Saturday, May 10, 2008

Making a chessboard pt 2

So I got my pipe clamps and, did some test fits, then glued the board together. Here's the beauty shot:

That's actually of a dry-run. When doing involved glue-ups it is important to be sure that there won't be any problems. You don't want to be surprised while the glue is drying! In this case, notice the small bits of wood between the clamps and the board. I discovered that the boards were thin enough to slip beneath some of the clamp faces. That would have been annoying had the glue been applied already.

Also important is that the boards are in the same exact order and orientation as described in the previous posting. That's why I lettered them all.

I was rewarded immediately during the real glue-up when I tightened a clamp too much and the boards flew out. I ended up getting glue where I didn't want glue which made for additional cleanup. Anyway, I was able to start over with no chance of getting the board (with their custom-matched edges) back in the wrong sequence.

The next picture fills my breast with pride and the smell of olde-world craftsmanship.

Basically, I thought the board had a bit of a bow in it, and it displeased me. I found the heaviest thing in the shop that was nearby. That vise weighs perhaps 40#, more then enough to push the board down against the pipe clamps. A good part of woodworking is dealing with the real world - such as boards that don't behave.

If you enlarge the image you can see the glue squeezing out from between the boards. That's ok. Let it dry. Don't try to wipe it off or you'll smear it into the wood. This is very important if you intend to stain the wood (which I don't) because the glue residue will inhibit the stain leaving an unsightly blemish you can't do much about. After an hour or two, the glue will be set up but not yet hard. It will peel off very easily. I had to go to work, so by the time I got back in the shop the glue was rock hard.

Here's the board after the glue-up. Now, all that dried 'squeeze-out'... To remove it, I carefully ran my narrow chisel, bevel up, down the length of the glue lines. Some of the boards weren't perfectly aligned in height leaving places where glue could hide. Unsightly! While I could have sanded it off, that makes no sense to me. So I held the chisel nearly vertically with the bevel away from me, and I pulled it down the glue lines. This popped off some globs of glue and, as it cut the wood and made gossamer shavings, it leveled the uneven glue lines. Basically, I used the chisel like a light-duty cabinet scraper. I could feel the chisel being deflected as it hit patches of glue. When I could pull the chisel without it wandering, I knew I was done. Now when I run my hand over the board, I feel minute undulations, but I don't feel any catches where the boards are glued together.

The next stop is for me to make a straight cut across all 8 boards. This will be the reference edge from which I'll make the next 8 strips. Note these will be cut 'the other way', making strips of alternating squares. This is the only operation that stresses me - I must push the board straight through the saw or I'll snipe an edge and it won't glue well. It sounds easy, and it is - until the board is almost cut through. You have to push the work through the saw, past the blade. You also have to push the work against the fence as you do this. But there's only 2" of space between the fence and the blade. You gonna put your hand in there, stumpy? I can think of two different ways to do this safely. A dry-run (unpowered!!) of each is called for.

More to come!

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