Once the Swiss company Lamello invented biscuit joinery, the emphasis went to machines and gadgets to make better use of this fast and efficient way of joining wood. But now, Lamello has revisited the item at the very heart of this system, the biscuit.
As originally designed, the biscuits were football-shaped pieces of pressed beechwood with the grain running diagonally. They worked great in most applications except that the biscuits were sometimes subject to moisture, making them swell before use. That could make the fit in the joint inconsistent or make it difficult to even insert them in the slots at all. Lamello's latest creation is the Fibro biscuit. It aims to solve those problems by replacing the beechwood biscuit with a patent-pending fiber design.
You won't confuse the Fibro biscuits with standard biscuits. Fibros have the same football shape, but they have the color and consistency of MDF, not the creamy white to yellow wood color of conventional biscuits. The wood fiber material is designed to offer high omni-directional strength and not be sensitive to humidity. The surface of the Fibro is textured with circular impressions designed to promote even glue spread and resist pullout from a glue joint.
Edges are rounded for easy insertion and the actual edge has a slight groove formed in it, which is designed to control swelling. Lamello says these biscuits won't swell joints and telegraph their presence through thinner materials like conventional biscuits can sometimes do.
How do they work?
After letting some loose Fibro biscuits sit out for several weeks in a shop with changing relative humidity, I detected no perceptible change in the thickness of the biscuits. Conventional biscuits swelled more when left out. All the Fibro biscuits tested fit consistently into the slots, and holding power seemed comparable to conventional biscuits.
The Fibro biscuits are being made available through a variety of distribution channels or you can order them direct from Colonial Saw, the U.S. distributor for Lamello. Retail price on a box of 1,000 is less than $30, making them competitive with conventional biscuits. For more information, go to www.csaw.com.
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