Makita 18V LXT Cordless Biscuit/Plate Joiner Review

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Makita 18V LXT Cordless Biscuit/Plate Joiner – Model XJP03Z

Makita Cordless Plate/Biscuit Joiner

4.5/5
Manufacturer: Makita
Model number: XJP03Z
Price: 239.00
Power source: 18v
Weight: 8.2lbs

A biscuit joiner (or often referred to as a plate joiner) is a tool designed for woodworking where you join two pieces of wood together by cutting a crescent-shaped hole in the opposite edges of two pieces of wood.  An oval-shaped wooden biscuit is covered with glue and sits in the cut out hole. After the biscuit is placed in the slot, and the two boards are clamped together. The wet glue expands the biscuit, further improving the bond. As part of their expanding 18v LXT cordless line, Makita sent us their 18v LXT Cordless Biscuit/Plate Joiner for review both in the shop and out on the job site. Having the ability to unplug the cord and explore the job site with a cordless biscuit joiner is something only Makita currently offers!

Makita XJP03Z Features and Specifications

  • Rack-and-pinion vertical fence system engineered for accurate fence adjustments
  • Cast aluminum pivot fence with three positive stops at 0°, 45° and 90°, and easy centering on 3/4″ material
  • Six depth settings with one-touch stops for #0, #10, and #20 and most common biscuits sizes
  • Large and easy-to-operate cam locks for angle guide and fence adjustments
  • “Tool-less” blade cover and shaft lock for fast and easy blade changes
  • Non-marring rubber inserts on shoe engineered to prevent material from slipping
  • Cast aluminum front body for added durability
  • Slim and ergonomic body design for added comfort
  • Large top grip handle for improved handling

Makita XJP03Z Portability

The Makita XJP03Z cordless plate joiner provides portability both in the field or in the shop.  Cutting the cord allows you to focus on the job or task at hand and not worrying about outlets, extension cords or plugs. Its simple, unpack the tool, slide on the battery and start working. In the shop cordless tools are not as important for me. I have plenty of outlets and dedicated circuits for power tools. However as a custom fireplace mantel maker having the portability of a cordless biscuit joiner on site is super convenient.

Makita XJP03Z Tool-Less Adjustments

The Makita cordless biscuit joiner has some real nice tool-less adjustment features. The rack and pinion fence system easily adjusts with a turn knob on the right hand side that ranges from 0″ to 1-1/2″ and a pivot fence that has three positive stops at 0°, 45° and 90°. The depth setting will accommodate your most common biscuits #0, #10 and #20 but also has an adjustment screw which you can fine tune your depth settings if needed.

Makita XJP03Z Adjustments

Dust Collection

The Makita XJP03Z comes with a small slide on dust collection bag. The dust collection port can rotate to about 45° and accepts a 1″ hose. The dust bag is zipper free but we wish it was a little bit bigger. The bag fills up very quickly. In the shop we let the saw dust hit the floor or attached it to the dust collector but in the field we used the bag to keep the mess at a minimum.

Makita XJP03Z On the Job Site

Recently we put the Makita XJP03Z Cordless Plate Joiner to work on a custom fireplace mantle project. Having the ability to biscuit the pilasters into the returns creates a really strong joint once it’s glued and brad nailed. The biscuits allow for perfect alignment and eliminates uneven joints and excessive sanding!  Having the cordless option allows me to build on site instead of in the shop. The dust collection on site is key and even though the bag is small the collection is really good.

Makita XJP03Z In the Shop

My wife runs a custom sign company so I am always spending time in the shop doing glue-ups. We recently took several different size pieces of 3/4″ pine, plunged in several biscuits and glued them together. Once the boards dried we then cut out a circle and did a neat paint scheme. Prior to using the Makita XCP03Z,  I was running an old Craftsman corded biscuit joiner which undoubtedly is older than I am! The Makita allows me to make my plunges without having to find a power source. More importantly, after using this cordless version, it’s very apparent how much time was spent previously working “around” the cord and being tethered to a power source. The freedom of using a power tool without the cord is so nice even in the shop.

Makita XJP03Z Improvements

One thing worthy of mentioning in terms of improvements is the length of the handle. It needs to be a longer! With this  cordless biscuit joiner the grip portion of the tool is shorter than a traditional corded version.  When a user plunges the saw, the hand can hit the back of the motor housing sometimes preventing a full depth slot. A longer handle similar to a corded version would help eliminate this hassle. Makita should consider elongating the grip area to accommodate larger handed users.

Overall Impression

If you are currently using the Makita LXT platform on the job site or in the shop and are in the market for a biscuit / plate joiner this is really a no brainer. The ability to quickly make a few plunges without having to plug in the cord or locate an extension cord is super convenient and allows more time on task and less time searching for a power source.

About the author

Scott Arnold

Contributing Editor Scott Arnold is a young carpenter, and a 911 Dispatcher for a Boston area, Metro West 911 Center. When he is not in the Communications Center, you will find Scott getting his hands dirty on any number of contracting jobs, whether it is for his customers or on his newly purchased house. Scott enjoys contracting, DIY projects, spending time with his wife and 2 kids. Scott will help share his perspective on tools as carpenter and remodeler here and on AConcordCarpenter.com

http://www.scottarnoldremodeling.blogspot.com@scottarnold34

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No Comments

  1. Jim Premo

    Thanks for the review.
    I’ve been using one for a year or so now. In the field, power is at a premium and sometimes non existant. So now I have Makita battery and charger. Thanks Dewalt. Every major player should be offering one. Once you get the hang of using biscuts you can get creative with them.
    Being cordless makes it a snap to install.
    The quality of this tool should be a couple of steps higher to be more useful.

  2. Jim Premo

    Sometimes I get the impression that there are no other professionals reading this site. This is a great site for professionals. In fact the professionals should be carrying the conversation. Not throwing rocks at the amateurs that build and create.
    Are there not any professionals that carry and use a biscuit joiner in their work.
    If so, don’t hesitate to comment. Others need to know what the market is providing and what they are looking to buy is worth the investment.

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