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post #1 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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2 Joinery questions for the pros

I am working on two projects I would love some advice on.

1. I am building a bookcase. The sides and backs are rabbeted. It is made of 3/4 inch plywood. The rabbets are 1/4 inch in depth. Can I just use a nailgun to complete this or does it need woodglue? (My last woodglue project ended up with stain issues so I am a bit hesitant to use glue again)

2. I am starting my first dining room table, and will soon be doing a coffee table as well. It will involve me gluing stock for the top. I have a biscuit joiner. Is it better to just glue the boards together or to use biscuits? In all the threads I have read it would seem people just glue the boards together. Is there a reason I would NOT want to use biscuits? To me, it seems like it would just make it stronger.

Thank you in advance for answering what I am sure are simple novice questions.

Last edited by fiirmoth; 03-04-2012 at 12:45 AM.
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post #2 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 02:05 AM
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for the bookcase i would glue ( assuming the back is plywood ) and use pnumatic nailer.

for the tabletop you dont need biscuits. biscuits are good for leveling . if you do use the biscuits the area around the biscuit might swell a little after glue-up. its from the glue-- sometimes it happens. wait till the swell goes down before sanding otherwise youll have a dimple there when it dries out.

1 more thing about glueing up a top..............it DOESNT matter which way you orient the end grain on the boards - just arrange the boards for the best aesthetics

build it right or not at all
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post #3 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiirmoth View Post
I am working on two projects I would love some advice on.

1. I am building a bookcase. The sides and backs are rabbeted. It is made of 3/4 inch plywood. The rabbets are 1/4 inch in depth. Can I just use a nailgun to complete this or does it need woodglue? (My last woodglue project ended up with stain issues so I am a bit hesitant to use glue again)
I don't glue the backs in. I finish the casework without the back in place...makes for better spraying. The backs should be cut square and be a snug fit. When the backs get installed they should square the back of the cabinet. I use staples not brad nails, as the back won't pull out of a staple like it will from a skinny little nail.


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Originally Posted by fiirmoth View Post
2. I am starting my first dining room table, and will soon be doing a coffee table as well. It will involve me gluing stock for the top. I have a biscuit joiner. Is it better to just glue the boards together or to use biscuits? In all the threads I have read it would seem people just glue the boards together. Is there a reason I would NOT want to use biscuits? To me, it seems like it would just make it stronger.
I just edge glue and clamp. I also use cauls and clamps for alignment. Biscuits don't insure alignment, as there is some slop to insert. Biscuits don't afford much strength IMO, as they can create a questionable union. IOW, at the location, there is a reduced edge surface to be glued. If anything, biscuits may help from parts pulling apart on the same line, not axial. They are basically composed of composite materials, that have little strength with opposing loads.

On long glue ups, using multiple biscuits, that the time needed to cut the slot, apply the glue, insert and set the biscuits, could cut into your "open time" for the glue. Biscuits can get skewed and stuck off alignment to the point that they can prevent a good tight closure under clamping.

I would rather cut my own splines from crossgrain hardwood (if possible) or plywood in cases that called for that kind of joinery.






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post #4 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman

On long glue ups, using multiple biscuits, that the time needed to cut the slot, apply the glue, insert and set the biscuits, could cut into your "open time" for the glue. Biscuits can get skewed and stuck off alignment to the point that they can prevent a good tight closure under clamping.
.
+1. biscuits don't really have a place in edge glueing. Plywood face frame, yeah maybe but not great there either.

Simple long grain glue-ups joints are far stronger than the surrounding wood and the lumber will crack and fail prior to the glue letting go. It's important to have good fitted jointed pieces.


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Originally Posted by bob sacamano
1 more thing about glueing up a top..............it DOESNT matter which way you orient the end grain on the boards - just arrange the boards for the best aesthetics
There's a novel idea... Why not do both? Alternating growth rings and aligning run-out are important but not the end all be all.

If you intend to hand plane the top aligning run-out is very important.

If you plan on having a flat table stay flat, choosing good lumber thats stable with short minimally curved growth rings and alternating the growth rings is indeed quite important... If they have any curve to them.
4r sawn, you say?... No need to alternate that...

