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Unsatisfied with my glue-up. Help?

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Forum topic by jamsomito posted 05-04-2020 10:43 PM 1096 views 0 times favorited 46 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jamsomito

618 posts in 1395 days


05-04-2020 10:43 PM

I’m making these 4-piece legs for a credenza and I’m not happy with how my first leg turned out. Basically I used every clamp I had:

I tried to wipe away or scrape off the glue as best I could either wet or once it skinned over, but it’s impossible to get it all with all these clamps. Also, when I took it out and scraped away the rest, I noticed some gaps all up and down where I couldn’t apply pressure.

I thought about wrapping them with blue tape instead of using clamps, but I’m not sure that would close all the gaps either. Would you recommend some cauls or pieces the length of the legs run down all 4 sides? I’m not sure how that would work with all these different types of clamps but it might be do-able.

Any tips for my next 3? Thanks.


46 replies so far

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

748 posts in 2701 days


#1 posted 05-04-2020 10:56 PM

I would say cauls are what you want—running the full length—located over the visible glue joint. Optionally maybe a vacuum bag [e.g. vacuum pump and vacuum bag] and few pin nails to hold them together. I would also make certain that the joint line visible on the outside is exactly as you want it to be during a dry assembly.

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woodman71

188 posts in 4293 days


#2 posted 05-04-2020 11:14 PM

If i may why you cutting your boards like that in the picture . Is it to hide edge gain, if so why not cut 45 degree and they put 1/8 groove about 1/4 deep and use a spine. you have face gain all around and the spine will keep the boards from moving it will not need a lot of pressure to hold them until glue set up. I don’t have picture to show you but you could google it or find it on youtube

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jamsomito

618 posts in 1395 days


#3 posted 05-04-2020 11:15 PM

I know what you’re talking about. The splines are a good idea but didn’t want to mess with angles. Plus they’re all already cut. Need to know how to make the best of this glue up.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

17116 posts in 3588 days


#4 posted 05-04-2020 11:31 PM

+1 to using cauls to distribute the clamping pressure across the whole piece.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

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jamsomito

618 posts in 1395 days


#5 posted 05-04-2020 11:34 PM

I’m a little concerned about squeeze-out with cauls that cover the whole piece. I don’t think I could cover the entire side, over the joint, could I?

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

17116 posts in 3588 days


#6 posted 05-04-2020 11:38 PM

Would gluing two pieces at a time uncomplicated things? And yes, a caul all along the thin-side of the material is what you need. Pair up the leg pieces, then glue the two halves together with two cauls.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View LeeRoyMan's profile

LeeRoyMan

1473 posts in 696 days


#7 posted 05-04-2020 11:43 PM

I would use heavy glue on the inside shoulders then a light coat where the joint is so that you don’t get so much squeeze out.
I would tape each joint together in about 4 places, just to hold them in place. Then I would wipe all the glue, I’m a wet rag guy, some aren’t, but if you get the glue up and re-wipe with fresh rinsed rags until you get it all it’s fine.
Then I would rap the whole thing with stretch wrap pulling the joints tight as you go. probably 3 or for wraps all the way up and down.
Wrap in the direction that pulls the joint closed.

View Foghorn's profile

Foghorn

916 posts in 356 days


#8 posted 05-05-2020 12:24 AM

A caul, jute or nylon rope tightly wrapped or surgical tubing or even strips of inner tube tightly wrapped would all work. I also see room for more clamps! :)

-- Darrel

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

1540 posts in 2922 days


#9 posted 05-05-2020 12:25 AM

Don’t know about the glue, but your first picture suggests that there is an underlying issue with your joinery. Just my opinion, but none of those joints look right. Trying to force them together with clamps and glue never works. Again, it is just my opinion, but every one of those joints looks bad. Fix the cuts on the joinery and the glue will be your friend.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

6291 posts in 3783 days


#10 posted 05-05-2020 12:36 AM

To me, the key is planning the parts to be laminated so you only have to clamp in one direction at a time.
This could be three boards glued together as the first phase, then 1/4” skins applied to the edges as a second phase.

Another good method is to use a locking miter joint at the router table. You just need to plan your cuts so you only have to clamp in one direction.

I’ve never seen anyone do a pinwheel glueup with those proportions. I have more than a hundred clamps, and I doubt I could do it any better than you did. I would start over. Cry hard and cry once. Better to lose a few leg parts than a whole project.

