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Q & A: Slot Cutter vs. Plate Joiner


Q & A: Slot Cutter vs. Plate Joiner


I saw an ad for a slot-cutting router bit. I have a router and buying the bit instead of a plate joiner would save me a lot of money. Is there a downside to this cheaper option?


It depends on what kind of joints you plan to make.A slot cutter does a good job with flat edge-to-edge or end-to-end joints (Photos 1, 2 and 3). Other joints can present some problems:

• A butt-corner joint (Photo 4) can be made, but requires the extra step of clamping a support board to the piece with the face slot.This gives your router a broader surface to rest on.

• On a tee-butt joint (Photo 5) you can rout the end slot but it is impossible to cut the face slot in the other board.

• A corner miter (Photo 6) is best handled using the slot cutter in the router table with an angled jig to hold the work. If your pieces are very big this can get quite cumbersome.

A plate joiner (photo below), on the other hand, will make all of these joints with ease. It also has built-in dust collection.

Click any image to view a larger version.

Cutting angle joints with a plate joiner is quick and easy. It’s possible, but awkward, to do this with a router.


Note: Product availability and prices are subject to change.

Woodcraft,, 800-225-1153, Biscuit slot-cutting router bit: 1/4-in. shank, #24D71, 1/2-in. shank, #24D72.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker June 2001, issue #87.

June 2001, issue #87

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