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Porter-Cable 557 Professional Plate Joiner Kit

Porter-Cable 557 Professional Plate Joiner Kit

Porter-Cable
Shipping weight: 13.1 pounds
ASIN: B00004YKUO
Check price and buy @ amazon.com


The unique tilt system from Porter-Cable 557 professional plate joiner allows the fence to be adjusted to a wide range of angles from 0 to 135 degrees.


Features:
  • The powerful 7.5 amp motor delivers smooth, accurate cuts
  • Includes 2- and 4-inch diameter blades for standard and face frame biscuits
  • The unique fence adjusts from 0 to 135 degrees to ensure accurate mitered joints
  • The top handle is attached directly to the fence for maximum stability
  • The micro height-adjust knob allows precise biscuit placement

Amazon.com Review
Though this Porter-Cable tool is priced higher than comparable DeWalt and Makita models, the 557 is Amazon.com's top-selling plate joiner. Its success is perhaps due to its very powerful 7-1/2 amp motor, the largest in the industry which turns the blade at 10,000 rpm and does an excellent job of making clean cuts in any kind of wood. As well as cutting slots for the standard no. 0, 10, and 20 biscuits, Porter-Cable's joiner features an exclusive, full-thickness, FF biscuit developed especially for cabinet face frames. Another unique feature of the Porter-Cable joiner is the 2-inch blade (included), which is small enough to make cuts in stock as narrow as 1-1/2 inches. We found the microheight adjustment works well, allowing for precise biscuit placement. The tool is well balanced and comfortable to use.

From the Manufacturer
With the most powerful motor on the market, this plate joiner is also the most versatile. The 7.5 amp motor turns the blade at 10,000 rpm for smooth, accurate cutting. Users can choose from seven different cutting operations for a variety of fasteners. Slots can be cut for the standard #0, #10, and #20 biscuits as well as #6 (Max) and an exclusive, full-thickness, FF biscuit for building cabinet face frames. The unit comes with a four-inch blade for standard cuts and the unique two-inch blade for cuts in stock as narrow as 1-1/2 inches.

Two more settings are used for installing hinges and knockdown hardware. Accuracy is ensured by the very advanced fence system of this joiner. A micro height-adjust knob allows perfect biscuit placement. The unique tilt system allows the fence to be adjusted to a wide range of angles from 0 to 135 degrees. By tilting the fence to 135 degrees, miter cuts are referenced from the outside or finished side, of the workpiece. This ensures proper alignment of the finished side of a mitered joint, even if the pieces being joined are of slightly different thicknesses, as with solid hardwoods and plywoods. Also, the pivot point for the fence is directly on the face of the tool so the height scale always reads true, no matter the angle. A fence plate is included for easily centering two-inch stock and for use as a spacer allowing a double-wide slot to be cut which can hold two biscuits for more reinforcement. Adding to the accuracy, the bail handle is attached directly to the fence allowing one hand to stabilize the fence during cutting operations while the other plunges the motor. Changing blades is easy with a keyhole-slotted blade cover and a spindle lock for one-wrench blade changes.

One year warranty with a 30 day performance certification. Includes joiner, four-inch carbide blade #5558, two-inch blade #5559, spanner wrench #886041, dust bag #883175, chip deflector #886490, carrying case, and operator's manual.

Technical data:
  • Amps: 7-1/2
  • Watts: 900
  • Volts: 120
  • Blade diameter: 2 in. and 4 in.
  • Arbor diameter: 7/8 in.
  • No-load speed: 10,000 rpm
  • Type of blade included: Six- and four-tooth carbide
  • Fence range: 0 to 135 degrees
  • Fence-adjust mechanism: Jack screw
  • Cord length: 8 ft.
  • Cord type: 2-prong rubber
  • Bearing type(s): Ball bearing
  • Number of depth settings: Seven
  • Biscuit sizes accepted: FF, 0, 10, 20, Simplex, Duplex, and 6
  • Maximum cutting depth: 7/8 in.
  • Maximum cutting width: 3-1/4 in.
  • Grade: Professional
  • Country of manufacture: USA
  • Also included: 2 and 4 in. blades
  • Tool-free fence adjustment: Yes
  • Fixed fence stops: Yes
  • Soft start: No
  • Switch lock: No
  • Dust chute: Yes
  • Soft-grip handle: No
  • Electric brake: No
  • Onboard wrench: No
  • External brush access: No
  • Detachable cord: No
  • Spindle lock: Yes
  • Dust bag included: Yes
  • Biscuits included: No
  • Shop-Vac adapter included: Yes
  • Blade included: Yes
  • Carrying case: Yes
  • Height: 7 in.
  • Length: 14 in.
  • Width: 8 in.
  • Weight: 7-1/2 lbs.
  • Shipping Weight: 14-1/4 lbs.
  • Product: 30-day no-risk trial; 1-year
  • Service: None

