Traditional woodworking biscuits gained popularity for their precision, ease of installation and relative strength. But they always required clamping setups and waiting for the glue to dry. The new Lamello Fixo self-clamping biscuits take the clamping out of the equation.

What they are

Fixo biscuits look like standard #20 biscuits cut in half lengthwise or widthwise. They are made out of fiberglass reinforced plastic and have barbed ribs that grip in a standard biscuit slot.

You can use them in a variety of joints and combine them with other joinery, such as traditional glued biscuits, much as you might combine screws or staples with glue and dowels to avoid clamping.

How they work

Using Fixo biscuits is like using traditional biscuits except the biscuit slot is exposed so you can hammer in the Fixo. For example, in a mitered face frame, you would line up your mitered pieces and temporarily clamp them in place to your workbench. Then mark and cut the biscuit slot across the two pieces. Apply glue to the joint and hammer in the Fixo biscuit to secure it. No clamping needed.

We found the Fixo joints surprising secure, but the strength does decrease to the opposite side of the biscuit. Still, for parts like face frames that will be secured in place to a cabinet or piece of furniture, that won't matter.

What they're good for

Lamello recommends the Fixo for face frames, plinth connections, supporting connections, picture frames and fast repairs on site. They work best where joined parts will be affixed to something else (as in a cabinet face frame), and the Fixo joint will then be concealed. Likely shops will find many uses beyond what the manufacturer has envisioned. For more information about Lamello Fixo biscuits, visit the Web site of their U.S. distributor, Colonial Saw, at  www.csaw.com.

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