Do you follow? The lumber dictates whether or not these rules have to be followed.

Good luck on your shelf and table!

~tom "Ignorance is not a lack of intelligence - it's a lack of know-how"
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post #5 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 08:30 AM
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This topic is brought up all the time. Biscuits or no biscuits. Biscuit make lining up a long table top easier to do than just a edge glue up.the boards like to slide around when clamping, fumbling around with cauls and clamps can be discouraging for a newbie. IMO, using biscuits isn't a bad thing. It's personal preference, and what kind of project you building.

I look at a biscuit joining (I'm getting hungry lol) like mortice and tenons. Same concept. So as far as using one and not, I truly believe it all depends on the material your using, and experience.

When it's rustic......it's rustic
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post #6 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 08:50 AM
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I do not own a biscuit joiner but I see mo harm in the technique,

Bret
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post #7 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 08:51 AM
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I do not own a biscuit joiner but I see mo harm in the technique,

Bret
No not mo
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post #8 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 09:08 AM
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You need to learn how to apply the right amount of glue, evenly, so you don't get squeeze out and have to do a lot of clean up. Squirting a line with a glue bottle and pressing the parts together isn't the way to do it. Get a stiff glue brush and apply a light consistent layer. With plywood, you may want to prime the end grain with a very light coat before assembly so the grain doesn't suck up all the glue and leave little in the joint. You need clamping pressure for typical woodworking glues to bond correctly, nails aren't going to do it.

Biscuits only work if they fully expand and fill the slot completely, they don't. In rare occasions when they do, they may cause a bump in the face of the wood. You can use a gap filling glue, such as epoxy but there is no guarantee they will hold. There is too much slop for them to be useful for keeping faces aligned. Better to use cauls or hand alignment to keep things flush. The key in edge gluing boards is a perfect fit. If you can achieve this, standard woodworking glue will hold very well. Biscuits have their applications but they don't do what a lot of people think they do.

Cabinet backs do not need to be glued in place except in rare circumstances. When assembling something like a bookcase, you need to keep things square as you clamp up. Using some corner assembly blocks can be a big help. Screws can be used into dadoes where they don't show, often tops and bottoms. They can also be countersunk and covered with a plug, which you might want to consider when using solid wood which may expand and contract, breaking glue lines in opposite grain assemblies.
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post #9 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 09:30 AM
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I would use glue to assembly everything on your bookcase but be sparing with it. If you watch when you assembly the cabinet, and you have some glue ooze out you can wipe it clean with a wet rag. After it dries the spot will need a little extra sanding because the water will raise the grain but you should be free of the glue stain. As far as nails I would use nails for the cabinet structure and staples for the back. Nails will tend to shoot through the thin back where the staples have the crown to stop them. If you don't have a staple gun, Harbor Freight has one that will shoot both staples and 18 gauge nails you can get with a coupon for under 20 bucks complete ready to use.

On you dining room table, I would just glue the planks without the biscuits but there is really no reason they couldn't be used if you want to. I don't believe the biscuits would really add much strength to the joint. I've seen many people here say to get a glue joint within a 1/16" of an inch and your good to go. If you think about how much pressure it takes to bend a board edgeways to close up a 1/16" gap, that is how much pressure there is trying to pull the joint apart. When I make a glue up for a table top or anything else I will work the boards until there is no gap in the joint.
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post #10 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 10:24 AM
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Wow don't think I want to touch this thread with a 10' cawl. Thank God I don't have to use them. I do a lot of glue up and would rather do the prep on the boards to insure good joints than clamp up some over stressed contraption.

Face, plane, joint and straight line rip with a glue joint blade. The glue we buy today is far to strong to worry about having any trouble with glue up.

Never glue the back on a bookcase.

Al B

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post #11 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firemedic View Post

If you intend to hand plane the top aligning run-out is very important.

If you plan on having a flat table stay flat, choosing good lumber thats stable with short minimally curved growth rings and alternating the growth rings is indeed quite important... If they have any curve to them.
4r sawn, you say?... No need to alternate that...

Do you follow? The lumber dictates whether or not these rules have to be followed.