Customer Reviews:
Don't do a joint without it., October 1, 2002
Reviewer: A home improvement enthusiast from Houston, TX United States
If you are going to edge joint, or just about any other kind of jointery work, this is the machine for you. Even though Norm uses the big red machine, this PC will do just about anything you want. The only weak spot I have found in two years of use is the chip bag needs to be emptied after 15 or so cuts for a number 20 biscut. The joints are as strong as the wood, something I found out the hard way after forgitting how I had joined a face frame part and distroying the piece before it came apart. It may cost a little more than the compitetion, but the 135 degree feature makes it worth the cost if you are going to biscut join miters.

PC 557 Plate Joiner, September 18, 2002
Reviewer: J Dirk Bremer from St Charles, MO USA
A really nice machine, comes with every accessory required, including a dust-collector system connector. I have used this mainly with oak, and it cuts into oak like butter. Nice fence, includes case. Perfect for the woodworker.

Excellent tool, easy to use, September 10, 2002
Reviewer: Enchiladostyle from Pasadena, CA
Plain and simple...this tool will not let you down. If you do your part by laying out accurate marks, your joints will line up perfectly every time. Usually new tools take some time to master...but I was cutting slots that were right on the money the first day I got it. I've used it on red oak, pine, and various types of plywood and it had plenty of power in all cases. I have yet to see it bog down. I bought the 557 about a year ago and have been very happy with it.

This tool should be part of your joint., August 26, 2002
Reviewer: Matt Smith from Littleton, CO
I purchased this the PC 557 about a month ago. Since then, I've made several frames for painting canvasses, and I'm working on a bench. The PC 557 has made all of the joints in those projects, and I know it will continue to make the joints for other projects.

One of the great features of this biscuit jointer is that it can use face frame biscuits straight out of the box, since it comes standard with a 2" blade. If you own a miter saw and a router, you can make quality picture frames in no time. And they will be MUCH stronger than a nailed, screwed, or doweled frame.

This is a powerful tool, and it cuts through the wood like butter. As I mentioned, I'm using it to build a bench. I've made the seat of the bench out of edge-joined 1x2's. It really does a great job in a short amount of time. Sure, a biscuit jointer isn't entirely necessary, nor the first power tool you should purchase, but it will save you lots of time. If you're in the market for one, I'd recommend this one.

Porter Cable Plate Joiner, July 27, 2002
Reviewer: Chris Kebschull from USA
I have never used another plate joiner, so I may be a little biased. I have, however, used the Porter Cable 557 for dozens of projects, and it has worked flawlessly every time. The micro adjustment works well, and the plate is accurate and stable. There is a little torque on start-up, but that's with any power tool. The alignment marks and adjustments are easy to see and manipulate. Plenty of power...I doubt I will ever get the chance to use any other brand.

Excellent; still, a little room for improvement, June 19, 2002
Reviewer: duke-of-url from Medford, MA USA
The tool itself is well-made, easy to use, arrived perfectly adjusted, and has all the features I could want and then some for plate joining. Amazon now offers this tool at a much lower price than I paid at the local dealer, so it's hard to imagine buying anything less. I'm very happy with mine and expect to make good use of it.

My complaints are minor. I might have given 4 1/2 stars if that was an option. From having used it some, here are my comments:
1. The dust bag doesn't work well for me. It seems like after the first few goes the 1" pipe got plugged and the scraps went everywhere but in the bag from then on. I had to clean out the freshly-cut grooves, which were full of the cutting debris. I would guess that using a dust-collector or shopvac with this unit would resolve these problems.

