A small conference table - the build #5: Glue-ups, surface flatness, anxiety, and 100X-200X magnification

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Blog entry by Al Navas posted 02-02-2009 06:43 PM 3786 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: The top is ready for finish Part 5 of A small conference table - the build series Part 6: Start applying the finish to the top, and set up legs and aprons »

On a previous post, on another forum, my friend rhino commented that removing the glue prematurely will lead to starving of the glue line.

He was right, of course. nd I have photo evidence. Please read on.

From my blog:

I truly must stop reading Christopher Schwarz’s blog. First, it cost me $20 for the first copy of the EyeClops. Once I learned what a terrific “toy” it is, I bought another one (this one for $28, as the price went up) for use by our granddaughters.

But now I am glad I bought two copies of this very special toy!

Recent discussion on glue-ups, particularly the table top I have been working on, highlighted to me why it is important to wait to clean the glue until it has gelled well. If one rushes to clean, as I did due to anxiety (to measure table top flatness), the glue line is starved near the surface, as it shrinks.

This first photo shows what the glue line should look like, if one waits:

But, by cleaning the glue at the glue line, voids in the glue line develop – the glue shrinks as it dries and cures:

My woodworking friend “rhino”, on this thread on WoodNet, was 100% correct. Of course, I knew this was likely to happen, but anxiety does funny things in the heat of a critical glue-up.

While the EyeClops was in the shop I looked at other features on the table top surface. This one is a small crater, part of a tiny knot near one of the ends of the top:

The side grain on the quarter-sawn white oak looks like this:

Focusing is critical using the EyeClops. And it requires a steady hand, to get good photos. But, once this is learned, it is very easy to use:

Chris, thanks for finding this little treasure!


-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

3 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4792 days

#1 posted 02-02-2009 08:36 PM

That is an interesting tool. I will have to look into one of these.

But at the same time does the void really have any impact on the build? It is not going to run that deep in terms of the overall depth of the top and, if you have to magnify it 100x to see it, you are not going to be able to see it with the naked eye or feel it. If it is necessary to fill then a little additional CA glue and sanding dust should eliminate the void.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Al Navas's profile

Al Navas

305 posts in 4845 days

#2 posted 02-02-2009 09:56 PM

You are right, Scott – in this case, it did not matter one iota.

But our friend rhino, on WoodNet, relates a different experience. He was too aggressive in removing the glue, and the finish was not able to fill in properly. I believe it is best to wait until the glue gels a somewhat, regardless.

-- Al Navas, Country Club, MO,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4792 days

#3 posted 02-03-2009 02:50 PM

I have become a convert to that method of glue removal. I used to think that it had to be removed immediately (I am sure this idea came from following Norm Abram’s routines). But letting it gel up is, at least in my opinion, a much better option.

But it does look like the Eyeclops is pretty cool. I may have to look into getting one of these.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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