Furniture #13: 1500mm Table Top clamping the sections up

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Blog entry by robscastle posted 08-01-2016 08:50 AM 686 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: 1500 mm Table Top a short diversion while I make Jigs and a shopping list Part 13 of Furniture series Part 14: 1500 mm Table Top Squaring and edging work »

Once the five sections were ready to glue together as one table top I checked the edges and any that were not going to close on glue up were recut with my table saw to make them parallel.

Then I set off looking for panel clamps to hold the sections together for the glue up.
I had in mind using Plano brand panel clamps but at (shock horror) $460 per clamp and then they were only 1200 in length I decided that not only would they not be able to do the job in regard to size or price for that matter I soon gave that idea away.

So next trip was to my local electrical distribuitor and I buy 2 x lenghts of unistrut at 6m lengths, no sooner then I had hauled them home I realised I did not have any way of cutting them into 2M lengths.

So I called on my friend Michael who is a metal Fabricator knowing he had a friction saw, he had no problem in lend me the saw but as I loaded it he wanted to know what I was doing with it.
As the conversation progressed he told me he had two clamps over 1600mm long so I borrowed them also.

I got everyting home cut up the unistrut and bought a heap of bolts, wing nuts and washers so I could use them as a set of three poor mans Panel clamps.

I layed everything out on the floor again an and marked each section up to cut more biscuit recesses.
Then using the Biscuit jig I cut them in preparation for more biscuits.

Here is a series of pictures I took in the glue up process, some are a bit blurred, (sorry about that)

Even with the three Unistrut sections I needed to daisy chain my existing sash clamps again

You can see Michaels life saving Orange sash clamps at work.

I had a bit of a problem with one edge side that didnt want to cooperate so I applied blocks and F clamps to hold the boards straight.

Well after wasting almost half a day trying to buy panel clamps bolts etc this was all I achieved today.
I hope all goes well overnight.

Additional Notes (as a result of feedback)
The table top is in five sections (each section being two boards wide) the were biscuited and then glued,
the glue sections are delineated by the additional clamps I have on the edges every where there is a block and clamp there is a new glue joint underneath.

Getting there

-- Regards Robert

7 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile


1357 posts in 1552 days

#1 posted 08-01-2016 11:10 AM

Just one step at a time. But, you’re making long strides so far. Keep up the ambitition.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2754 days

#2 posted 08-01-2016 04:20 PM

Your clamps look to be working out well Robert, but you could also use wood for clamps and tighten them with wedges. Here is one way to do that.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Boxguy's profile


2122 posts in 1688 days

#3 posted 08-01-2016 06:49 PM

Robert, I wonder if you could use tie down straps running through your metal and around the boards to have effective longer clamps? These straps are cheap and would furnish pressure. I have seen a set of four straps for $12 on sale. If you threaded one side of the strap through the metal i see in your pictures and looped the other side around the boards, the metal would hold the boards flat and the strap would supply pressure. Just a thought.

-- Big Al in IN

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9325 posts in 3473 days

#4 posted 08-01-2016 08:13 PM

Did you attempt to glue the whole thing all at the same time?
... that would seem like a nightmare to me…

Glueing in smaller groups, building up to the final glue-up, I think would have been much easier.

Perhaps using biscuits or dominoes to aid in alignment would also help… a lot?

Looking good…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View robscastle's profile


3315 posts in 1624 days

#5 posted 08-01-2016 09:51 PM

Replies to comment posts:

Russell… Thank you

Mike… I considered making wooden cauls but was on a “Plano” thought track when I bought the unistrut.
It actually works quite well and I should do a blog on how I fabricated, (or more correcly how I was guided in the fabrication) after seeing the prices charged for Plano and Frontline clamps it may be of interest to other LJs.

Big Al… Yes I broke out my “Big Al straps” but they were not long enough to get completly around the project so I didnt get to use them this time.
Had I done the glue up in smaller sections as Joe suggested I could have put them to good use again.
I think the panel clamps concept preoccupied my thoughts, no doubt next time it would be different.

Joe… Yes its one big glue up and I tend to agree its possibly a lack of knowledge move by me at the time.
The need for long sash clamps and unistrut initally being required, and as it is I think I am still going to have to but more clamps as well.
I did biscuit joint the long edges of the planks and that produced a good alignment overall, apart from one cranky edge which I “fixed”.

-- Regards Robert

View crowie's profile


1404 posts in 1371 days

#6 posted 08-02-2016 01:46 AM

That’s one mammoth effort to such a big glue up…well done sir.

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View CFrye's profile (online now)


8568 posts in 1260 days

#7 posted 08-02-2016 03:17 AM

Sounds like a hairy glue up job that you eventually mastered, Rob!

-- God bless, Candy

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