On my last project I routed 6 chair legs before I realized the lumber was case hardened and full of cracks. No way to save it, just start over.

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

View jamsomito's profile

jamsomito

618 posts in 1395 days


#11 posted 05-05-2020 12:40 AM



Don’t know about the glue, but your first picture suggests that there is an underlying issue with your joinery. Just my opinion, but none of those joints look right. Trying to force them together with clamps and glue never works. Again, it is just my opinion, but every one of those joints looks bad. Fix the cuts on the joinery and the glue will be your friend.

- Kazooman

Nah they’re fine. It’s hard to hold them all together with one hand and take a picture with the other. There might be a little bit of flex in the fingers from internal stress but I’m confident the clamps will straighten everything out. They’re all square cuts. Maybe this picture helps.

The ends are rough from my rough breakdown of the original boards which also isn’t helping that photo, but once they’re glued I’m going to true up the ends when I cut them to final length – they’re a couple inches long right now.

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jamsomito

618 posts in 1395 days


#12 posted 05-05-2020 12:59 AM


To me, the key is planning the parts to be laminated so you only have to clamp in one direction at a time.
This could be three boards glued together as the first phase, then 1/4” skins applied to the edges as a second phase.

Another good method is to use a locking miter joint at the router table. You just need to plan your cuts so you only have to clamp in one direction.

I ve never seen anyone do a pinwheel glueup with those proportions. I have more than a hundred clamps, and I doubt I could do it any better than you did. I would start over. Cry hard and cry once. Better to lose a few leg parts than a whole project.

On my last project I routed 6 chair legs before I realized the lumber was case hardened and full of cracks. No way to save it, just start over.

- pintodeluxe

Sorry I’m not throwing away $40 of good parts and the several hours of shop time I’ve spent so far especially since there’s nothing wrong with these. And I’m surprised you’ve never seen this method before. I swear I saw it in a fine woodworking magazine before as a way of getting quartersawn faces on all 4 sides of a leg without a special router bit. Here’s a different example for you: https://www.instagram.com/p/B86tL0lH-nG/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

EDIT: Here’s his video explaining it too. He just used blue tape but for some reason I don’t trust that approach. Maybe I’m using too much glue? https://youtu.be/zXKbCZ3JlJw?t=76

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

2216 posts in 3762 days


#13 posted 05-05-2020 01:16 AM

It may be the photo, but I only see one face with q sawn grain on the exposed surface. I too would use this for other work, and buy q sawn lumber and use lock miter joints for the legs.

View jamsomito's profile

jamsomito

618 posts in 1395 days


#14 posted 05-05-2020 01:27 AM

I don’t care about each face being quartersawn – really all I’m trying to do is avoid the flat sawn cathedral look. I kind of wanted rift sawn all the way around actually, and I only had 3/4 stock. Plus, I’m already here… I’m just a hobbyist, I’m not going to the lumberyard in the middle of a pandemic, and I really just don’t like wasting the material. I even kept the little square sectioned pieces I cut out for the notches, haha. Might make an arts and crafts style lamp with those next.

It looks like some sort of caul is going to be the best way to go forward from here. I at least need to try it first. If they all turn out crappy then I’ll reconsider remaking them, but I’m not going to quit here without trying. Worst case is I spend a bunch of time learning something. It could be the cauls don’t work so I try blue tape on #3, then I’ve only created 2 that need remaking. And they may not even need to be remade either – this “bad” one can still be squared up (it’s oversize slightly right now), and the bad spots could be hidden with creative placement.

I just don’t get the give up and start over approach. Maybe in production this is the best use of time, but that’s not what I’m here for. I’m trying to solve a problem, which to me is the best part of woodworking (thankfully because I’m usually on a tight budget too).

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3991 posts in 2464 days


#15 posted 05-05-2020 01:58 AM

For gluing birds-mouth joinery or miters on long skinny post; i use plastic wrap or clear packaging tape (it stretches too) as clamp. Borg sells this plastic wrap that works. Glue doesn’t stick to the plastic.

Used the technique on coat rack in my projects for an example.

One tip I would add is this: For wood glue, need some air to reach glue for outside to set properly. Leave space between clamp rings. Don’t want to wrap entire length, unless using a 2 part adhesive (like epoxy).

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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