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Roubo Cabinet #11: Carcase Glue-Up

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Blog entry by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 06-01-2011 06:01 AM 1909 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Placing the Backpanel Part 11 of Roubo Cabinet series Part 12: Drawer Faces »

You’ve heard of spot welding, as applies to metal? Well, the partitions in this cabinet are spot-glued, specifically with a brushed-out dab of glue at the leading edges of each. That should allow for movement with the seasons without cracking.

The partitions ride in matched dadoes that must be lined up right and drawn tight between four large panels that are glued at the dovetailed corners. Oh, and the back panel floats completely in grooves in the side panels with a ‘button dowel’ at top and bottom. (Sorry, no pictures of the hidden dowel trick, but I did it in the centers of the top and bottom rails to add lateral (?) strength. It took about 15 minutes to add them.
Spreading glue, holding pieces and placing clamps was all I had to do. Geez, the most stress I’ve felt in the shop in some time. And, wouldn’t you know it, there aren’t many pictures of actual glue! But what I have, I’ll share. Besides that, glue you’ve seen! How about something you maybe haven’t tried? To pull the dovetail joints together, I used what Robert Wearing would refer to as ‘cramps;’ I made them to match up with the dovetails using a 1” (I think) Forstner bit at the drill press.

Marking the cramps:

Drilled and ready to apply:

One trick that I did before glue up also came from Wearing, more specifically an illustration in The Essential Woodworker. It showed slight bevels being planed against proud dovetails and pins to prevent blowout when smoothing the assembled carcase. I’ve (unfortunately) hit that end-grain blow out many times, so hopefully this does the trick. So I struck a line alongside the proud tails and marked the tops as being candidates for said beveling.

When the carcase was apart, the lines were clear!

So I knocked off edges to a half dozen or so marks, then was ready for glue up!

All there is of glue actually being applied is a single shot of the first partition getting hit.

Then adrenaline kicked in, the camera went bye-bye and the scramble to clamp within glue working time took place. I had my #3 son help me with the clamps. So, here it is after the whirlwind, moving from bottom to top then with all clamps!

How’d the mitered corners look? Not bad. Here’s one of them:

Once all was dry and all ten clamps were removed, I was anxious to dress the top of the carcase, where the beveling had been done. Here’s the cabinet braced up against the bench, ready for work.

Applied mineral spirits and went to work. The contrasts are magnified by the mineral spirits, but the results were great!

And, getting ahead of myself just slightly, here’s a shot of the carcase on top of the bench, all glued up, with drawer fronts sticking in their respective openings.

Cabinet is in final form, but looks kinda boring, don’t you think? Now I’m thinking of hardware and final finish. Oh, and those pesky drawers aren’t actually built…

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



8 comments so far

View tsangell's profile

tsangell

210 posts in 1351 days


#1 posted 06-01-2011 07:17 AM

I’ll say it again. I am really enjoying watching this come together. I just read the section on dovetailing a carcase in “The Essential Woodworker,” so I am getting my Robert Wearing fix, too.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9926 posts in 1277 days


#2 posted 06-01-2011 03:47 PM

@tsangell – Cool that it’s tying in with your reading of “TEW;” interested in your take on the bevels cut aside the dovetails. It’s only an illustration with a couple of words in his text, and it’s after the dovetailing section. When I was dovetail practicing, the end grain blow out was a problem and I thought the only way to mitigate it would be to cut all pins and tails short of the mating surfaces. I like the way this worked out.

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

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4846 posts in 1281 days


#3 posted 06-01-2011 06:15 PM

You must have not been too nervous. I see that you paused to take a pic prior to clamping the bottom. I also am enjoying your build.

Tell me again what the mineral spirits do for you.

Interesting that “The Essential Woodworker” has come up alot lately. I may have to add this to my existing pile of woodworking books. It is expensive though.

Smitty – thanks for sharing.

Scott

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9926 posts in 1277 days


#4 posted 06-01-2011 08:27 PM

Scott;

—But for the number of times I took this cabinet apart and put it back together during the build, I would have been screwed. Adding dowels at the last minute wasn’t very smart, either, because it complicated things even more. Probably a better way to put it together, but the way I did it was stress… First squirt of glue, one pic, then brush-applied to the first end of one panel (not even mating pins yet) and it hit me how much glue had to be applied concurrently. With joints to be pulled together at once, the pics abrubtly stopped.

http://www.lostartpress.com/catalog/cf1f3915-00f4-4498-b9ba-2ca623c4631b.aspx is where you can buy a new copy of TEW for $23. Maybe I should do a book review here on LJs; I really like this book.

—I read (and believe) that mineral spirits applied to end grain before planing makes cutting easier, with less splitting, while offering no residual effect on finishing.

Glad you’re enjoying the blog!

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

View lysdexic's profile

lysdexic

4846 posts in 1281 days


#5 posted 06-01-2011 11:14 PM

Concerning “TEW”: my comment about the expense was based on a quick search that took me to the $100 out of print listing on Amazon. Now, I see that Schwarz and company reprinted the book last year. Fascinating story. I will definitely order it.

-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe. - Muhammad Ali

View tsangell's profile

tsangell

210 posts in 1351 days


#6 posted 06-02-2011 02:05 AM

TEW gets another recommendation from me. It has a great amount of hand tool “meat” on it’s bones, and it is pretty thorough. There are times when my inexperience makes me think about what he is saying so that I can really understand it. It’s one that I will probably read more than once, and refer to often.

@Smitty – he does mention beveling the dovetails on the backside. I think this is an ok solution if you don’t overshoot on the bevel. I think leaving the tails shy and planing down the faces would be preferable, with a bit more planning (thicker stock.)

Yes, I meant “planning” not “planing,” although that might also be true…

View Dave's profile

Dave

11168 posts in 1498 days


#7 posted 06-02-2011 02:28 AM

Very nice Smitty. And that is a great way to build a glue jig. Looking mighty tight and mighty nice. Great build, waiting to see it in use. Did you put any thought towards a hide away?

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are." http://chiselandforge.com

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

9926 posts in 1277 days


#8 posted 06-02-2011 02:36 AM

@Super – Thanks, and yes I have an idea for a hidden space in the cabinet. It involves The Big Drawer, and if it works (okay, even if I really attempt it) I will do a Bonus Entry when the cabinet is done…

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

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