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Clamping inlay into the middle of a large panel

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Blog entry by MrJesse34 posted 498 days ago 1481 reads 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just curious what technique I would need to clamp down an inlay in the middle of a large panel.

What I have is a 40” x 20” solid 1” thick red oak bench top. I want to inlay a compass rose into the middle of it, as well as some banding around the outer edge. The banding is easy because I can use regular clamps to hold it down. The compass rose is in the middle of the panel and I have never heard of clamps with 20” deep throats. What technique or tool would I need (besides a really heavy rock!) to hold the inlay in place while it dries?



21 comments so far

View Enoelf's profile

Enoelf

192 posts in 860 days


#1 posted 498 days ago

You could make a clamping caul that crosses the center of your project and that would allow you to use clamps on the edges to secure the caul.
A caul would be just a long piece of lumber with a slight curve cut in one face. You place the apex of the curve over the area to be clamped and then secure the ends with traditional wood clamps.
Depending on the size of your compass rose, you may want to spread the clamping area with a block of wood under the caul.

-- Central Ohio, Still got 9 and 15/16 fingers!

View MrJesse34's profile

MrJesse34

34 posts in 741 days


#2 posted 498 days ago

Isn’t it funny how you have to have learn the vocabulary before you can even start working on this stuff? I’ve never heard of a caul before. So what I’m hearing is to take a piece of wood, and cut curve into it using my bandsaw? How do I make a curved cut? Thats another thing I could never figure out – not necessarily how to make the curved cut, but how to mark the curve onto the stock.

Once I have the curved wood, then put it on top of the compass rose like a U shape, with the bottom of the U on the compass rose? And then clamp the ends down to the bench?

View kenn's profile

kenn

779 posts in 2316 days


#3 posted 498 days ago

That’s the idea. To draw a curve rip a thin strip of wood on the table saw. Either have somebody help to flex it while you draw a curve or put a nail in each end of the piece you want the curve on (which now needs to be extra long since you are putting nails in it). And flex the strip, draw the curve. Good luck.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View MrJesse34's profile

MrJesse34

34 posts in 741 days


#4 posted 498 days ago

Thanks Enoelf and Kenn! Thats great advice!

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9573 posts in 1215 days


#5 posted 498 days ago

Eno – a slight curve can be drawn any number of ways. A pencil and string from a fulcrum or trammel points, for example. Here’s a very crude drawing of another way that uses a thin strip of scrap and a couple nails.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View MrJesse34's profile

MrJesse34

34 posts in 741 days


#6 posted 498 days ago

See the thats another problem I’ve ran into with woodworking – theres like a million different ways to do the same thing. I like to find one working solution and stick with it so I can really perfect it and I don’t have to get all mixed up with too many techniques.

I still don’t have a table saw or a powered miter saw and I am able to do most things using my band saw and radial arm saw. Its crazy how different everyone’s learning process is with this hobby.

View Ampeater's profile

Ampeater

388 posts in 2344 days


#7 posted 498 days ago

I would keep it simple. The above suggestion will work but for an inlay I would use a board that is slightly larger than the inlay and then using two 2” X 4”s, then place one 2×4 beneath the table top and the other on top of the board and use some clamps on each end of the 2×4s. The pressure will be applied to the board that is on top of your inlay.

If the inlay and therefore the board are fairly large, you should use two sets of 2×4s and clamps to even out the pressure.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9573 posts in 1215 days


#8 posted 498 days ago

It’s a truth: there are five ways to do any operation. :-)

I agree you can do most things with band saw and radial arm. Those are very versatile tools indeed.

For the cauls, if curved is a problem, use straight pieces and add a shim or thin block at the point of the inlay. A sheet of waxed paper will prevent the block from catching glue and sticking to the top. Cleanup will be needed afterwards, but I’m thinking you already knew that.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9573 posts in 1215 days


#9 posted 498 days ago

^ Like Ampeater says, that’ll do the job without curved cauls.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Bogeyguy's profile

Bogeyguy

457 posts in 664 days


#10 posted 498 days ago

Make some cauls Jesse.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

View gagewestern's profile

gagewestern

300 posts in 1947 days


#11 posted 498 days ago

how about wax papre then a board then some kind of weight

-- gagewestern

View DeLayne Peck's profile

DeLayne Peck

331 posts in 798 days


#12 posted 497 days ago

I keep a heavy bag of left-over aquarium gravel in the shop for the odd situation when clamps can’t get it. It came in a heavy woven bag. It’s very pliable. Sheet of wax paper and bag ‘er down.

I “re-caul” using it any number of time. Where’s Oldnovice? He’d, love that one?

-- DJ Peck, Lincoln Nebraska. I think of my shop as Fritter City. I am the Mayor.

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

3581 posts in 1964 days


#13 posted 497 days ago

DeLayne, I right here and you are getting real good! You are putting me under pressure!

You use aquarium gravel … that sounds a little fishy to me as I use new cat litter ‘cause I don’t have any fish. But the litter must be in plastic bags because of the dust.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Gary's profile

Gary

36 posts in 859 days


#14 posted 489 days ago

Why bother ripping a piece of thin stock when yardsticks from the home stores are less than a buck?

I am not the only person who uses his computer mainly for the purpose of diddling with his computer. —Dave Barry

-- Cheers -- g

View MrJesse34's profile

MrJesse34

34 posts in 741 days


#15 posted 489 days ago

I finished the compass rose this week, with just a touch of space between. Here’s a pic.

I have to cut it thin on the bandsaw still, then I will start the process of the inlay. I have a router that I will use to clean up the majority, and I just bought a set of 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1” chisels for the cleanup. Once I get the inlay in I’ll post a picture of the clamp up. Thanks for everyone’s suggestions!!

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