October 30, 2014

Clamping Rough Wood Stock

If you plan on clamping rough wood stock together, you need to follow a few simple guidelines along with having the right clamps.  With regards to the clamps, don’t be fooled by those cheap bar clamps.  If you apply much torque, the bar will bend and your clamping job will not produce tight joints.  Purchase heavy duty bar clamps like the Jorgenson clamps shown in the picture on the left.  You would be hard pressed to apply enough torque to bend the bar and with the twist clamp handles, it is easier to apply significant torque to produce tight glue joints.  Once you have the right clamps, run the edges of the boards to be clamped together through a joiner or use a table saw to true up the edges.  For stronger joints, cut biscuit slots spaced as desired.  Lay your clamps out on a level table or floor and adjust the clamp spacing as well as the clamp openings to fit your project.  Apply plenty of glue to both edges of the joint (as well as the biscuit slots if used) and set the boards in the clamps.  It is important that the boards sit flat on the bottom of the clamp bar as shown in the picture on the right.  To achieve this, start at one end of the clamps and ask a person to stand on the boards over the first clamp.  Tighten the clamp sufficiently to hold the boards and then proceed down the line tightening each clamp as the person stands on the boards directly over the clamp being tightened.  Turn the clamped piece over to insure there is no space (or very little space) between the boards and the bar.  In some cases, you might have to use a c-clamp to pull an uneven board down against the bar.  Once you are satisfied the boards are close enough to the bar, tighten each clamp further to insure a tight, solid glue joint.  Don’t try to wipe off the glue coming out of the joints.  Let it dry and then use a scraper to remove the excess.  Wiping it off with a cloth will rub the glue into the wood and make sanding difficult.

 

Durable Work Surfaces

Take a look at this shop-built miter saw table!  Are you looking for a good durable work surface for your router table or miter saw table.  Try covering it with Formica or a plastic laminate.  This will give you a surface that will last decades and it is much more durable than melamine or a simple plywood or MDF surface.  It is very simple to put Formica on a plywood or MDF.  Simply apply contact cement to the surface and the Formica, let it sit for 15-20 minutes until it feels dry but tacky.  Carefully, place the Formica on the surface and apply about 75 lbs of pressure working from the middle to the edges.  A rolling pin or large dowel is ideal for doing this.  Be sure and cut the Formica so it overlaps the edges by approximately 1/2″.  Once you start placing the Formica on the surface you are committed so be sure and line it up properly.  If you want to be safe, leave more than 1/2″ overhang on all edges to allow for more leeway in placing the Formica on the surface to be covered.  When you are done, use the straight edge or bevel edge router bit with bearing to trim the Formica to the edge.

Glue Scraper

Got a glue scraper?  It is one of the handiest tools in your woodshop.  One of the no-no’s in woodworking is to never try to wipe off the excess glue with a dry or wet rag.  It will spread the excess into the wood pores which will require much more sanding and make staining difficult.  Simply let it dry and then use a glue scraper to remove the excess.  Buy a good glue scraper that you can apply pressure with both hands and one that the blade can be resharpened.  Keep it sharp and clean.  It’s very easy to scrap the glue off of joined boards and then just leave the glue on the scraper.  Once it drys, it will be much more difficult to get off and will result in a dull blade because the sharp edge is coated with dried glue.  Take the time to wash it off with warm water and wipe it dry.  It also never hurts to put a little light oil on the blade to keep it from rusting.  Scraping dried glue off a well joined board is almost as much fun as picking dried glue off your hands.

Router Table Extension

Why do most table saws have an extensions on them but you very seldom see an extension of a router table or shaper cutter? A small table top on a router table makes it very difficult to manage a larger or longer workpiece often making it unsafe as well.  Router table tops need to be large enough to support your work.  This is the same reason extensions are added to table saws.  If you are building your own router table, don’t settle for the normal sized table.  Add an extension similar to the router table in the picture or design your own.  It’s much more important to have the additional surface space on the in-feed side of the table than the out-feed side.  For better utilization of the extra table top space, an additional router plate was installed in this table.  If you have a certain round over bit that you constantly use and an extra router available, it is very quick and easy to mount it to the extra plate and drop it in the extension part when you need it.  Having an extra blank plate to fill in the hole when the router is not needed will keep you form having to adjust the extra router up and down as well.