Wake Forest via the northeast...

Bill_L

New User
Bill
Hi All,
My table saw has been collecting dust for too long and I'm looking forward to using it regularly. I've spent the last month or so cleaning up my garage so now I have a good size area to work in. My son is really into chess and we've made a board (purpleheart / alder) and now he wants to turn his own chess pieces. I've realized that even with a planer I'm awful at gluing up boards. We have a second board in the works (walnut / alder) and had to walk away from our last glue attempt. I'm hopeful that we can salvage it (though it's the crosscuts that we're gluing up so a bit more difficult for me anyway).

Hope to gain some valuable insights here and learn a few things.

Nice to meet all of you!
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
Hi All,
My table saw has been collecting dust for too long and I'm looking forward to using it regularly. I've spent the last month or so cleaning up my garage so now I have a good size area to work in. My son is really into chess and we've made a board (purpleheart / alder) and now he wants to turn his own chess pieces. I've realized that even with a planer I'm awful at gluing up boards. We have a second board in the works (walnut / alder) and had to walk away from our last glue attempt. I'm hopeful that we can salvage it (though it's the crosscuts that we're gluing up so a bit more difficult for me anyway).

Hope to gain some valuable insights here and learn a few things.

Nice to meet all of you!
Hey Bill nice to meet you, and welcome aboard.
If you search the site, you will have access to a lot of content, and I know that some here have made boards, even relatively recently. Some older posts may not have the pictures anymore, due to a software update that did not necessarily carry over pics, depending on their sourse.
I have no experience with this type of glue up, so I won't try to advise.

Again thanks for the intro and let's see projects, pictures, and hear your questions. Maybe you can describe your methods and where specifically you are having issues in the glue-ups.
 

Bill_L

New User
Bill
Thanks Henry.

All the boards were jointed / planed. Dry fit - looked really good. I use pony clamps that tend come in at an angle clamping from the top of the board down. To combat that - I made some 3" L brackets with a 1 1/2" magnet in the back so it would stick to my clamps. There is a 3/4" dowel cut in half lengthwise attached to the inside of the L bracket so that when the wood is clamped the pressure is applied in the middle of the board. Given we were clamping all 8 boards together at once - I tried my hand at making a caul and used that to prevent any sagging with the pieces (the L bracket's bottom is 1/4" plywood).

It came out of the clamps a bit out of level. I only have an orbital / belt sander so wasn't confident I could level it. We ended up moving forward (did someone just say 'noooo!!!' or slap their forehead and ask 'Why??') and crosscutting the board into 8 pieces. We then clamped the boards down tight and used a biscuit jointer in hopes that would get things to glue up better. I let the biscuits soak in a damp paper towel so they wouldn't be so loose. We tried clamping the first 2 boards and couldn't get a good fit so called it a night...That's where I am now.

Here's the completed board.

chess_board.jpg
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
@FredP do you make your checkerboards "full thickness" or a "thick" laminate on a substrate (MDF, Baltic birch, etc)?
 

ScottM

Scott
Staff member
Corporate Member
Welcome Bill. Where from the Northeast? I am originally from Poughkeepsie, NY.
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
All the boards were jointed / planed. Dry fit - looked really good. I use pony clamps that tend come in at an angle clamping from the top of the board down. To combat that - I made some 3" L brackets with a 1 1/2" magnet in the back so it would stick to my clamps. There is a 3/4" dowel cut in half lengthwise attached to the inside of the L bracket so that when the wood is clamped the pressure is applied in the middle of the board. Given we were clamping all 8 boards together at once - I tried my hand at making a caul and used that to prevent any sagging with the pieces (the L bracket's bottom is 1/4" plywood).

It came out of the clamps a bit out of level.
So you're of course not the first person to discover that dry fitting and actually gluing are two different experiences. The dry fit has to go well for the glue up to go well, but that does not mean the glue up WILL go well. I'm likely just stating the obvious to you. Glue in the wet state lubricates and can make the batch of sticks a collective mess.
When you say 'a bit out of level', do you mean that not all of the boards were flush with each other? I assume that is your meaning. I guess the only comparison I have is gluing cutting boards, where I often have a plethora of thin strips mixed with wider pieces, sometimes even tapered to create a bit of a pie shaped board. These can be a slippery mess to glue up. I do try to start with thicker stock and expect to plane the surfaces. On a more general panel glue up I typically have many fewer pieces to move out of alignment. Still I need to plane and sand surface into submission more than I care to.

About the only tip I have is to slowly add clamps and pressure, carefully watching the alignment as you go. Individual clamps can be re-positioned easily once other clamps are in place holding the collective together. I assume you alternate clamp position - top and bottom? That typically helps a lot with panel bowing.

And cauls ought to solve most of these issues - not perfectly but to within acceptable deviations. I always expect to plane and sand.

Echoing Hank's question to Fred, it does sound like you are using full thickness pieces in the board, not thin squares on a substrate. Is that correct?

Side note. I just acquired a Domino and in trying it for the first time I was amazed how close to perfectly flush these first pieces were. Beginner's luck? I am not suggesting a domino is the answer - but if you had access to one it a few strategic dominos (like the biscuits) might help a lot. I might consider gluing wider panels in order to locate alignment pieces (biscuits or dominos) in the outer bands (beyond the region of interest).

Hope that helps
 

Bill_L

New User
Bill
Hi Henry,
I appreciate your comments. Yes, it's full thickness boards. The out of level comment was a combination of things. All boards weren't flush so when placed on a flat surface you could press on the corners and cause another corner to rise. some due to the pieces not being flush and if you held the board up and looked down the edge it wasn't perfectly straight.

walnut board.jpg
 

Bill_L

New User
Bill
Fred got me all squared away today and I couldn't be happier with the board. Who knew gluing could be so easy! Thanks again, Fred.
 

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