Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Glue-up Madness

After deciding to punt on the shelves and remake them, I decided to leave cutting the notches for another day and got to work on what I had originally planned to do Labor Day weekend. That is, I got started milling the lumber for the 12 raised panels. But first, I had to pull out enough lumber for them.

The lumber pile had a total of (16) 4/4 boards long enough left in it. I picked up all of them and brought them to the garage, where my jointer & planer have been since I started working on this project. I began separating the boards into groups, one group for the 4 wing end panels, one group for the 4 wing front panels, and one for the four center panels.

I began by face & edge jointing the boards for the wing end panels. These went fine & were straight within a couple of passes over their whole length. Then I grabbed the boards for the wing front panels. And I found that one of the boards has a good 1/4" to 1/2" bow.

At this point, I stopped what I was doing & went back & measured everything again. And I found that I had two boards too many. It turned out I could put the bowed board & another one aside & still have enough material to make my glue-ups. And these boards were much closer to be straight & flat than that bowed board was.

After regrouping the boards & setting the two extras aside, I began face jointing the wing front panel boards again. The four I had already done for the wing end panels were fine & enough for those panels. The remaining face & edge jointing went exactly like the first four boards had gone, with maybe only one or two extra passes.

I make it a habit to vacuum up all of the chips when I finish using a tool or an operation. I have no dust collection other than the vacuum, and I don't care to face my wife after tracking saw dust into the house. So after I was done with the jointing, I vacuumed up all of the chips. And found that my 12 gallon Craftsman shop vac was full. So I emptied it.

Next, I began thickness planing the first group of four boards for the wing end panels. I wanted to make all of the boards about 7/8" thick, but I couldn't get all of them planed flat until I got to about 13/16" thick. Close enough.

I began to vacuum up the planing chips again. And found that this time, I over-filled the shop vac. As soon as I took the top off, about 6" worth of chips that had filled the space between the bottom canister's brim & the very top of the lid spilled out & all over my driveway. So after emptying the canister & cleaning the filter, I vacuumed all of that up.

I layed out the boards in the order I wanted them, figuring I'd glue all 4 boards together & then rip the two blanks I needed, maximizing the off cut. I drew a big triangle across the boards after I got them arraigned as I wanted them, and I began edge jointing the edges to be glued. The fit was sweet, just as I'd hoped. Time to glue up.

I have a copy of the Henrik Varju "Planer & Jointer Secrets" DVD that I bought just before I bought my jointer. In that DVD, Henrik performs a 4 board glue-up, just as I had to do. What he did was he aligned the edges of three of the boards & clamped them together. Then he spread glue across the three edges as if they were one triple width edge. The time to spread the glue for the three boards was thus only slightly longer than the time to spread glue on one edge.

So I gave this a shot. Only I screwed up order of the boards some how, probably because I over thought it & didn't really see how simple it is to do. It wasn't until after I'd gotten the clamps all tightened down that I realized that instead of having the boards in 1-2-3-4 order, I had them in 1-3-4-2 order. And the alignment of the edges between boards 4 & 2 wasn't as great as I wanted it to be over its length, even with three cauls placed across the width of the panel.

So after the glue dried, I just ripped boards 1 & 2 off & glued them to each other. This worked out fine, as the two glue-ups I now had were each wide enough to get a panel out of. And the alignment between boards 1 & 2 was almost perfect.

After all the glue dried, I ran the two panels through the planer (they both were a little over 11" wide, and I have a 12.5" planer). One shallow pass on each face to make everything perfectly flat. Then I put the two panels aside.

I then repeated this process with the other two groups of boards. I was able to run the glued-up boards for the center panels through the planer as well, but the panels for the wing fronts were over 13" wide & I couldn't run them through.

I think I emptied my shop vac at least 2 more times while doing all of this planing. A lot of chips. But it's really cool watching flat, clean lumber appear out of a really rough board as it passes through the planer.

After all of the glue-ups were done, I then fired up the ROS & removed all of the milling marks, and I evened up the little bit of uneven edges on the widest panels (that I couldn't get with the planer). I do have a vacuum hookup for the ROS that I use, and that keeps the dust in the air down, but I still wear a dust mask.

After that, I ripped the panels to final length, then used my crosscut sled to first square up & then cut the top panels from each blank. These panels are all the same height, though the widths vary. I have a flip stop on the fence of the sled, so I just set that to the proper length & went to town. After that, I changed the stop setting to the length for the bottom panels & cut those.

This left me with 6 cutoffs. I used two of them to make some color samples. I have to finish the panels before I assemble the pulpit, so I needed the samples to find a match for a red oak cross that's already hanging in the sanctuary.

With all of that done, we're now at last week. On Thursday, I brought the finished samples to bible study & showed them to my pastor. We picked a sample for the final color. The finishing schedule will be:

  1. Apply Minwax Golden Oak stain.
  2. Let stain stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Wipe off excess.
  4. Apply a coat of shellac.
  5. Apply three coats of clear, gloss Minwax Polycrylic water based polyurethane, sanding between coats.
  6. Apply one coat of clear, semi-gloss Minwax Polycrylic water based polyurethane.

After this decision was made, I was ready to begin shaping the panels with my new Freud panel raising bit. We'll cover that next time.

Next: Raising Panels, Not Cain


neil said...

Tony.........oh man the dreaded dust issue:

"I don't care to face my wife after tracking saw dust into the house."

As a shop warming gift, my wife bought me a really nice gym locker...dusty clothes aren't allowed past the threshold.....I'm with ya on this one.

Not that I'd forgotten about all your parts in the pulpit, but I went back to pictures of earlier posts to get a fresh picture of all the raised panels. What a great project for you in many ways, but regarding woodworking, your machining skills with the repetitive nature of the frame and raised panels, is (in the spirit of the pulpit) a God-send that is surely making you a better woodworker....or maybe it's more fitting for this pulpit project to say carpenter.

I noticed your finishing schedule is approved and it made me think of the cross, are you still using purple heart there and what is your approach to attaching, as an overlay after finishing???? Is it routered in leaving it to protrude slightly???

I appreciate what you are doing Tony......Neil

Tony V said...


Many is the time at the end of a day in the shop that I've stepped outside, removed my shirt, and shook the dust off. It's amazing how much dust can cling to a t-shirt!

The trim, and the cross, are still going to be made from maple & purpleheart. I have the boards for that still in the shed on the pallet that was delivered back in the spring.

Actually, the finishing schedule for the trim will omit the stain. The shellac & water based poly will stay the same, though I may omit the shellac, too. I'm using Zinser Seal Coat for the shellac coat, and that's a "blonde" shellac, but I really want the colors of the maple & purpleheart to stay as unchanged as possible.

The cross is going to be made as a separate piece & attached with screws to the front after finishing. I've never done any inlaying, and I toyed with the idea of doing it as an inlay, but it's going to be placed on top of three different pieces of wood (the center stile & the two rails that plug into it). There's a cross grain thing going on there, and I've never done any inlays before, so it just seemed best to make it a separate piece & screw it on.

The cross is going to be an interesting build. It's going to be made of 4 pieces of purpleheart, each mitered where they meet the others. These will be attached to a piece of 1/4" ply with glue & pin nails shot through the ply. That will then be "wrapped" by maple, mitered at each corner and overlapping the purpleheart & ply. I'll probably just glue those pieces on.

Finally, I'm not worthy to be compared to the only perfect carpenter who ever lived. But I'm gonna keep trying!