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Forum topic by Robert posted 07-19-2017 04:11 PM 1197 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Robert

3468 posts in 1929 days


07-19-2017 04:11 PM

Got all my panels cut to fit like usual but this time I want to try Spaceballs.

I’m realizing now I need to cut the panels down a little.

Is there a rule of thumb on the spaceball allowance?

They look to be 1/4” diameter.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!


26 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1243 posts in 2444 days


#1 posted 07-19-2017 04:31 PM

I’ve never used them, so the only advice I can offer is to fasten your seat belt before you go ‘the plaid’.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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TungOil

1298 posts in 944 days


#2 posted 07-19-2017 04:37 PM

They are 1/4” diameter. I usually allow a heavy 1/8” clearance on either side and compress them some on installation. So my panels are 1/4” to 5/16” narrower overall than the overall length of the rails (tenon to tenon). This seems to work well for me using the standard 3/8” tenons off my shaper cutters. I use eight balls per panel, regardless of the panel size. Two on each edge, located close to the joint.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5332 posts in 2758 days


#3 posted 07-19-2017 04:47 PM

Read this

http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/woodworking-tips-1106jun/askthestaff.html

I don’t use them myself. Seem like an unnecessary step.

http://www.rockler.com/space-balls-raised-panel-door-spacers

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Rich's profile

Rich

4683 posts in 1038 days


#4 posted 07-19-2017 04:50 PM

+1 on the 1/8” clearance. Like Tung, I use them on all four sides of the panel, even though the movement will only be affecting two of them.

One thing you’ll find is that you have to switch up your usual build process, since you can’t glue up the stile with two rails, slide the panel in and add the final stile. Sliding the panel in will mess up the position of the balls. To get around it, I glue one rail to a stile, position the panel in there, glue on the other rail and then attach the final stile, clamping and getting it all square. I also let the first joint consisting of the single rail and stile dry after ensuring it’s square before I add the panel and the other rail and stile. I’ve found that makes the last steps less clumsy and pretty much guarantees it’s all square when it’s done.

Finally, in cases like doors where the groove for the panel is 3/8” or 5/8”, I use gel CA glue to hold the balls in place. For a standard cabinet door with a 1/4” groove they fit tight enough to hold on their own.

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

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Rich

4683 posts in 1038 days


#5 posted 07-19-2017 04:56 PM


I don t use them myself. Seem like an unnecessary step.

- AlaskaGuy

Obviously they’re optional, AG. Beautiful furniture was built for ages without them. What I like is that they ensure that the panel will stay centered in the frame, and they also prevent any rattle between the panel and frame.

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

View DS's profile

DS

3226 posts in 2869 days


#6 posted 07-19-2017 05:02 PM

Spaceballs are awesome!

1/8” space on all sides is typical. This leaves the panel under slight compression tension which keeps it centered and minimizes movement. Never had a failure in 30 years.

The only downside is they come in large quantity packaging, which sucks if you have just a few doors to make.

In a pinch, I’ve used the 1/4” Poly Drip tubing used for irrigation and cut 1/2” pieces and wedged them in the grooves. YMMV

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Mike_in_STL's profile

Mike_in_STL

908 posts in 983 days


#7 posted 07-19-2017 05:06 PM

Cool product! Do I need the Schwartz to use them?

I’m filing these away for a use later.

Mike

-- Sawdust makes me whole --Mike in STL

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1298 posts in 944 days


#8 posted 07-19-2017 05:10 PM


Do I need the Schwartz to use them?

ONLY if you are Dark Helmet….

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5665 posts in 4112 days


#9 posted 07-19-2017 05:51 PM

I cut 1/4” spaceballs in half with a razor blade and put a drop of rubber cement on the flat side which in turn goes against the groove. Provides enough cushion to keep the panel from rattling, easier to install, and allows plenty of room for wood movement.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8702 posts in 3026 days


#10 posted 07-19-2017 06:08 PM

Interesting thread

View DS's profile

DS

3226 posts in 2869 days


#11 posted 07-19-2017 06:24 PM

Wurth sells them in packages of 1000 pcs for a fraction of what Rockler retails them for.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5970 posts in 3262 days


#12 posted 07-19-2017 06:28 PM

I use foam self-adhesive weatherstripping to pack floating panels in place. They work in many different groove sizes, and can be cut to fit. Buy them at any hardware store or home center. I don’t bother installing a continuous strip, just a couple of 1” strips on each side of the panel.

I would like to try space balls but lately I have been using 7/8” thick door stock with 5/16” or 3/8” grooves, and don’t think they would work so hot for that.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Robert's profile

Robert

3468 posts in 1929 days


#13 posted 07-19-2017 06:38 PM

I like the idea of cutting in 1/2”.

I’m not too keen about trimming them down to make up for the balls so I’ll skip it on this project.

Its a bathroom vanity the panels are solid wood so I’m actually more concerned about shrinkage since they’re going from my shop to the home.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Rich's profile

Rich

4683 posts in 1038 days


#14 posted 07-19-2017 07:04 PM



Wurth sells them in packages of 1000 pcs for a fraction of what Rockler retails them for.

- DS

Yeah, I bought a bag of 1000 on Amazon for about $15. Should last me quite a while.

On a side note, I don’t see the value in cutting them in half. They work perfectly whole, and in a standard 1/4” groove for a cabinet door fit tight in the groove so no adhesive is required.

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7789 posts in 3363 days


#15 posted 07-19-2017 08:13 PM


I cut 1/4” spaceballs in half with a razor blade and put a drop of rubber cement on the flat side which in turn goes against the groove. Provides enough cushion to keep the panel from rattling, easier to install, and allows plenty of room for wood movement.
- TheDane

I have always used the 1/8in guideline (examples include this and that) , BUT I sure like Gerry’s idea/method. It sounds more predictable and keeps 1/4in dado’d panels from showing.

I always hated working against the SpaceBall pressure when trying to properly space panels wher they ACTUALLY belonged.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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