joining wide surfaces - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-15-2013, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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joining wide surfaces

I am starting on a new project to build a bed. So far my shop is mostly hand tools except for a 14" band saw and a floor standing drill press. This specific project calls for some stock that is 4" thick 7" wide and about 5 feet long. I work almost exclusively with reclaimed wood and will have to glue some stock together to get 4" of thickness. I have seen this done before but it was done using a bench planer. I have had consistent luck with joining the edges of boards with my hand planes to make some nice seamless panels but this involving surfaces wider than even my pre-war stanley no. 7 makes me nervous that I wont be able to get that joining surface perfect. Is there a method of doing this with a hand plane and still getting a seamless join, or am I going to have to invest in a planer for this to work?
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-15-2013, 09:55 AM
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Do you have a Router?

Still Got ALL my Fingers!!!
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-15-2013, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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I do... I forget about that since its always mounted under my work bench... and oddly enough its the culprit for me not quite having all my fingers. But I hadn't thought about getting a surfacing bit and making a sled... might work out better. Anyone have surfacing bit suggestions or know where i could get some plans for a sled so I can figure where to start.
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-15-2013, 12:44 PM
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I think most folks just make their own sled.

A video included in another thread from earlier today.

A couple of straight rails. A carriage to hold the router and span the rails, short for your present needs.

A bottom cleaning bit will provide fewer passes.

Have you tried your hand plane at a skew angle?
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-21-2013, 12:40 AM
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I recently glued together two 1 and 3/4" thick by about 8" wide and 30" long oak boards to get 3" thick material to cut legs out of for a desk. I didn't plane the wood at all, and one board even had a slight bow to it (very slight, like 1/8" gap at MOST).

So what I did was placed the boards together so the bow gap was in the center of the boards. I applied a pretty hefty coat of glue to the bottom board and spread it out evenly in a nice thin (not TOO thin) coat covering all the edges (remember glue oozing out of the gaps is a good sign) and then I brushed a light amount of glue over the majority of the surface of the other board just to saturate it. I placed the glued faces together and used a lot of clamps and snugged them pretty good (not too tight as to void the joint of glue but snug enough to force some glue out of the gap and create a nice tight seal). I read another user post on the forums and he said it better than anyone "Remember, clamps are to hold the pieces in place, not compress them" because you don't want to tighten them all the way and void the joint of glue as I said before.

I like using pipe clamps because they get the best tightest most reliable hold I think. But any clamps really will do. Just place them at regular intervals and make sure you don't leave any portion of wood without a clamp so that part of the wood won't bow or separate during temp changes or anything.

For my board measurements I placed them about every 4 inches and I made damn sure to place at least 2 on the ends of the boards (i.e. the corners) and I didn't have a clamp wide enough to really reach down into the exact center of the boards so I used some C-clamps and just tightened them snug so I didn't leave marks in the wood. I put 2 C-clamps about 6 inches in from each end. Let it dry over night and I took the clamps out and cut the legs and there were no gaps.

I've read on here and I've learned from my own experience about how to face-glue boards together. I've done it many times and I don't see a problem with not planing them as long as you clamp and glue them properly.

***Make sure you do each board in separate glue-ups too. And at the end of the process you can use your hand planer to get a nice surface on the top and bottom of the final glued up board. for aesthetics.

Really long reply, I appologize but I didn't want to leave any question as to what I was talking about (that's why I gave you my example of how I did my project), but again this is my opinion and how I would do it I'm sure you'll get lots more feedback but I hope my reply helped or at least gave you more to think about. This forum has been good to me so I'm trying to give back and edge gluing or face gluing boards is kind of a strong point of mine.

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post #6 of 8 Old 10-21-2013, 04:32 AM
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If you are skilled with hand planes, you could surface them for a good fit. At the least you could reduce the bow so clamping wouldn't permit constant forces wanting to push them apart.


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post #7 of 8 Old 10-21-2013, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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I have used my hand planes on every project so far, just wasn't sure if this wouldn'y require tolerances beyond the ability of a hand plane. Starting to think I could make that work. My pre-war stanley no 7 should do well even on a surface 7" wide. Also my recent frustration fueled band saw upgrade should give me a flatter surface to start with. If that's a no go a router and sled should keep me from buying a planer. I have nothing against a planer but if I bought a tool every time I had something new to do I'd have as much money as shop space.

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post #8 of 8 Old 10-21-2013, 11:44 AM
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Remember: every piece of furniture made before the mechanical planer was invented (sometime in the 1800s?) was surfaced using hand planes. The tolerances you can achieve with handplanes are remarkable.

If your #7 is well set up, you should be able to flatten things as wide as you want, and getting it flat lengthwise shouldn't be hard. Here's how I've done it:

1) Flatten one face of the first board. This becomes your reference face.
2) Use a marking gauge of some sort to mark it all the way around to the correct thickness: sounds like 2" for your project.
3) If that leaves a lot of waste, use a jack plane to get rid of it, then switch to the #7. I like to plane down the edges almost all the way to the line, then flatten the broad surface and smooth everything all the way to the line. Other people just try to keep everything flat the whole time.
4) Once you've got it flat, repeat with the second board. When you're done, they should fit together with no gaps: if there are some, you may need to tweak the fit a little bit.

I've only done it with smaller boards, but it works fine.
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