Please note: Since this review was
published, Global Machinery Company (GMC) has gone into receivership and
is no longer operating. As such, spare parts or technical support cannot
be obtained directly through them. Their website at www.gmcompany.com
appears to still be available online and offers some product information
and manuals but contacting them will receive no reply. Note that
OnlineToolReviews.com does not work for GMC, nor do we offer any support
or spare parts for their products.
Biscuit joinery is perhaps the quickest all-wood joinery
method going around today. It can be used to help align joints and add a
little strength (which seems to be somewhat debatable in woodworking
circles). Regardless, many tool manufacturers now have a biscuit joining
tool available in their product ranges. Today we will take a look at the
newest model from GMC (Global Machinery Company) which sports a somewhat
different look and design to conventional biscuit joining tools. The model
is the BJ110, and is a relatively new release from GMC.
Packaging and Accessories
The BJ110 comes shipped in a molded plastic case. Whether or not you
keep the case is your choice. I like molded plastic cases because they
allow me to stack my tools fairly neatly on standard box-type shelves,
plus it helps reduce loss of all the accessories that come with the tool.
Inside the case you will find the following:
- BJ110 Biscuit Joiner
- Instruction Manual
- Dust Bag
- Dust extraction adapter
- Pin wrench
- Hex key
The height setting fence does not come assembled. No
problem there, we will look at that later. What I did find convenient is
that the tool and accessories all nicely fit into the case. With some
tools, you have to wrestle with the power cord and other accessories to
get them into an exact position where the case will actually fully close.
No such problem here. Just place it in, sit the cord and accessories under
the BJ110's handle and it will close almost all the time first go.
Features and Use
Ok the first thing I did after unpacking the contents and before
anything else was to remove the base plate on the BJ110 to expose the
blade. The base plate is secured with four small screws. With the base
plate removed on the underside of the machine, the blade is fully exposed
and accessible. Using the pin wrench supplied, and securing the spindle
with the spindle lock button on top of the unit I made sure the blade was
indeed securely in place. You could imagine what havoc a loose blade could
cause when you first power up the tool. It is extremely rare that you will
find a tool like this with a loose blade out of the box, but it can
happen, so safety first and check everything over before you start using
the tool. I found the blade fully secured and ready for use in this case.
The BJ110 features a 6-tooth carbide blade with GMC
markings. The teeth felt fairly sharp out of the box, but I am expecting
to replace it with a higher quality blade in the near future. Despite this
fact, we will see that the included blade does a nice job of cutting clean
biscuit slots. Ensure the base plate is replaced and secured following
If we move to the top of the machine, we come to the
black plastic top handle. This handle is adjustable forward and back to a
number of pre-set positions, so you can adjust it to a position that is
comfortable for you to use. I like to keep it fairly upright. Often I
don't even use the handle when cutting biscuit slots, but there are
certain joints where I will. The handle is adjusted using the supplied hex
key and is loosened/tightened via a hex screw on each side of the handle.
If we look at the main motor body of the unit now you
can see that is takes on a somewhat unique shape over many common biscuit
joiners on the market today. The designed somewhat tapers back to the rear
of the machine culminating in a rubber over-mold grip handle which holds
the main on/off trigger and trigger lock button. Seeing that many biscuit
joiners on the market today are simply angle grinder bodies with a fence
attached, the BJ110 handle looks exactly like a heavier industrial angle
grinder body so that is perhaps where it has come from. The trigger itself has a
rubber over-molded surface on the base adding an additional comfort factor
and less finger slip during use. This narrower handle at the back of the
unit is indeed well thought out (even if it is indeed from an angle
grinder design initially) and a stand out feature of the BJ110. It
is far easier to get a solid grip on the unit with your hand and fingers than it is to
grasp a wider motor housing. Because I prefer to slide the biscuit joiner into a cut
using the body of the tool instead of the handle in other models I have
design was a welcome addition to the unit for me. I can cut biscuit slots
much more easily now and with greater comfort as a result, and with finer
control. Admittedly, this design adds slightly to the overall length of
the tool, but I can't think of any general-use situations in which this may cause a
Further toward the front of the motor housing is
another rubber grip section that can be used if you like plunging the
motor body from there. Then of course, you have the handle as well, again
with a rubber grip surface. GMC has accommodated most user-techniques with
the addition and placement of these rubber surfaces. Kudos for that!
