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Thread: Movement during glue-ups

  1. #1

    Movement during glue-ups

    Hey guys, So i've done 6-8 large scale, dining/ conference tables for clients and when I'm doing just a single joint with two larger slabs I get great results. However, lately i've had clients requesting lumber that's tougher/ more expensive in large slab form. So, I've been doing large glue-ups. This current job I'm about to start i'm building three 10' x 4' 6/4 walnut tables. So I'll have 6-8 boards that i'll be biscuit-ing & jointing together for the width. On previous tables like this I've had a little movement from one board to the next of 1/16"-1/8". I've been using the 3/4" Bessy pipe clamps to joint, along with a small, flat piece of aluminum I-beam to clamp across the top to keep the surface flat.

    My question is, are the clamps causing my issue since they bend a bit when tightened (not overtightening)? would parallel clamps from dubuque, bessey, jet, etc fix this? is it just going to happen across a 4' span of 6-8 boards gluing up? or is my old porter cable biscuit jointer just giving too much play (doesn't feel like it, they're a nice, tight fit sliding in)

    Thanks guys, just trying to figure out what I need to do to save myself hours of surfacing these tables after the glue-ups.
    Nate

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hi Nathan, do you prepare your boards with a jointer and planer ?
    If not that should help a lot.
    Good Luck
    Aj

  3. #3
    I don’t personally, but I have my lumber supplier/mill do it. I check the boards and they’re good, so I don’t think they’re sliding from not being in square.

  4. #4
    Something like that has to be done by someone with skill. And usually with boards that long you have to adjust the
    jointer outfeed table a bit. Delicate stuff. If the pieces were not carefully faced before planing that is a problem too. I like to mark the board faces and order before edge jointing ,then joint one face in ,next board face out to asure non bowed
    flat top.

  5. #5
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    Mel took the words right out of my mouth.
    If your going to pursue woodworking a jointer and planer are handy machines to have. Sometimes the guys at the lumber yards make mistakes.
    Good Luck
    Aj

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Hughes View Post
    Mel took the words right out of my mouth.
    If your going to pursue woodworking a jointer and planer are handy machines to have. Sometimes the guys at the lumber yards make mistakes.
    Good Luck
    Yes. Long jointer (and of course the planer), done right before glue-up. Parallel clamps rather than pipes, and in spite of the biscuits you should still be using cauls (cheap to DIY). A ten-foot-long glue-up can be a bit intense without them. The role of the biscuits is to prevent the boards from flying all over the place in the rush to get it done. :^) And nothing beats a practice setup.

    BTW, the Lamello glue applicator really speeds up the biscuit install, which otherwise would take longer than striping glue on the boards. Without gluing the biscuits, they don't align as well.
    Last edited by Doug Dawson; 06-05-2019 at 2:38 PM.

  7. #7
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    That's something I fight with, too. It seems the glue acts as a frictionless surface like an oil film between the boards, and the slightest bending of the clamps makes the boards slide all over as the glue squeezes out. I've never used biscuits for alignment (never did a glueup that big, either), but I do alternate the clamps (one pipe clamp above the glueup, the next clamp below the glueup) and use cauls, both of which help some. Still, it's always a mad dash, with (usually) some new cuss words invented.
    Last edited by Jacob Reverb; 06-05-2019 at 2:48 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post

    BTW, the Lamello glue applicator really speeds up the biscuit install, which otherwise would take longer than striping glue on the boards. Without gluing the biscuits, they don't align as well.

    I've got an old craftsman jointer at my parent's house that I've thought of bringing over & tuning up. We may get to that when I get this batch of lumber & check it.

    Also, I'm looking online @ Lamello glue applicators. Do they have anything that's not pressurized? even their 1 gallon applicator is around $800. feels a bit much just to apply glue. Sweet looking system though, no question

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Duricek View Post
    I've got an old craftsman jointer at my parent's house that I've thought of bringing over & tuning up. We may get to that when I get this batch of lumber & check it.

    Also, I'm looking online @ Lamello glue applicators. Do they have anything that's not pressurized? even their 1 gallon applicator is around $800. feels a bit much just to apply glue. Sweet looking system though, no question
    The one I was referring to is the Lamello Dosicol 20, I just checked and it's US$89 from the Home Depot. One squirt and done, very efficient. Yeesh, the price has gone up a bit. Still, way cheaper than the pressurized system.

  10. #10
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    You need a pretty long jointer for 10’ boards, I put extensions on mine for work that long.

    Also, you can glue two boards at a time, significantly reduces the chance of an error and gives you a chance to tune your edges and maintain overall flatness.
    Last edited by Brian Holcombe; 06-06-2019 at 1:16 AM.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  11. #11
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    Nobody uses dowells?
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Potter View Post
    Nobody uses dowells?
    Biscuits are much more forgiving, particularly on a big job like this.

  13. #13
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    If you use enough biscuits with a decent machine held flat to the reference surface you should be able to get the boards within 1/64" of one another. I often use biscuits with a 30 year old Virutex, leave the blanks 1/32" over thickness, then run them through a wide belt taking off .010" at 100 # from each side to level the joints and remove tearout and .005" at 150# to make ready for finish sanding with a stroke sander and ro sander. There is no good reason to have to take off 1/16" or more to flatten a glueup.

    I mill my own material and unless the material is contrary I space biscuits about 12" apart. When I do wide tops like the ones you are talking about I glue them up and sand them in halves then glue the halves together- the halves are easier to handle and fit through the widebelt I have access to. I take more care to get the final glue joint level, using a horizontal mortiser with dowels or a Domino machine for registration. I could do that throughout but using biscuits is a habit and gets close enough for the sanding process I use. Of course this tactic requires a way to joint the two halves, like a substantial jointer, long stroke slider or straightline rip saw. You could use a router and straightedge or track saw but with more effort. A small Craftsman jointer is not up to the task.

    I don't use cauls, just alternate clamps top and bottom and rest the boards on straight p-lam clad 2"x2 1/2" sticks. If the boards are flat and the joints square the glueups come out flat. I use aluminum bar clamps, but pipe clamps work as well.

    If you are making a business of building tables you should plan on investing in equipment that will help you be efficient.

  14. #14
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    It may be worth explaining to potential clients that wide high quality material is your preference because it saves time which typically comes at a higher expense than material. It also looks better.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  15. #15
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    To combat movement during a glue up next time just sprinkle a bit of salt on the glue before joining. This allows for a bit of bite between the two pieces and almost eliminates any movement completely.

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