Bent Laminations

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Blog entry by John posted 04-14-2009 02:23 AM 4658 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello everyone. Ive been working on my first Morris Chair and I thought I would document some of this. Found the plans from a book “Wood Magazine Arts and Crafts Furniture”. I’m making some changes to the design of the spindles on the sides of the chair but the dimensions are essentially the same. It will be made from walnut

I started this project with plans on laminating stock for the legs and discovered the hard way that the glue was bad. I tried Weldwood plastic resin glue that had been in my shop for a long time and it didn’t set up correctly. So that led me to purchase Unibond 800 two part plastic resin glue I saw David Marks using on his show. I love this stuff. My stock was not thick enough for the stretchers so I glued 4/4 stock together to get the thickness I needed. In this picture you can see multiple stretchers stacked together to better distribute clamping pressure and save time.
This glue needs to sit for five hours in the clamps at a shop temperature of 70 degrees F. I put plastic wrap in between the laminations so the squeeze out would not glue stretchers together.

This picture shows some prized walnut stock I found at an estate sale. I managed to get all four legs for the chair and four legs for the ottoman from one slab of walnut.
Walnut legs

The new skill I’m trying is a bent lamination for the arms of the chair. I made the master template from a 1/4 inch thick piece of hardboard. Once I had that shape I used it to template route 3/4 inch mdf for the bending form. After I had one piece of mdf in the shape I wanted I glued and screwed the next piece of mdf on. Band sawed most of the waste off. Then template routed the remainder of the waste off. I wound up with eight plies of 3/4 mdf for each half of the form. I lined each half with cork and covered it with plastic.
Bending form

I used a small paint roller to apply the glue. Used packing tape to keep the laminations from sliding around in the form. I was surprised that the laminations didnt move very much at all during clamping.
In the clamps

This is what the first arm looked like when it came out of the form. The second arm is sitting right next to it on the assembly table.

In this picture you can see size of the ply’s before glue up.

I re sawed the ply’s on the band saw and removed the mill marks with my jointer. When using the jointer for this I double stick taped the remainder of the re sawn arm to the thin ply as a backer and then took light passes over the jointer. I will add that I replaced my straight knife cutter head with a carbide indexed head. I don’t think this would have worked as well with a straight knifed cutter head.

-- Brain the size of a planet and they have me parking cars.

4 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4121 days

#1 posted 04-14-2009 05:56 AM

This will be fun to follow.

I use Unibond 800 myself. I love it.

I use it for veneer work in the vacuum press. Since it is not really guaranteed to set up in a cold shop I use heating blankets on my work to bring everything up to temperature.

I use a blender for mixing. That insures that I do not have any little lumps of unmixed powder.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View John's profile


173 posts in 3815 days

#2 posted 04-14-2009 03:48 PM

Hi Todd,

I love those prairie chandeliers you made. I could live in that cooper house.

I thought about getting a small mixing blade I could chuck in a drill. Mixing this stuff with a stick leaves some lumps. how do you clean this stuff off of unintended things? The directions didn’t say anything but I assumed acetone would work. I have an oil filler radiator in my shop and it keeps it right at 70 degrees. Have you ever seen a bad glue bond?

-- Brain the size of a planet and they have me parking cars.

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4111 days

#3 posted 04-14-2009 04:09 PM

Great post. Keep on!

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View corncob's profile


20 posts in 3350 days

#4 posted 04-15-2009 03:43 AM


Very nice! I am just finishing up a pair of bow arm Morris style chairs for our living room. I puzzled for some time over the holes in the back of the arms to receive the pegs that support the backrest. I wanted them to be both evenly positioned so that the backrest hit them simultaneously and square to the arms. My plans called for using a portable drill but I feared that would not position them quite correctly.

I finally landed on clamping them back into the jig, laying it on its side on my drill press table, proping the ‘outside edge’ up with the waste I cut off. Then with some leveling of the surface I intended to drill along with making sure the face was plumb I could drill with confidence.

-- If at first you don't succeed it'll make some mighty fine kindling -- corncob --

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