Treasure Box #5: Dry fit and glue up

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Blog entry by TerryDowning posted 03-11-2014 03:35 PM 2428 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: A little more on the mitered dovetails Part 5 of Treasure Box series Part 6: Clean up and First Look at what finish will be. »

In the last segment I explained a bit more about the process for creating the Mitered Dovetails.

Using that process I continued to refine the fit by repeated dry fittings.

A couple of words on dry fitting and dovetails.

The more you fit those joints, the looser they become. I had heard this before. The reality is the more you fuss with it the worse things get. Eventually you need to gain enough confidence in your skills (both in the initial cutting and clearing of the joints and what you will do if the joint is not what you expect)

I don’t have any pictures of the joints during the fitting process mostly because with each fitting the sloppier the joints got, the frustration increased, and thinking about taking photos was not on my mind.

Eventually I decided enough was enough and any further working of these joints short of starting over was just wasting time. Starting over is not an option for 2 reasons. 1. The wedding is less than three weeks away and I still need to turn 2 pens and write a speech. 2. I don’t have enough of this plum wood to make a box this size.

I’m trying a new to me glue and going with the Liquid Hide Glue from Titebond. I used this on the prototype that kept breaking apart and it held great. Much better than the regular yellow glue I typically use.

I was very pleased with the longer open time as it gave me time to apply glue to all facets of each pin/tail combination on all corners and still have time for clamping which is important when the joints start getting sloppy.

We’ll see how it comes out when I get home tonight. BTW doing a glue up before you leave for a while is a great way to make sure you leave it alone for several hours.

After the glue dries I’ll have to see how the joints turn out and what I’ll do with any gaps. Anyone ever use the sawdust and glue trick with liquid hide glue?

-- - Terry

5 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4447 days

#1 posted 03-11-2014 04:06 PM

Never done that with hide glue, actually never used hide glue before. Only Gorilla Glue, Titebond II, III, and the old Elmers wood glue. Be interested in seeing how that turns out.

I tend to do my glue ups / get things in clamps just as the last thing to do before cleanup and closing out the shop for the night if I can, that way I know I have had at least 12 hours before I touch it.

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View shipwright's profile


8748 posts in 4013 days

#2 posted 03-12-2014 05:21 AM

Fine sanding dust in hot hide glue (called mastic) has been used to fill the kerfs and small gaps in marquetry for a couple of hundred years. I can attest that it works well as a filler but not for it’s strength in bridging gaps. I can say that it dries very hard.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View TerryDowning's profile


1152 posts in 3332 days

#3 posted 03-12-2014 03:29 PM

Thanks Paul! I was hoping you would chime in. I’m running an experiment now with the glue I have to see how things come out. I don’t have a hot hide glue setup yet and this is my first time with any hide glue product. So far I’m very impressed.

Fortunately the finish has been decided and it will be straight shellac so I don’t have to worry too much about different absorption rates like I would with any kind of stain or oil. The glue up worked very well. I took the clamps off last night and this box is very solid. My next blog entry will be the clean up process and cutting apart the top from the bottom.

Then cut the mortises for the hinges and lock, then final sanding and finishing. I’m not in the home stretch yet, but the end is in sight.

-- - Terry

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8748 posts in 4013 days

#4 posted 03-12-2014 05:10 PM

Looking good Terry. Clean up the glue residue with cold water and a scotchbrite type scouring pad. Wipe it dry and look for shiny spots. Make sure you get them all. It’s easy to clean up but you still have to get it off.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View CFrye's profile


11352 posts in 3054 days

#5 posted 03-13-2014 08:50 AM

Thanks for sharing your insights Terry. So new to dovetails I hadn’t considered how much time it wouod take to apply glue to all the surfaces or that the joints would loosen up with a lot of manipulation. Makes sense.

-- God bless, Candy

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