Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Let's Glue It Up!

I finally did the glue-up today. It went well, though I did have a few brads blow out. Luckily, only three of them blew out on the inside of the cabinet, and two of these were very easy to fix. The third one I'm not sure how to handle just yet.

I started yesterday by bringing almost everything I needed to do the glue up into the heated portion of the house last night. This included all of the parts I'd made, my compressor, brad nailer, the oil the gun needs, and my corded drill. I left all of the screws in the garage along with my saw horses and the 2x4s I keep on it in the garage.

This morning, I laid a drop cloth on the carpet in the family room & brought in the saw horses & two 2x4s. I set these up as the platform for the glue up. The 2x4s are relatively straight, so I get nice straight, square assemblies from them.

Once the horses were set up, I stared by gluing & screwing the base cabinet face frame together. What I did was apply some glue to the end of the rails. Then I dipped my acid brush into some water & used it to thin & spread the glue around. This essentially creates a "glue size" which gets absorbed into the end grain. The size sets up in the end grain & more or less blocks them up. This allows any glue applied subsequently to stay closer to the ends of the board & form a stronger bond. It's still an end grain to long grain joint, so it's not as strong as a long grain to long grain, just stronger than an end grain to long grain joint would be if you didn't use the size.

After waiting about 10 minutes, I applied full strength glue to the rails & the stiles. Then I put some waxed paper above & below the joint and clamped the stile to the rail using the face clamp that came with my Kreg K3 Master System kit. This ensured the faces of the boards would be aligned, more or less, after the screws were driven. Finally, I drove the screws in.

The picture at the left shows the face frame while I was putting it together. As you can see, I clamped the face frame stiles to the 2x4s first. This kept these parts in the proper alignment so I could lay the rails flat while gluing it up. This just made my life so much easier than it would have been had I let the 6" long side lay flat.

After gluing the face frame together, I glued in the bottom shelf. I spread glue in the dados and along the top of the face frame bottom rail. Then I spread more glue on the front & short side edges of the shelf and laid it into the dados. It turns out the extra glue really wasn't necessary. There was nothing wrong with the way I did it here, but I had more clean up to do. Luckily, most of the extra glue ended up squeezing out under the shelf, in the space between the shelf and the floor and won't be visible, ever.

After cleaning up the squeeze out, I glued in the top shelf. I used less glue but still had a good bit of squeeze out.

Next, I connected up my brad nailer to my compressor hose & put in the narrow back strip. I shot some brads through the strip into the shelves, and through the shelves into the strip. This went in very fast.

Then I put in one back side & shot in brads to hold it together while the glue dried. I was careful to keep the brads from penetrating the outside of the solid wood parts, though I did have a few blow out in the plywood. As I said, three of these blew out on the inside of the cabinet, but I was able to break these off.

Finally, I put on the other side. The photo at right shows how the finished base cabinet looked after I finished cleaning up all of the squeeze out & the brads that had blown out.

After breaking for lunch, I got to work on the upper cabinet. This went together in exactly the same way as the base cabinet. I didn't get any brads that blew out on the inside on this assembly, though I did get a couple that went out through the back.

The picture at left shows everything after the glue-up was done.

I was finished before the kids got home from school. They have tomorrow off, and we're heading up to the Saratoga area for Thanksgiving with my brother-in-law's family. After we get back on Friday, we'll be putting up Christmas lights outside, so I hope to get some time in on the project on Saturday.

In the meantime, I'd like to wish all of you reading this a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! See ya next week!

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