Trestle Table #5: Cambered Cauls

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Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 09-04-2016 01:55 AM 1312 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Mechanic Duties Part 5 of Trestle Table series Part 6: Complete Cambered Cauls »

In order to make sure the table top I will be gluing will be flat and so I can keep the thickness I have milled to separate board, I am making cambered cauls for clamping. I want the boards to retain their milled thickness of 13/16 inches so I can cut curved edges to the table top.

I read somewhere during my research that softwood lumber is okay for clamping cauls. I bought three 2 by 12 by 8 feet redwood planks today at Lowes. I selected the planks that where very straight. Also most of these boards do not have any knots in them.

I am generally following a Fine Woodworking article to make these cambered cauls by using my planer.

Prior to jointing a surface flat I decided cut the eight foot lengths of the three planks in half and then rip the four foot planks into thirds. The ripped widths thus is oversized to 3 1/2 inches. This leaves me three 3 1/2 inch wide boards, four feet long.

Then I jointed one surface flat and and an edge square to it. From there I ran the 18 boards through my planer so they all have the same thickness.

Next I ripped each of these boards to 3 inches width with the squared edge up against my table saw’s fence.

I then crosscut these boards so I have three sets of six boards to the following lengths: 28 inches, 38 inches and lastly 44 inches. Then with a rule I marked the center point on the edge I am going to camber a slope to their edges.

I clamped a stop on the planer. Laid the center line past the cutters and then planed off 1/16ths inch on the short boards, about an 1/8th inch off the 38 inch long boards and bit more from the 44 inch long boards.

They are good to go as they are, but I also bought six 6 inch long bolts and six 8 inch long bolts. Tomorrow I will drill holes in the ends of these cambered cauls so I can bolt them to sandwiched table top between them.

I drew squiggle lines on the cambered edges so I can easily determine what edge to apply to the table top when I glue it together.

Tomorrow I will also rub on paste wax on all surfaces of these cauls. I will then determine if I should apply any packing tape to the cambered edge in order to avoid having the surface adhere to the table top when I glue and clamp it.

-- --- Happy Howie

2 comments so far

View Bigrock's profile


292 posts in 3839 days

#1 posted 09-05-2016 01:14 AM

Yes I would apply packing tape to the cauls.
I notice in the background that you have a Grizzly Jointer. Which model is it and what do you think of it. You can send me a message

View HappyHowie's profile


481 posts in 2821 days

#2 posted 09-05-2016 03:49 AM

Hi Bigrock,

When I started woodworking in 2013 I priced several brands at my local Woodcraft store. They generally were selling Powermatic and Jet; maybe some others. I knew quickly that I want a jointer larger than 6 inches. When I inquired about the price of an 8” jointer I got shocked by the salesman’s reply. He said: “Well, you probably couldn’t afford it”. I don’t how he determined what I could afford, or not. I simply retorted that he was brand biased.

I made the decision to purchase most major items from Grizzly: floor drill press, planer, and their jointer. The specific model of jointer I listed below. I enjoy it very much. I have noticed many other well known woodworker that have videos on YouTube and Fine Woodworking also are using Grizzly equipment.

G0490X 8” Jointer w/ Spiral Cutter and Parallelogram Beds

My jointer has worked great from the first. I checked the setup settings before using it for the first time. All of the manual’s specifications were correct right out of the box. Only this latest issue with one of the motor’s key worked itself loose. I have now repaired that and I think my jointer is working the best it ever has. Without prior experience I probably did not know that the allen pins needed tightening. It sounds better and is working better even with thin or thick passes over the spiral cutterhead. The parallelogram beds are so easy to set. I have not needed to adjust the outfeed table since day one. The infeed was adjusted when I placed it into service over three years ago. Now all I need to do is set the depth I want the jointer cut from whatever board I am going to joint flat. I oil it every so often and check the flatness of the two surfaces now and then.

I am still getting great smooth cuts on the initial edges of the cutters. I bought a hardened tool so when they need to be turned 90 degrees I can do that without running to store. However, I do not need to turn them yet.

I do not have experience on any other jointer brand, but it is hard to imagine any other 8 inch jointer being better. If I had a wish it would be that I had a wider jointer: maybe 12 inches would take care of all the hardwood I have been buying. Who knows. I saw some nice wide cherry timber the other day. Maybe if I struck it rich, I would get a 16 or 24 inch jointer. If only I was rich…

My Grizzly jointer has been great.

-- --- Happy Howie

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