Before we go any further, let me list some performance
specs of the BJ110:
- Motor - 1200W, Double Insulated
- No Load Speed - 10,000 min-1
- Depth of Cut - 8mm, 10.5mm, 12mm, 13.5mm
- Biscuit Sizes Accommodated - #0, #10, #20
- Bore Size - 22mm
The 1200W motor is certainly powerful enough for cutting any type
of wood. I also have a Ryobi 800W unit and never had a problem cutting
slots into even the most dense hardwoods. The extra 400W in this case may
be useful in speeding up the cut on those hardwoods however, but I didn't
really see a major difference in cutting during tests between the two.
Perhaps the extra power has better application in continuous slot
cutting... something which I don't do with this tool, but others may.
One downside of the larger motor seems to be the noise
emission. While I don't have the equipment to actually measure noise
levels available, there was a noticeable difference between the GMC BJ110
and the Ryobi 800W unit. The GMC is a fair bit noisier (as you would
expect with a larger motor), although with
earmuffs on, it's still not a major concern, so its only a minor point in
my opinion. But you will need those earmuffs on for user comfort I
suspect. Better keep those ears functioning well, you only get one pair
You may notice that there are four depth of cut positions
listed above, but only three biscuit sizes listed. The 13.5mm cut is a
maximum depth of cut on the tool, and larger than that needed by the #20
biscuit. You might use this setting for cutting extended slots for splines,
or a variety of other uses. The biscuit joiner can be used for many other
purposes other than just cutting single biscuit slots. If interested you
might like to check out our review of Anthony Bailey's
Woodworking Techniques and Projects book which shows
some useful projects and joints that can be made with a biscuit joiner.
Speaking of depth adjustment, the depth control knob is
located on the left-hand base of the machine with markings of "0", "10",
"20" and "M" (M meaning maximum depth). Naturally, you turn the knob to set
the depth required in accordance with the size of biscuit you wish to use.
Biscuit sizes are fairly standard and you can buy them from almost any
manufacturer and they should fit. I use both Vermont brand and Ryobi brand
biscuits as they are readily available locally, but any brand conforming
to standard biscuit sizes should work equally well. Just be careful with setting the
depth adjustment as the marker is actually at the bottom of the knob
rather than at the top, so the 0, 10, 20 or M needs to be pointing down to
the base to be the current depth selection. I got caught out on this first
time - got to read those manuals religiously!
The knob features 4 detents
with smooth switching between them.
are biscuits? They are oval biscuit-shaped pieces of compressed
wood (usually beech) that are designed to fit into the oval slot cut
by the biscuit joiner blade. Once glue is applied to the biscuit/slot
and the mating pieces are joined together,
the biscuit expands in the joint and locks tightly to help prevent the
joint pulling apart. Biscuits are a good aid in helping to align
joined boards in a variety of configurations.
The main body of the biscuit joiner slides forward and
back within the fence assembly to allow you to plunge the blade into the
wood. A smooth plunge action makes the task of cutting biscuit slots much
easier. It should be firm, not loose, but not so firm that it makes it
difficult to plunge the machine. The BJ110 plunge action is relatively
smooth. A bit smoother than my Ryobi machine, and similar to other quality
units. There is the slightest side-to-side, and up-and-down play between
the motor body and fence as it is plunged. This is not really a problem as
cutting biscuit slots is somewhat forgiving anyway. It did not exhibit a
problem with any of the joints we created using the machine, and a little
play is necessary to allow free movement of the motor/base when plunging.
