The outpouring of ideas from everyone has been incredibly helpful. I have been struggling with how I should get the router table to be flat, or at the very least to f sharp. So I sat at the piano and tickled the ivories.
Many of you might be astonished to find that I play the piano; well you need not be, as I really don’t. When I turned 38, and realized it had been 20 years since I had graduated high school, it seemed that it was just about time to get my midlife crisis underway. I bought a really nice Yamaha electric piano with weighted keys. It was either that or take up smoking. I took four lessons from an angry Russian woman who complained, “De problem with teaching the children in dis country, is dat the parents, they don’t let you hit their children. It is disgusting, how are they supposed to learn.” And then she said, after a heavy sigh, “stupid Americans.”
I didn’t progress much with her, but I still like to sit at my piano and goof around. It is a good place to think. I thought about trying to sand a perfectly flat surface, and one side of my brain tells me that it is possible, but unlikely, while the other side tells me that it is impossible and really unlikely. I considered trying to get my antique jack plane tuned up, but I don’t think I quite have the skill set for restoring the plane at this time, let alone, getting it in good enough shape to accomplish my task. The Makita 2012 NB table top planer seems like a good option, and Del at ACME has said they could order me one. But I am not quite ready to pull that trigger.
So I play a bit and think a bit. Then I go downstairs and glue up another set of boards. With each set, I get closer to needing to make a decision. I also find that with each set I am getting better at my set up and execution of the glue up. I lay the boards out parallel to one another, apply glue to the first board, use my plastic spreading card to get an even coat of glue, and then stack the next board on to the one with the glue. I have also started to put little spacers into the cauls, to hold them open. This has made getting the boards into the cauls considerably easier. After trying a couple of different strategies for getting the wax paper in place, I now wrap a layer around the ends of the glued up set of boards, before I slide it into the caul. This is easier than trying to put the paper in afterwards. Once the boards are into the cauls, I tighten them a little bit, but not too snug. I clamp the ends next, which I made sure stuck out past the cauls by about 3 inches. Lastly I slide my Jet clamps under the boards, rotate them up, and tighten. I finish by tightening the cauls.
I will not describe the methodology I used initially because it involved a lot more chaos and swearing. I glued up my boards in seven mini sections, and now am gluing the seven mini sections into three. The middle section is kept separate from the others, as it needs to be cut in half, thus creating the opening for the router plate. I have left an excess of about 1 ¾ inches on the middle section, and about 1 inch on the end sections. This will allow me to finish up the sizing by trimming off both ends. Since I knew that this step was part of my plans, I avoided stressing out about having the ends perfectly lined up. I got them as close as I could, and that was good enough.
The joy of this project grows with each step. Actually doing a glue up is sort of exciting. I am sure that future glue ups will require much greater attention to squeeze out, but that is ok. I will cross that sticky bridge when I get to it.
-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com