Tool: Porter-Cable 555 Biscuit Joiner
A ugly duckling by any tool standards, the Porter-Cable 555 was a gift and not my number one choice at the time. It’s so odd looking that when I opened the box, I almost had to ask, “What is it?” and to be honest this one has never grown on me but it’s served it’s purpose despite my issues with it.
- 5 Amp Porter-Cable motor
- Belt-Drive instead of helical gear
- 8,000 RPM
I have used this Porter-Cable Joiner extensively, whether I liked it or not, it’s mine. I’m not the kind of person to put a tool up for sale and go buy a better one. It’s never really been in my budget to buy any tool whenever, so I stuck with this one and even modified it a bit.
With the Porter-Cable 555 I have biscuit joined countless interior trims from crown to casings to paneling. In the shop I have glued up planks large and small. I’ve even done a few boxes with biscuited 45º joints. For stand-up work on the bench the 555 is actually a comfortable design to use but leaning over a long piece of crown is another story.
I’m pretty sure I’ve only laughed at this joiner and never with it. The worst component has to be the fixed allen screws that secure the fence adjustment. You have to have a hex key to change the height of the fence. Never lose the key, have two just in case. A pain in the ass but accurate. I bought some thumbscrews which make nice adjustable knobs but they stick out so as to interfere with angle work which is a pretty decent feature on this particular joiner. The 555 is an older design, but even so when it was made there were much more favorable joiners on the market. I’ve used other designs on my jobs and for certain applications I preferred to use my Porter Cable Model 555 but if I needed this tool more than occasionally, I would choose another. Though it’s reputedly a smooth belt-drive, I don’t consider this tool smooth. It’s coarse and loud and doesn’t have any dust management. It’s a pain to adjust but my Porter-Cable 555 is still working, so until I can afford the Festool or Lamello, I’m still using it.
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