Advice or thoughts on this glue-up?

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Forum topic by Leviticus posted 01-06-2019 10:12 PM 451 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 2700 days

01-06-2019 10:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: glue up question plywood

I’m making a desk for work – welded leg components and an ‘exposed plywood’ surface.

For the surface, I’m taking 6ftx2in strips, and laminating them face-to-face. 48 of them for a total of 36 inches of depth on the desk. I should end up with a 6×36 inch slab with the edge-grain of the plywood as the surface. I’ve run some tests and plan on hand-planing, filling voids with elmers wood filler, random orbit sanding, applying danish oil, allowing ample cure time, then enough coats of varathane’s satin poly to make my eyes glaze over… light sanding after the first 1 or 2 to knock down the inevitable plywood fuzz.

That’s the plan. I’ve already ripped up the plywood and am about ready to start gluing. I’m seeking the wisdom of others as to advice on this glue up.

My available equipment is as follows:
- Plenty of smaller harbor freight clutch bar style clamps, a few nicer Bessey clutch bar clamps, but most are under 12 inches (I have harbor freights up to 30 inches)
- 6 or so pipe clamps (bessey style from the big box store – clutch style on black gas pipe – all 3/4 inch, all at least 36 inches clamping depth
- My work surface is a torsion box MDF outfeed table/work table combo. It’s about 40 by 50. It’s not PERfectly flat, but I think it’s passable.

Questions would be:
- All in one shot? All 48 pieces in one go? I figure it’ll take me a minute to get glue on all that.
- Or do several small glue ups of a foot or two worth of strips, then glue the 2, 3, or 4 sections together?
- I don’t have a roller of any type. I’ve seen the bottle with roller attachment from rockler, and I’ve seen just a ‘brayer’ style roller to roll glue out with. I suppose I could just fill a tray with glue and use the brayer to spread it like rolling paint. Any thoughts here?
- I’ve always dealt with excessive glue squeeze out and have tried to be a better glue-person in life… any tips?
- I’m doubtful if I even want to bother with cauls. I figure I’ll end up hand planing a good bit anyhow.
- Any other thoughts or advice on my ill-fated plan here?

4 replies so far

View jutsFL's profile


191 posts in 385 days

#1 posted 01-06-2019 10:27 PM

Personally, id do it in steps. I struggle with glues open time on setting up large glue ups… Seems like I never have enough time before they start to skin on top. At 48 pieces, id likely have 10 of them done, and the other 38 would have half set glue on them :)

-- I've quickly learned that being a woodworker isn't about making flawless work, rather it's fixing all the mistakes you made so that it appears flawless to others! Jay - FL

View WoodenDreams's profile


806 posts in 455 days

#2 posted 01-07-2019 06:06 AM

Plan your process and Do your glue-up in steps, To help keep track of glue-up open time. I always look at my watch when I start and end my glue-ups. This gives me a better idea of open glue time of each process. Once you start your glue-ups, time goes by faster than I do.

View bondogaposis's profile


5562 posts in 2895 days

#3 posted 01-07-2019 02:01 PM

One thing is that if you use 48 strips you are going to be about one inch short on your width. Why, because 3/4” plywood isn’t true to size it is .728”, do the math. Definitely do not try to glue this up all at once. Take your time and glue them up in small batches pay attention to alignment that will save you a ton of work later when you try to level the whole thing up.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View pottz's profile


6773 posts in 1528 days

#4 posted 01-07-2019 08:23 PM

ditto to all

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

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