Good luck on your shelf and table!

~tom "Ignorance is not a lack of intelligence - it's a lack of know-how"
not to start a big thing here about alternating end grain but i ALWAYS chose the best looking grain to face up on the table. ive NEVER had a problem and ive done 100's of tables.

build it right or not at all
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post #12 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Wow,

Lots of responses. This forum is truly wonderful. Thank you all for the advice. I am new to all of this, obviously, so the advice is incredibly helpful. For the bookcase, I was going to glue and nail...but I guess I will glue and clamp instead and then maybe add nails once the glue is dried. As for the glue up, I think I used way too much on my first project, and didnt realize I could use a wet rag, or how important it was to get the extra off. The next run I will try to be much more careful. Before gluing I do my final sand, then wet and let the boards sit overnight, then sand again before assembly or staining so hopefully the raised grain shouldn't be an issue. Thank you all again for the advice. I will post pictures of the projects once they begin to come together. I was hoping to do the final sanding and assembly on the bookcase this weekend but I wasn't able to spend any time in the shop sadly. Soon :)
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post #13 of 24 Old 03-04-2012, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob sacamano

not to start a big thing here about alternating end grain but i ALWAYS chose the best looking grain to face up on the table. ive NEVER had a problem and ive done 100's of tables.
We're not going to start a big thing... as I said, the lumber dictates the actions you take to ensure a stable panel. If you are working with 4"-6" wide stock you probably won't see much issue... But 8"- 12" + wide 8/4 stock used to glue-up a top and you have to do more than see which side is pretty.

Cull through your boards and select appropriate top stock... rip / resaw less desirable sticks for aprons n such.

Are we gonna get to see any pictures of dem 100's of tables?

Regards,

~tom "Ignorance is not a lack of intelligence - it's a lack of know-how"
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post #14 of 24 Old 03-05-2012, 12:29 AM
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firemedic
ill be happy show a few tables. is there a place on this site with instructions for posting pics ? im new here, never done it. or if you can just tell that would be great

build it right or not at all
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post #15 of 24 Old 03-05-2012, 12:35 AM
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build it right or not at all
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post #16 of 24 Old 03-05-2012, 02:37 AM
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firemedi -
i got as far as putting a few pics in an album. then the site wouldnt upload any more. how do i get the pics to the thread ? of do you have to be on my contact list ?

build it right or not at all
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post #17 of 24 Old 03-05-2012, 10:53 AM
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firemedi -
i got as far as putting a few pics in an album. then the site wouldnt upload any more. how do i get the pics to the thread ? of do you have to be on my contact list ?
Bob, I don't see a visible album for you. Use the search function, there are a couple of threads here on uploading pictures to post and albums.

Look forward to seeing your work! You can start a new thread to show it all of.

Take care,

~tom "Ignorance is not a lack of intelligence - it's a lack of know-how"
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post #18 of 24 Old 03-05-2012, 11:21 AM
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firemedic
ill be happy show a few tables. is there a place on this site with instructions for posting pics ? im new here, never done it. or if you can just tell that would be great
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f16/h...t-photos-1120/






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post #19 of 24 Old 03-05-2012, 12:19 PM
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and alternating the growth rings is indeed quite important... I preached and followed this for years, and think it still has some merit. However, i've leaned what is more important is to keep both faces of the board exposed to the same air all the time. place a flat board on a concrete floor and check it tomorrow. or even on the workbench. wood is always absorbing or releasing moisture. if one face is allowed to trade more air than the other face - you have warping. finish both faces equally, and as close in time as possible.

i just brought a fw thousand feet of pre-finished (one face) floor into the house - the first day there is a good 1/4" bow in the center of a 3' board.

Last edited by TimPa; 03-05-2012 at 12:21 PM.
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post #20 of 24 Old 03-05-2012, 12:29 PM
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i stand by my word that it doesnt matter but ill add this -- maybe it matters in extreme cases. 99.9% of the time it doesnt matter. if anyone wants to see my work let me know and ill add you to my contacts so you can see my album. i posted a door , a few tables a chair and a bench , some kitchen work for variety. for some reason my latest and best tables wont upload to this site. i dont know why

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