Wedgewood is more than fine china

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Blog entry by stefang posted 08-17-2010 08:28 PM 9987 reads 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The problem
I was making a multi sided box the other day, and after cutting all the miters, I decided to add a lamination to make the sides more interesting. The problem was that clamping all those small pieces (6 sides and 5 glue joints on each one) seemed like a nightmare job until I realized that the answer was to use wedges instead of tape or clamps.

I had used wedges for a thin panel glue-up a week earlier with good results so it was only natural to use them again. The only problem was that due to the glue-up being narrow, I had to figure out a way to hold the front edge backing board firmly in place.

The following photo shows my solution. Not particularly smart, but it worked well enough and I avoided the slipping/sliding problems that are oft experienced with these nitty picky little glue-ups. The ironic part is that I still used a lot of clamps in this particular case.

So here is the setup with the workpiece between the two backing boards and the extenders clamped on the front to allow the front backing board to reach where needed. The main idea here is just to show that the backing boards used to support the workpiece and wedges can just be clamped in place or backed up by extenders as I done here, so no special jigs are necessary. Another really big advantage to using wedges is that you don’t get cupping and therefore you don’t need cauls with this kind of clamping.


And finally here is the setup with the wedges actually applying pressure.


This was a pretty stressless glue-up, especially considering the number of individual pieces and the already cut sides which resulted from my usual ‘design as you go’ method. I hope someone out there will find this useful.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

10 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3596 days

#1 posted 08-17-2010 08:43 PM

thank´s Mike
for showing that it is possiple
I have always had trubble with wedges holding things (when I make the last tap every thing jumps)
but maybee I´m using too much pressure or (as I can see from yours) my wedges is too short

I will give it another try after this :-)

take care

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18657 posts in 4156 days

#2 posted 08-17-2010 08:46 PM

Mike, great sloution ;-) I have wondered why there aren’t more wdeges used in what I see on here, but being a novice I didn’t want to suggest something I didn’t have any experience doing.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3815 days

#3 posted 08-17-2010 08:59 PM

Dennis The secret is to not make the wedges with too much angle. The ones pictured above are at 4 degrees, but even 2 degrees works well. Over 5 degrees doesn’t give a smooth clamping and they don’t hold too well either. You can usually see from the glue squeeze-out when enough pressure has been applied. I forgot to take pics when actually gluing, so the photos don’t show any squeeze out.

Bob I’ve read quite a few articles on using wedges. They really are great, but most folks just don’t think about using them. Too bad, as they can be used in so many different ways. Well worth searching for articles on the woodworking sites and in general. Wedges are also extremely useful for handplaning boards without applying pressure at the ends of the board as bench dogs do with bowing as a result.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3596 days

#4 posted 08-17-2010 09:08 PM

thank´s Mike
that make sence
it wasn´t so much in a glue up , but as in other things like handplaning as you say
now I have to figur out how to make them with handtools…......LOL
I don´t have Bs or a Ts where I know the tecnic to do it fast like in a productionline…....LOL

thank´s once more Mike


View stefang's profile


16717 posts in 3815 days

#5 posted 08-17-2010 09:27 PM

Dennis If you saw out a wedge shape on the side of a board then you can clamp it to your bench, or better yet a cutting board, then cut the end off another board for your wedge material that has a width that will fit into cutout so that the grain runs the length of the wedge, and then cut along the edge of the first piece to cut your wedges which will then be identical. This can all be done with a handsaw. The ripping side of those japanese handsaws work great for this if you have one. I hope you can understand my poor instructions.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3421 days

#6 posted 08-17-2010 09:33 PM

Clever Mike! Wedges are great tools and I use them a lot. I have a box under my assembly table filled with a selection of widths and lenghts. Wedges are way under rated, under utilized and one of the cheapest clamping devices available!

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3596 days

#7 posted 08-17-2010 09:49 PM

I think so Mike you flip the bord after each cut right
I have just added this to my longlist of favorits (I use it to remember things with easyer to find again) :-)
mostly tips and tricks like this (can never remember where I saw things after my carcrashes)


View mafe's profile


12096 posts in 3570 days

#8 posted 08-17-2010 11:00 PM

Hi Mike,
Yes the simple solution are so often the one we can’t find.
I think I have to make me a box of wedges after reading this.
The only thing I use them for ar mounting doors and holding my sawcuts open sometimes.
So thank you for this nice reminder, of what was completely normal before the clamps!!!
Best thoughts my dear Mike.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View blockhead's profile


1475 posts in 3789 days

#9 posted 08-19-2010 01:27 PM

Thanks for the tip Mike. It’s always good to get back to basics. With all the new woodworking gadgets and tools, we often need to be reminded that simple is usually better and less is more.

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View Bluebear's profile


417 posts in 3377 days

#10 posted 08-20-2010 01:25 PM

this is a great idea mike :) no doubt i’ll be using this technique in the future, thanks for the tip!

-- -- It's only a mistake if you can't fix it.

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