King Canada Biscuit Joiner Review

Good performance at a highly competitive price.

King Canada Biscuit Joiner

King Canada Biscuit Joiner



Biscuit (or plate) joiners are versatile and cost-effective power tools, ideal for joining panels, assembling cabinetry and other case goods, along with window casings and other architectural trim. You can also use them to assemble rail and stile doors, bookshelves, drawers, and when making and installing face frames on cabinets. In fact, for all but the most demanding applications biscuit joinery is a viable joinery option, especially for those new to woodworking, as biscuit joiners are relatively easy to set-up and use.

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The King KC-8306 Kit

The King Canada KC-8306 biscuit joiner kit consists of the biscuit joiner (equipped with a 4" carbide tipped blade), dust bag, hex key, spare carbon brushes, and plastic carrying case. A small lidded tray in the carry case provides storage for a dozen or so biscuits.

At 8 pounds, the KC-8306 is one of the heavier joiners that I've used. However, it's well balanced and has comfortable top and main handles. There is a trigger safety button on the side of the main handle that is easy to depress in tandem with the trigger. 
A generous 7-foot power cord means you likely won't have to search around for an extension cord.

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Easy grip locking knobs

The locking knobs (A), height adjusting knob (B), cutting depth adjustment knob (C), and the depth stop knob (D) are all of a decent size and easy to manipulate. On either side of the joiner are reference scales – a 0 to 90° lower angle scale (E) and a 90° to 135° upper angle scale (F) on one side, and a depth scale (G) on the other.

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Scales are flimsy

All three scales are easy enough to read. However, the scales aren't stamped onto the the body of the joiner, they're on very thin aluminum plates, which, particularly on the two angle scales, have a tendency to bulge out, making them prone to damage. This is especially noticeable when making any adjustments to the bevel angle.

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Smooth plunging

Two springs mounted on each side of the joiner that retract the head. The plunge mechanism is smooth and solid, though there is some minor side-to-side play in use.

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A full range of angles from 0 to 135°

The fence is, arguably, the most important component on any biscuit joiner. In order to cut slots accurately it has to remain parallel to the base, regardless of the angle that it is set at, and it has to remain fixed in use. It also has to be easy to adjust. The fence is connected to a metal arm – the angle scale – that is used to position the fence to the designed angle.

On the KC-8306 you can position the fence from 0º to 135º. While there are positive stops at 0°, 90° and 135°, there aren't any detents – one at 45° would have been useful. Once positioned, the fence does lock firmly in place and remains parallel to the base plate. However, adjusting the angle scale is somewhat cumbersome and aligning the fence to the tick marks on the scale a bit of hit and miss. 

With the fence extended at 0° there is a maximum travel of 1-3/8", which I find adequate for the thickness of stock I generally work with.

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Takes any size biscuit

The KC-8306 will cut slots for any biscuit – #0, #10, #20, Max (#6), D (Duplex), S (Simplex), and FF (mini biscuits for face frames, for which you need to purchase and install a 2" blade).

The depth stop dial is easy to turn (left, photo above), but the stop indicator is barely visible. 

Slot-size setting can be adjusted by turning a locking nut and knob (right, photo above). For the #10 and #20 biscuits that I used there wasn't any need to adjust the slot depth.

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Setting fence height

I find it easiest to set the fence height by holding the joiner on its side with the stock held tightly against the fence, and then turning the height adjustment knob so that the blade is centered on the slot line penciled onto the stock. Once the adjustment knob is locked down it holds its position firmly.

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Depth ruler and pointer

Alternately, you could use the depth ruler on the side of the joiner. However, I find the pointer a tad too distant from the ruler to align the two.

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Center mark hard to see

The large red center mark on the head of the fence is highly visible, but I find that I rarely use it. Most of the time I use the center mark near the blade opening (red arrow above). On the KC-8306 it's barely visible. I eventually put a dab of red paint over the center mark. While the large opening in the fence provides an unobstructed view, it can make the joiner somewhat unwieldy when you're working on narrow stock.

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Plastic base plate

The KC-8306 has a plastic base plate. There aren't any bolt holes in the base plate that enable you to attach the joiner to a work surface, which I find most useful when cutting a lot of slots for face frames. It makes it easier to handle the joiner and considerably speeds up the joinery process.

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Easy blade changing

Unless you use the joiner in a production environment, the carbide tipped blade that comes with the tool should remain sharp for years. Should you need to replace the blade or install a 2" blade for the #FF biscuits, all you need to do is remove the base plate, press the spindle lock located on the top side of the joiner, and loosen the blade with the supplied hex key. 

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Two options for dust control

When working on a few joints, or if you happen to be in tight quarters, then it's not too much of an issue to simply let the debris fly. Cutting a few slots doesn't’t produce a lot of waste. However, the debris can interfere with the tool’s alignment, which results in misaligned joints. if you're working at a bench and will be cutting a lot of slots, you'll want to use the supplied dust bag. The bag that comes with the KC-8306 does a good job, though I found that it regularly slipped off the plastic collar that connects to the joiner dust port. A better option is to connect it to a dust extractor – the smaller 22mm Festool dust hose fits perfectly.

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Versatile joinery

I used the King Canada KC-8306 to cut biscuit slots in various materials and at a range of angles. Overall, it performed very well. Once set at the required angle and cutting height it cuts slots consistently at the correct length, width, and depth. Plunge movement is smooth, and the slight side-to-side wobble wasn't enough to adversely affect the size of the slot. Adjusting the fence angle is reasonably quick, particularly as I cut 90% of my slots with the fence set at 90°. 

There are some minor annoyances with the KC-8306. The d
ust bag falls off it's plastic collar all too easy. The base plate is made of plastic and it doesn't't have any holes to attach the joiner to a work surface. The angle scales are very flimsy, and the center mark near the blade opening is practically invisible. 

Still, at just under $120, the price is hard to beat. If you're looking for a low-cost biscuit joiner for intermittent use, then the KC-8306 will likely serve the purpose quite well.

KEY FEATURES:

  • 7 amp, 10,800 rpm motor
  • Biscuit compatibility: #0, 10, 20, 6, FF, Duplex, Simplex
  • Preset depth stops for: #0, 10, 20 biscuits
  • Fence tilt: 0° to 135°
  • Positive stops: 45°, 90°
  • Maximum height adjustment: 1-3/8"
  • Micro-height adjustment knob
  • Trigger safety button
  • Dust port for bag or hose
  • Power cord: 7'
  • Weight: 8 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Includes: 4" carbide tipped blade, dust bag, hex key, spare carbon brushes, plastic carrying case

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COMPANY:King Canada
MODEL:KC-8306
PRICE:$119.99
MADE IN:China
SOURCE:Where to Buy

Author: 
Carl Duguay
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