2. The manual tells you how to cut grooves, but it doesn't tell you how to use plates to join wood. How far apart should the bisquits be? Pictures show then line up one next to another, yet I think that about every 8-16" is enough for most applications. How big are the grooves? For example, can I use a #20 bisquit with 1/2" plywood? How far from the edge should I put the center line? Answers are: just short of 1/2" per surface, yes, and at least 1 1/2". Sure, you can measure, you can figure it out, but if you've never seen a plate joiner being used, the manual doesn't give all the practical info you might like.

But: the unit gives you a second (smaller) blade for cutting tiny plate grooves (handy for making small things). It is very easy to adjust the depthy of the cut, and a knob allows you to adjust it incrementally without the whole thing going out of whack (like the Freud does when you loosen the fence). The depth gauge works well. It's set up to be fast and easy to use. Mine came perfectly adjusted for use the first time (the Freud I tried first did not). The fence is very flexible to use. The sandpaper on the machine helps keep it exactly where you set it on the work.

TIP 1: be careful that you don't press down at all when you power it on. If it is down even a 1/8", the blade tip will snag the work and move away from the line. You can recover easily by repositioning the cutter and trying again, and no damage is done. Also, the torque in the motor can be enough to move the machine from the center line; the sandpaper helps this.

TIP 2: There is a minor design problem with using the unit with fence set to 0 degrees. For more on the problem, and a simple solution, search the web for "pc557 fence alignment" (without quotes).

Excellent Tool, June 18, 2002
Reviewer: gj1999 from Worthing, SD United States
This was my first of many tool purchases .... I read several reviews in different magazines and consulted with a few buddies that are wood working hobbiests. I came down to the Porter-Cable and a Makita. I went and looked at both models, there's no comparison. The PC has a better and easier elevation adjustment and it's easier to handle. I've built a captain's bed and two dressers with it. Accurate cuts every time.

Worth the money, June 13, 2002
Reviewer: James R Hudson from New Hope, MN USA
There is a spot in the back of my brain that says I can't afford the best, so I buy third best, throw it away, then buy the best. This kit made me smile. Fence depth and angle adjustment are a dream. Plenty of power to cut a #20 in hard oak without a whimper. Balance is a big plus when cutting a lot of slots and P-C went out of their way for comfort. I hope Bl--k and De-k-r never want a review from me on their product.

Makes Joining Boards and Custom Joints Pleasure!, June 6, 2002
Reviewer: Al the Pal from The Fruited Plain, United States
I had been using a Freud JS-100 for years and put the Porter Cable on my Amazon wish list last Christmas. My wife got the hint and it was under the tree!

This is such a superior machine there is almost no comparison. The first thing I noticed is that the motor runs very smoothly with no "clacking" like the Freud and some other power tools have. The switch is very easy to operate and you must be careful not to accidentally turn it on when you grab it by the back; I got in the habit of using the bale handle to carry it around.

The fence is fantastic! The forward plate is extra long which makes it easy to hold the machine square to the board. If you keep your fingers above and on the opposite side of the board, there is no danger. The adjustments on this fence are great. I used it to biscuit some 120 degree angle trim I had to edge join for the front of a building. This fence allows you to cut from the outside of the joint, assuring a perfect outside corner. The height adjustment is micro-adjustable with a knurled disc. All the fence adjustments lock securely with small knobs.

The dust bag is very efficient, but will only hold about 10-12 cuts on #20 biscuits. I find I use the open chute in the shop when I have lots of cuts to make. I do use the bag, but generally only where expelled chips represent a problem. It is easy to empty by unzipping it in a trash can when removed from the machine.

The mini "FF" or Face Frame biscuits are virtually unique to this machine. The small cutter required for them is included and is about a 5 minute job to install. They are also useful for narrower picture frames and boxes made from thin stock.

The kit is complete with all but a 5/16" end wrench you will need to set the depth of cut lock. There is a plastic spacer plate that allows stacked biscuits without resetting the fence for each board. Dust chute, dust bag and allen wrench are also included.

I find using biscuits to align long joints before screwing them together with pocket screws works great; you can even disassemble them if you don't use glue.

This machine is such a pleasure to use; a smooth, powerful motor; a very versatile fence and extremely accurate results make this the top choice for plate joiners in my book. There are more expensive machines, but they are not as versatile as the Porter Cable 557.


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