You can apply a dry-lubricant to this area to assist the plunge movement,
but don't apply any spray lube with ignition sources close by, or when the
machine is in operation. I find a teflon based lubricant worked well. You
could also use a silicon-based lubricant in this instance, but make sure
none of the surfaces that come into contact with your workpieces are
covered with the spray, or wipe them clear later. Also make sure the
lubricant used does not attract dust.
Let's move onto the fence now...
It is of cast metal construction and looks quite solid. The adjustment and
securing knobs are cast as well. Essentially, the fence provides both the
angle and depth (top to bottom) of cut from a reference face of the
workpiece you wish to cut a slot into. For a typical edge-to-edge joint
using biscuits (i.e. joining two boards together on their edges to make a
wider board) you line up the boards together in the configuration they
should be when finished (match grain, colors as best as possible etc).
With the two edges butted together, make a pencil line at 90 degrees to
the edges, and across both boards simultaneously, and repeat this at regular
intervals down the length of the proposed joint. Because you are marking
both boards at each point, the reference point for each will be the same
when separated. You then set up your biscuit joiner's additional height
adjustment fence. It
attaches to the angle-adjustable fence by means of a locking knob and
half-dovetail type surface mount on the opposite side. You can then slide this part
of the fence up and down to set how far from the top board face the
biscuit cutting blade will enter into the edge of the wood. In general,
you set this about half way between both faces, but may be closer to one edge if you wanted
to rout a profile on the opposite edge, as an example, or if you were
cutting multiple rows of biscuit slots. It would also be different for
edge to face joinery, like adding solid wood facing to an exposed plywood
edge. The depth adjustment scale ranges from 0mm to 35mm in 1mm
increments. You do need to make sure both arrow markers on the fence
itself line up to the same value on each scale to ensure the fence, and
hence the slot cutter remains square to your workpiece.
One thing I noticed
was absent on the BJ110 was a marker on the outer edges of the base
showing the projected midline of the biscuit blade's cut horizontally. This is a
feature of my Ryobi cutter and comes in handy for setting fence depth.
While not essential, it is, nonetheless, a small time saver. You can of
course mark this yourself with a permanent ink marker or etch it into the
base for a more permanent mark. The BJ110 does indeed have a marker for
the midline of the biscuit cut when looking down on the unit, i.e.
vertically, as you would
expect, and this is a vital marker for aligning the biscuit joiner with
your marks on the wood.
You can adjust the angle/bevel-angle fence to any angle between 0 and 90
degrees in 1 degree increments. A small triangular marker shows the current setting.
You can set the fence fairly accurately using this (perhaps to within 0.25
of a degree), at least as accurate
as it needs to be for biscuit joining given its small allowable margins
for error. A 45 degree mitre joint using biscuits would require you to set
the fence to 45 degrees to cut the biscuit slots, as an example of when
you would use a setting other than the 0 degree or 90 degree setting. One
thing I did notice was necessary, was to set the bevel angle part of the
fence first if you are also going to use the height adjustment fence as
well. This is because when the height adjustment fence is added, it
restricts the movement of the angle fence clamping knob so that it cannot
be tightened up. So always set bevel angle first and secure, then add,
adjust and tighten up the height adjustment fence.
On each side of the blade slot on the front part of the
fence are anti-slip rubber grips. As their name suggests, they are
designed to stop your workpiece slipping during the cut by adding extra
friction between the fence and workpiece. They seem to work well in use
and are certainly a welcome additional feature.
On the right lateral side of the tool's base is the dust collection
port. GMC include a dust collection bag in the kit and it attaches via a
"keyed-friction fit" (no tools needed) The port is about 3/4" in diameter.
GMC also include an attachment for use with a dust extraction system, and
when connected provides a larger extraction port diameter of around 1
7/16". Naturally, this still reduces down to the 3/4" port on the base but
does allow a vacuum with a stepped connector to be attached more easily.
So how effective was the dust collection?
