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Thin Panel Glue-Up

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Blog entry by MPython posted 04-23-2019 08:05 PM 446 reads 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been working non a frame-and-panel back for the Federal slant top desk I’m building. I’ve completed the frame and glued it up, except for the two end stiles that will be glued on after the panels are inserted.

I resawed some 4/4 white pine I’ve had for a long time for the panels. The panels are 18” wide, so I need to glue up some narrow pieces of the resawed pine to get the width I need. I’ve struggled with gluing up thin panels in the past until I learned a luthier’s trick that makes the whole process a snap. I thought I’d post it here for those of you who may not know it.

3M makes a painter’s tape specifically designed for pinstriping automobiles. It’s similar to the blue painter’s tape we’re all used to except it has a lot more stretch to facilitate taping smoothly over the curves of an auto body. It’s light green color and 3M calls it “Scotch 233+”. I’ve seen painter’s tape the same green color at the BORG, but it’s not Scotch and I’m not sure if it has the same stretch quality, which is key to this process.

After resewing the panels and planing them to the desired thickness (a little shy of 3/8” in this case), I book matched them, folded them together and planed the mating edges. This gives me a perfectly mated joint even if I’m off 90 degrees a little. It usually takes me several tries before I get a perfectly mated joint the entire length. Once I’ve accomplished that, I lay the panels on a flat surface and butt the joint together. Then I apply strips of the green painters tape, about 3” apart at 90 across the joint. Here’s the trick: while applying the strips I stretch the tape as I lay it down. When I release the tension, the tape relaxes and pulls the joint together.

When I’ve applied all the strips to one side, I apply a second strip of painters tape down the length of the joint. This helps keep the pieces aligned during the remainder of the procedure and reduces squeeze out on the back side.

Next, I fold the two panels together like closing a book. This exposes the edges.

I apply VERY THIN line of glue on each edge, open the panels up flat and place them, face down, on a flat surface. Then I repeat the application of painters tape strips on the back side, stretching the tape as I apply it.

Once done, I have painters tape on both sides of the panel that is pulling the joint together with enough force to produce a little squeeze out.

This is why I don’t want a heavy glue application – a light glue application is sufficient to secure the joint and it avoids a big, messy clean up. When the taping is done, I place a couple of flat boards on the panel and add a heavy weight to keep the panel flat while the glue cures.

I can handle it after about an hour, but I’m going to let this sit overnight before I cut the panels to final size and install them in the frame.

I’ve used rub joints for thin panels and clamping jigs with wedges. These both work (except maybe the rub joints), but this stretchy tape method is simple, requires no fancy jigs or equipment and it works every time. I’ve used it on thicker panels, but I prefer clamps for anything over about 1/2”. This is my preferred method for thiner stock.

Hope you find this helpful.

M. Python



12 comments so far

View 489tad's profile

489tad

3590 posts in 3375 days


#1 posted 04-23-2019 09:14 PM

Good tip on the Scotch tape. I’ve had good luck in the past with regular painters tape but will give the stretchy tape go the next time.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View BlueRidgeDog's profile

BlueRidgeDog

485 posts in 143 days


#2 posted 04-24-2019 12:11 AM

I have a sacrificial top on my assembly table and just screw a caul down on one edge, then clamp against a second one, then screw a caul down over the seem.

View Horus's profile

Horus

31 posts in 32 days


#3 posted 04-24-2019 04:18 AM

If you run the blue tape (I use regular brown masking tap) along the outside edges before your gluing, you can use more glue to ensure a good bond. If you do this, make sure to run additional strips of tape in parallel to allow the two pieces to lie flat and 180 to each other.

I’ll have to try the green tape, good tip! I’ve been clamping 1/8 and thinner veneers for game boards with good success tho sometimes get a little bowing.

