I thought it might be fun, or at least interesting, not to say a challenge, to make a box-like thing using joints like this…
I took a fair amount of care.
I measured three or four times.
I did “sneaking up”.
I fitted each leg/stem individually.
I sanded for final fit.
Finally I had the required pieces (pine and jatoba)...
I’d fitted, very carefully, each of the 8 joints.
I’d “trial fitted” the complete piece several times – the legs started out square and only got rounded towards the end.
I trial fitted again.
The next day I sanded everything – the pine to 240, the jatoba to 400.
I trial fitted again.
These joints were just perfect.
Not “burn him, he’s a witch” perfect, but pretty jolly good.
Firm pressure required, but not too firm.
No mallet required.
Almost no glue required, and I did toy with that idea.
And then I put the glue on.
I was pretty quick, but I didn’t rush.
And now the thing doesn’t fit anymore!
By the time I realised it wasn’t going together, it was all too tight to pull apart.
No way could I get any clamping together because of the angles. I had nothing prepared since I wasn’t going to need clamps.
No-where to mallet.
I ended up with this…
which doesn’t look too bad, until you look not very closely and you see how bad it is…
I’ve filled the grand canyon sized gaps with sawdust.
In fact, the pictures don’t do justice to exactly how terrible it is.
These were, by quite a long way, the best set of joints I’ve ever made.
And this was what happened.
I’ve spent a few hours thinking about this, and I’ve come up with the following reason it all went wrong.
If anyone has alternative/additional/better ideas, or even confirmation, I’d be grateful.
First up, I applied the glue to all the (what are basically) M&T joints.
All 16 of them.
And then I started putting it together.
I think that the jatoba started expanding as soon as I started to put the glue on. I know that beech expands a lot when moist and I’m assuming Jatoba is somewhat similar?
I put the joints together in reverse order of glue application. Just stupid, I know. That gave the first glue joints even more time expand and mess with my world.
- Always assemble in the order of glue application
- Do not attempt so many joints at one time – I should have glued 4 panels to 4 legs, then 2 panels together, then the 2 pieces into the finished piece.
- Wood expands when it gets wet – some more so than others – take care with jatoba.
- Even if you don’t think you’re going to need to clamp, think of a clamping strategy should it be required.
Am I downhearted?
Sure I am.
Have I learnt anything?
Will I bounce back?
Bet on it!
-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence."