Clamping jig for butcher block glueup

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Project by Mikesawdust posted 07-05-2013 09:08 PM 3335 views 3 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just started a new butcher block Island project and decided to share the glueup procedure I used this time as apposed to last time I built one ( When I glued the blocks up on the first project, I made four stacks and glued them up that way, then joined pairs of stacks. This entailed several negative issues. 1. The clamping on the stacks was subpar, with tat many layers the glue drying and shrinking released the clamp pressure. The glue joints looked good but I wasn’t comfortable with the clamps being loose when they were dried. 2. The stacks had to be edged for another joint to pair them up, this was rather sticky since I used a joiner and ran them cross grain over the blades. It worked but it wasn’t a procedure I wanted to repeat. 3. The final thing that worried me was a center joint the entire lenth of the block, I know the joint is supposed to be stronger than the surrounding wood but I still don’t like it. I decided on this project to try and tackle these issues. First I built a clamping frame that handled all 24 pieces in both stacks, This was done by inclosing three sides and using 3/4 inch MDF for the base. The sides were about 3/8 ” wider than the length of the two pieces that made up each layer. One end was left open to allow that en to be used in the clamping. On the side of the frame I glued in an thin piece with a natural edge sloping inward, I sliced up the remainder of this piece into 12 strips to use as wedges. The second problem of the loosening clams was taken care of by using two strips of 1/2” plywood with MDF strips. The MDF pieces were glued to one strip of plywood three spaced down one side and two spaced on the other The other strip of plywood was sandwiched against this assembly, as the clamps tightened the plywood flexed, so as the glue dried it kept pressure on the whole stack. The Third problem was the center joint, I fixed this by making two stacks different length and flipping them between layers, This gave me a staggered joint down the middle and I’m hoping a better joint. (you may notice in the picture that the second and third row were not flipped, my mistake so I repeated it on the other end and did the second board the same way)

Well I hope someone finds this information usefull.

-- You never cut a piece to short, you are just prepping that piece for a future project

2 comments so far

View Mikesawdust's profile


327 posts in 3181 days

#1 posted 07-05-2013 09:21 PM

I forgot to go over the glueup. I covered the frame in brown paper to protect it from glue. I sued a small roller to sread the glue on each piece as I place them. I hammered in the wedges on each row as I went and tapped them tight with a rubber mallet. once all the pices were in place I installed the plywood pusher and the end piece for the frame. Clamped it as shown and waited. The nect day I remove the block and ran it through the sander till I had it smothed out.

-- You never cut a piece to short, you are just prepping that piece for a future project

View GerardoArg1's profile


985 posts in 2136 days

#2 posted 07-05-2013 09:52 PM

Uau! Exactly sometime like those I´was thinking! Thank for post. A good idea!

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

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