I was able to spend some time last weekend preparing the boards I milled to be glued into panels. In the original plane I posted at the beginning of this series, the depth of both the wall-mounted portion and door were 4-1/2”. Since 2×4’s are about 3-1/2”, I decided to make one panel for each side just over 9” with three 2×4 boards, and then rip them in half. This more efficiently uses the wood than doing each 4-1/2” panel separately, and also gives some continuity when the cabinet is closed.
Since I don’t have a jointer, I am left jointing the glue-up edges with a Stanley No. 4 hand plane:
The vise I am using is a pipe-vise (i.e. built using pipe clamps) as per Jay Bates design. It is very handy since I can dismount it from my bench when I need more bench space (such as during the face planing in the last entry of this series) and was very economical at about $50 including the Pony pipe clamp fixtures at about $12 each. I have found it to be at a very comfortable height for cutting joinery, but I find it uncomfortably high for hand planing. One day, I will make (or buy) myself a proper front vise or some such device (and probably a new workbench while I’m at it).
All of that aside, I used the common method of ganging and planing two pieces together, making sure that they are positioned such that they ‘open’ into their final glue-up configuration. Obviously a jointer plane is probably better for this task, but I don’t have one. I DO have a No. 5, but it is currently not in operation. I saw Paul Sellers (whom I greatly respect) rave about how you can do pretty much anything with a No. 4, so I gave it a shot. They didn’t sit together perfectly, but it was close enough to clamp together into some sort of a sprung joint. What do you guys think, is a No. 7 or 8 all it’s cracked up to be as a must-have plane? Or will more practice and technique honing with my No. 4 do just as well? Anyways, with the jointing done, it was on to the glue-up.
To try and dissuade the panels from bowing too much, I needed some weight. These tomato juice bottles were about the heaviest things I could find.
For the remainder of the week, I have been gluing panels together. I had to do them one at a time due to my limited selection of clamps, but when it’s a hobby those sort of limitations don’t hurt too much. I finally ended up with four nice panels, two sides, a top and a bottom.
I had each panel feature a set of book-matched boards and one outlier. I truth, I wasn’t too concerned about grain flow in this project but I didn’t want to ignore it completely.
I am also a bit concerned about the thickness of the panels. With the residual warping in the glued-up panels, I don’t know how thin they will become while flattening them. If they end up too thin (as in less than 3/8”), I may have to change my design. This will be the next task at hand – flattening the panels.
As always, thanks for taking the time to read about my exploits!
-- Jeffrey S. Ovens, Canada