexity.
I suspect that I am the source of the error as I don’t see anything lose between the bottom plate and the cutting head. However, I have used the tool a lot and rarely see a perfectly joined plate.
Again, the Plate Joiner is useful, but not essential. You can accomplish much of the same using doweling jigs.