Saturday, April 26, 2014

Call me the "Clamp Master"

Even though I'm making good progress on putting this tabletop together, I feel like it's taking forever! In the shop, some weeks are just like that, I guess!

With all the frame pieces cut and mortised with the Domino, it was finally time to glue it together. And I knew that was probably going to be quite difficult! It's hard enough to glue things that are square and four-sided - this piece was going to be a challenge! It finally dawned on me to do it in sections - actually, I'd been leaning that way all along, but was worried that when I finally got to the end of the gluing, where the last few pieces went together, that my angles might not line up. So that was in the back of my mind - but I was more concerned about getting nice, tight joints. No gaps. 

So I started gluing them together individually, 

which was no small feat! I used some of the cut-off pieces, since they were at the angles I needed. To keep them from slipping off, I stuck some sticky sandpaper between the pieces - to help the block "grip" the wood. 

In other places, a Domino helped to keep the clamp in place. 

It took a variety of clamps, and I'll tell you - the best part about it was that the weather was warm, so the glue set up fairly quickly. 

I'd put a section together, and and hour later, I'd be able to join it to another section. 

In all, this top went together with about 30 minutes of actual working time. Not bad; I'd figured on triple that time! And even though I worried that my final assembly might result in some poor miters (of which I was fully prepared to correct on the saw!) - these miters were perfect. 


Not a single gap. 

When it was dry, I sanded the joints flush - they were nearly perfectly flush anyway, so it barely took any time to sand anything.

 And then I applied that back - a 1/4" piece of Baltic Birch plywood that was cut with a 2" overhang all the way around the opening. 

 The last little detail was trimming off the excess of the top - remember - I'd made it bigger than it needed to be, so that the scribing wouldn't reduce the wood down to toothpicks. I drew a few lines and trimmed everything on the Laguna bandsaw. It's the perfect tool for free handing some long, straight cuts - there would have been no way to make these cuts on the table saw. 

 All that is left is to round out those corners - I'm going to get a compass and draw a nice radius at every joint, and then cut off the points. This top is 95% complete, and that makes me very happy.  It's been a challenge and great learning experience - but I don't think I'll try another one any time soon! 

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