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Thread: Best way to glue this?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Best way to glue this?

    I've got this shadow box mostly dry-fit (a few shelves need adjustments; pieces still need sanding), and I'm wondering how best to glue this.

    One option is to glue up the outer frame and the 2 vertical dividers first, then glue in each shelf individually. This is obviously the easiest from a glue open-time and clamping perspective, but I don't know how well that would work in terms of getting a good glue fit on the ends of each of those shelves.

    Another option is to possibly glue up the left set of shelves first (i.e. left outer frame, left vertical divider, all shelves in-between), and likewise for the right side. After they are dry I can then glue up the middle set of shelves. Last would be gluing on the top and bottom frame pieces. The only issue there might be making sure the shelves are 90 degrees to the vertical pieces, but that should be doable.

    Any other suggestions?

    shadow box.jpg
    And there was trouble, taking place...

  2. #2
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    Is the unit shown in your picture your actual project dry fitted together? If so, your fit up looks pretty good to me. I would glue up the frame and vertical pieces first, then dry fit the shelves to check your fit up one more time, then carefully glue in the shelves using a very light amount of WHITE glue. The white glue is thinner and will give you more open time, and is more than strong enough.

  3. #3
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    I think I would choose your first option, but add a band clamp(s) to hold the overall frame with the two vertical dividers in position. Then, immediately after applying glue, while still wet, place each shelf part way (not all the way to prevent them from locking up if it's a tight fit) into its location to assure everything fits together during the glue-up. If the shelve tend to be loose, then lightly apply a clamp(s) where needed to hold them in place. Once the glue has cured, the shelves should then be glued in place still using the band clamp (not to be removed until all is done) and if there are loose shelves, apply the clamps as before.
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  4. #4
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    Very nice. I'd glue up the center stack first (long ways) using some form of jigging to keep it absolutely square and then add each of the "outside" stacks to that as a second step with the short ends going on last.
    --

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  5. #5
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    Jim's method is the best. Cheers
    Every construction obeys the laws of physics. Whether we like or understand the result is of no interest to the universe.

  6. #6
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    I think I like Jim's suggestion the best. Thanks!

    Now to find the time to actually get this done...
    And there was trouble, taking place...

  7. #7
    I have no suggestion on the order, but you can time yourself on a dry fit (including the time to “apply” glue) to see how much you can do given the open time. If it’s not enough time, you can glue as much as the project allows and then dry fit the rest and clamp it up nice and square. Then after the first glue dry, disassemble the dry parts for the second glue up. Oftentimes a glue buddy can be helpful as applying the glue is the most time-consuming part.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2008
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    Gluing the individual shelves into the vertical dividers won't add much in the way of overall strength to the unit as that is an end grain to long grain joint. The wood appears to be white oak, so the end grain is very porous as well. The dadoes will provide all the support strength needed. BTW, nice tight fit on those dadoes. So, to minimize the time needed to spread glue and also to minimize squeeze out I would just run a short bead of glue into the dadoes about 1/2" from the front of the unit. That will lock the shelf at the front to keep the joints tight on the appearance side of the unit.
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  9. #9
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    Yeah, I'm not expecting a whole lot of holding power on those shelves, so I want to get the overall fit as tight as possible. I'm pretty sure that right now the shelves in the middle section are just a hair too long, and so the dividers won't line up correctly with the top and bottom pieces. I only got about 20 minutes in my shop today, so I spent that trying to figure out the proper distance for those shelves. I'm pretty sure I have that nailed down, so hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to cut the pieces to length and then go from there. I'll have to do the same thing for the outer set of shelves, but thankfully both sets of those are the same size.

    It is indeed white oak, extras from flooring we had installed over 2 years ago. This shadow box will be for my son, who's 9 years old. He helped me plane the pieces to thickness, and he cut the frame pieces and vertical dividers to final length on the saw; the rest I did myself.

    Thanks for the compliments on those dados. I made a little spacer by layering some pieces of hardboard together and wrapping it in blue tape, using additional tape until I got the size just right. I would cut one side using the regular stop block on my miter fence, then add in the spacer to cut the other side, then nibble out the middle. I used a router plane to smooth out the bottoms and get all dados to the same depth. The hardest part was lining up dados across from each other since the bevels had already been cut on the frame pieces, but the final product is darn near perfect.
    And there was trouble, taking place...

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