I first used the BJ110 and cut some slots in merbau (a fairly dense
hardwood) and Tasmanian oak. The dust bag seemed to catch the majority of
the wood dust created. As a guesstimate, I'd say over 85%. This improved
when connected to a dust extraction vacuum to well over 90%. There was
little evidence of dust escaping from the front of the tool. When I was
working with pine however, I came across a problem. Because the pine
produced larger chips and shavings than the hardwood, it quickly clogged
up the 3/4" diameter collection port at the base when using the tool with
the dust bag fitted. As a result, dust collection capability was greatly
reduced after about half a dozen slots cut in pine. Thinking it may have
been just a rare occurrence I cleared the port and tried again. After
about 10 slot cuts it happened again. Larger chips and debris just lodged
and blocked the narrow extraction port. When I hooked it up to the dust
extraction unit again there was no problems with cutting slots in pine as
the vacuum provided the necessary suction to keep the chips and dust on
the move. So, basically, if you are going to use your BJ110 on pine
projects or perhaps with other types of softwoods that produce similar
chip sizes and structure, you will want to hook the tool up to a dust
extraction system to ensure the dust path is kept clear and unobstructed.
I think it just comes down to the port size here, and perhaps there is not
enough airflow to push the larger chips right through the narrow opening
to the dust collection bag? Perhaps even just a slightly larger diameter,
say 1", might have resolved that issue, but again, we had no problems with
hardwoods in general. I wouldn't consider it a major fault as my Ryobi
model also suffers from pine blockage on occasion with the dust bag
fitted, just something to be weary of.
Overall, given that the price tag for this tool is very reasonable for
the features it offers, and is competitive feature-wise with models
costing two or three times as much, the BJ110 is certainly worth
consideration. It's not the perfect biscuit joiner, but its price tag is
not trying to create that illusion either. It comes with a 2 year home use
warranty, and a 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee. Just return the
tool to the place of purchase if you are not happy with it within 30 days,
or if there is a warranty claim within 2 years of purchase. GMC are
generally good with warranty and return claims.
I really like the handle design as it suits my technique
of cutting biscuit slots and makes overall tool use more comfortable and
effective. The tool seemed very stable in operation and I felt safe using
it even in some awkward configurations, like cutting into a top face
(setting the tool on a board face and plunging straight down), and even
hand-holding the tool and workpiece to cut a slot in a mitred joint.
Adjustment features are simple to operate and all clamps
seem to hold firm during use. We didn't really experience any problems
with our joints that would make us think adjustments were slipping in use
in any way. As long as you remember that the setting for slot depth is at
the bottom of the selector knob, you shouldn't have any problem.
- Powerful motor handles virtually any wood species.
- Somewhat unique handle design on a biscuit joiner
promotes comfort and ease of use.
- Solid fence construction with no visible flex under
- Relatively smooth plunge action.
- Good value for money.
- When dust bag is attached to dust collection port, it
seems to block up easily when cutting some softwoods. Use dust
extraction vacuum wherever possible to alleviate the problem.
- Motor seems fairly noisy, even given its larger
rating. Ear muffs solve that problem however.
The GMC BJ110 would probably be my pick of the budget
biscuit joiners currently on the market. For more information on GMC or
their products, you can view the official website at
All photos copyright onlinetoolreviews.com.
Use without prior written permission prohibited
The BJ110 ships in a molded carry case with room for all accessories.
A somewhat unique design is a welcome change to the biscuit
The angle/bevel adjustment fence features a range from 9 to 90 degrees.
Slot depth selection knob.
Note the height adjustment scales on the front fence.
The height adjustment fence attached.
You can adjust the top handle to make things more comfortable.
The handle design seems unique to biscuit joiners, but is found fairly
commonly on angle grinders.
The dust bag attached and vacuum attachment next to it. Dust collection
is ok, but a little questionable with some softwoods.
The stock blade should be ok for a while but a better quality blade
should replace it when it goes dull.
Cutting a biscuit slot.
A couple of #10 biscuits ready to be inserted into the slots.
If you have correctly marked and cut your biscuit slots, they will line
up every time.
A biscuit joiner can be used for a wide variety of purposes.