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

6029 posts in 2568 days


#4 posted 04-24-2019 09:23 PM

Well the taping procedure looks good but how did you get the anvil up there?
If that was me, I possibly have drop short on my hands. tee hee

I do have an excess of ply so its a worthwile test for me but I think it will be more like BlueRidgeDog’s method.
Mind you I would love to be able to lift an anvil these days,

Anyway nice work and I am off looking for some Scotch 233+ maybe littleblackduck has a supply I may check with him first.

-- Regards Rob

View MPython's profile

MPython

119 posts in 176 days


#5 posted 04-25-2019 12:26 PM

Anyway nice work and I am off looking for some Scotch 233+ maybe littleblackduck has a supply I may check with him first.

- robscastle

Rob, I found the Scotch 233+ tape an an auto parts store. Ask for 3M or Scotch pin striping tape.

View Jay Coleman's profile

Jay Coleman

3 posts in 31 days


#6 posted 04-25-2019 03:54 PM

You have good wood production. I noticed that you have a lot of different tools for wood processing. Can you make designer tables? I’ll soon be writing an essay on the subject of “making wood furniture” and I don’t know how to write everything correctly, I may have to ask for help from professional writers https://familyessay.org/law-essay-writing/ so that they write me a good essay . But I’m not sure that writers can write an essay on the production of furniture.

View Jay Coleman's profile

Jay Coleman

3 posts in 31 days


#7 posted 04-25-2019 03:55 PM

Interesting idea.

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

6029 posts in 2568 days


#8 posted 05-06-2019 12:16 PM

You never told me how you got that anvil up there!
I gave up on the 233+ tape even LBD couldnt find a supply.
Oh well add that to the growing number of great items not avaiable in Aust.

-- Regards Rob

View MPython's profile

MPython

119 posts in 176 days


#9 posted 05-06-2019 01:28 PM

Hi, Rob.

I lifted the anvil up there! I don’t look forward to doing it, but it’s better than having my panels bow as the glue dries. it weighs about 70 pounds. I figure I can skip a day at the gym after a good glue-up. ;>)

I’ve bought Scotch 233 tape at O’Riley Auto Supply and Sherwin Williams. It’s also available online:

https://www.waytekwire.com/item/20907/GREEN-3M-233+-MASKING-TAPE/?msclkid=f0d1778f9de11e90412c2b5fa98eb58b&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=WP%20-%20Waytek%20Wire%20-%20Database&utm_term=scotch%20233%2B&utm_content=3M%20-%20233%2B

There are other stretchy tapes that would probably work. I just ordered a couple of rolls of 3M #471 vinyl tape to seal the joint between my dust collector and the dust bin. It is advertised to be elastic with a strong bond, and it doesn’t leave any residue when it is removed. I haven’t used it before, but it would probably work fine too. I think it is more widely available than the Scotch 233.

https://www.amazon.com/3M-Vinyl-Yellow-Conveniently-Packaged/dp/B07BBTG65Q/ref=sr_1_51_sspa?crid=1OP7FTOC1DJ39&keywords=3m+471+tape&qid=1557148912&s=gateway&sprefix=3M+471+tape%2Caps%2C147&sr=8-51-spons&psc=1&smid=AMH7LCC7WPG11

View pottz's profile

pottz

5037 posts in 1348 days


#10 posted 05-06-2019 10:16 PM

this tape is used by stucco guys and adheres to almost everything and doesnt leave a residue.ive used it for years and works great.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View Horus's profile

Horus

31 posts in 32 days


#11 posted 05-07-2019 04:18 AM

Has anyone tried standard plastic electrical tape? It’s pretty stretchy, but maybe leaves a residue? Maybe I’ll try that tomorrow.

View Horus's profile

Horus

31 posts in 32 days


#12 posted 05-09-2019 02:25 AM



Has anyone tried standard plastic electrical tape? It s pretty stretchy, but maybe leaves a residue? Maybe I ll try that tomorrow.

- Horus

I tested the electric tape, it works pretty well, not terribly sticky on pine anyway and good stretch recovery. My shop is in the basement so probably around 60 degrees. If it’s not hot and you don’t leave it on for extended time, this ,ight be a good, cheap and readily available option.

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