Furniture Restoration #4: Bent Lamination of New Front Apron

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Blog entry by Paul posted 08-29-2007 04:51 AM 1047 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Are We Having Fun Yet? Part 4 of Furniture Restoration series Part 5: Bent Lamination of New Front Apron *2 »

(As always – click on the pics for a larger view)

I outlined the curve of the original front apron onto the wood block and cut the curves on the bandsaw to make the wooden form:

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My bandsaw blade was too dull to resaw the ash well and it started to wander, so I quit after a few inches. Rather than take the time to buy a good resaw blade and build a resaw fence/jig, I decided to resaw on my table saw using a featherboard to keep it tight against the fence. With two 1/8” kerfs, I was able to get three pieces in the neighborhood of 7/32” thickness from the 15/16” x 2 3/4” x 60” boards. To take out the saw marks, I ran the two outside pieces through the planer (with a homemade bed insert for thin planing) and the third middle piece through the jointer and planer and took them down to about 5/32.” You can see the walnut piece on the left for the outside “front” laminate

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This gives you a sense of how much it needed to bend before I started slinging glue. The original apron is 1 1/2”, but I went with a ~ 1 1/4” lamination. I believe the 1 1/4” lamination will be at least as stong as the original piece bandsawed from solid soft wood and veneered – probably stronger:

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I tried to get my clamps set up as much as possible before hand and I laid out all the pieces before spreading glue. I should have gone and gotten some glue that wouldn’t set up as fast, but lazily I went with my yellow Titebond that I had on hand. Therefore sorry, I didn’t have time to stop and take a picture of spreading glue.

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After some deep breaths, a brief walk down the drive cleaning my bi-focal safety glasses, a preliminary prayer and asking the painter next door to pray for me, too, I commenced slinging glue and tightening clamps as fast as I could. After much grunting and groaning, a bucket of sweat, a skinned bleeding knuckle and a pinched bleeding finger . . .

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You never have too many clamps! Fortunately, I was able to improvise on the fly and gain some leverage tightening the clamps by hooking a six inch metal C clamp around the clamp handles. Next time, I’ll have a short length of pipe handy that will slip over the end of the pipe clamp handle.

I shut off the lights and went to the house. I’ll let it dry and set for at least 24 hours. But it will probably be at least 72 hours before I get back to the shop for any length of time. I’ll clean it up and show it to you out of the form ASAP. Next: attempting to remove the applied carvings from the original and laminating two slightly curved side seat frame pieces – as well as the back seat frame piece.

-- Paul, Texas

5 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4364 days

#1 posted 08-29-2007 05:22 AM

Great glue up. Did you try to do it dry before the glue was spread?

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3926 days

#2 posted 08-29-2007 12:49 PM

quite a project. thanks for the blow by blow.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4125 days

#3 posted 08-29-2007 01:44 PM

hurry .. hurry… wait..

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Paul's profile


660 posts in 4057 days

#4 posted 08-29-2007 05:23 PM

Karson -

No, I didn’t do a dry run. I felt pretty confident that the curves weren’t as bad (“acute”) as I first made them out to be but that’s where the prayers came in, too. I was concerned about keeping the laminations from slipping out of alignment with each other – the form staying in a flat plane, etc. – basically needing two more hands. But what I really needed more than anything was the physical strength/leverage for the last 1/2” of pressing the forms together. I wanted it a bit tighter (1/8”?) but the combination of setting glue, the thickness of the lamination and my tired bruised hands made that last little bit unattainable.

-- Paul, Texas

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3961 days

#5 posted 09-13-2007 05:31 AM

Great work thus far! I’m gonna keep on reading…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

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