Wanted... Tips for gluing up larger panels

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Forum topic by MrWoody posted 02-18-2008 08:09 PM 17486 views 2 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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325 posts in 3951 days

02-18-2008 08:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question biscuit joiner clamp joining sanding

I would like to know how others edge glue boards for larger pieces.
I usually use sheet goods for wider boards, but some projects do require solid woods.
How do you do it ?
What clamps, glue, how much glue, or any others tips you can think ?
A video blog would be fantastic.

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I'm getting a fantastic education.

21 replies so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3945 days

#1 posted 02-18-2008 08:35 PM

well i like to use parallel clamps for all my glue ups but if you don’t have parallel clamps or ones that are big enough than pipe clamps are a quick and easy solution.

for glue i usually use Titebond 2 for all my glue ups and it hasn’t failed me yet

for amount or glue i put as much as i can on and cover the whole surface to be glued in a thick layer and then crank the clamps down and you should be good.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4070 days

#2 posted 02-18-2008 08:39 PM

Theres likely a lot of differnt methods

I place my planks on saw horses (perpendicular to the horse) and do a test first, one clamp to make sure the joints close with little effort, also look at the grain to match it up as nice as possible.

I number the joints in pencil, #1 to #1, #2 to #2 and so on

I cut biscuits into the edge near the bottom so that glue in the biscuit doesnt expand and show down the road. The cookies/biscuits keep the boards lined up and even.

I get enough bar clamps so that have one for every foot of length.

Fill a glue bottle (I use tite bond III as its water proof when set, has a longer open time and is brownish in colour and it doesnt clog up sand paper)

I tip the boards on edge and put a dab of glue in each biscuit hole and insert the biscuits (this stops the glue from draining out). I then turn the boards on its oppiste edge with cookies facing down. I then put a dab of glue in the balance of the cookie holes. Then a place two thick beads of glue down the edges that need it using myopposite hand to keep the beads straight and then smooth the glue with my index to cover the entire edge. It isnt neccassary to glue the edge of the last board which I leave flat on the horses

One by one I put the boards together and then starting at the middle of the panel apply pipe clamps with just enough pressure to close the joint. From the center working out I alternate pipe clamps, one on top, one below, one on top, one below….......etc

I often go back and place a cookie under the clamps on what would be the exposed surface of the panel so that the glue, that squeezes out, doesnt touch the clamp leaving the a black mark.

I remove the excess glue with a wet rag or I wait until it gels and scrap it off.


-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4070 days

#3 posted 02-18-2008 08:43 PM

A common error is that folks put so much pressure on the clamps that it forces all the glue out which can cause joint failure down the road. You only need enough pressure to “close” the joint…plus a small pinch but dont crank it for all your worth. If the joint wont close by applying moderate force then the joint wasn’t good to begin with. You want the glue to saturate the wood fibres, The faster you glue it up, as a rule, the stronger the joints.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4070 days

#4 posted 02-18-2008 08:45 PM

and one more thing. I sometimes get four “straight boards, 1’ wide by the width of the panel. When done glueing up clamping…....on each end, I place one on top and one on the bottom and clamp them flat to ensure even ends on the panel

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View TampaTom's profile


74 posts in 3930 days

#5 posted 02-18-2008 09:45 PM

Roman – While I do sometimes reach for biscuits for edge-gluing, I’ve found they aren’t always 100% necessary. With a well edge planed board, you can do nicely with just straight clamp pressure. However, a few biscuits to align longer boards never hurts!

-- Tom's Workbench -

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 3981 days

#6 posted 02-19-2008 01:27 AM

Like some of the others I use biscuits after putting the cutting pattern on the boards to determine biscuit location. I keep a damp sponge handy and wipe up the excess squeeze out to make the clean up easier. On pieces that will be stained I will put blue painters tape as close to the joint as possible.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View Popintraining's profile


110 posts in 4015 days

#7 posted 02-19-2008 08:40 PM

I use pipe clamps for all of our glue-ups. The one thing to remember is use clamps on both sides of the board. This will help keep the board flat and if the glue isn’t squeezing out, there’s not enough

-- Illegitimis nil carborundum - Don't let the bastards grind you down

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4139 days

#8 posted 02-19-2008 09:08 PM

I also use a lot of cauls and C-clamps to hold it flat. Furniture wax on the cauls will keep them from sticking to the glue.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View MrWoody's profile


325 posts in 3951 days

#9 posted 02-25-2008 03:30 PM

I would like to thank everyone for your input.
I have enough cut offs to try them all and decide which I like best.
I will post pictures once it’s done.

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I'm getting a fantastic education.

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4167 days

#10 posted 02-25-2008 03:37 PM

#20 bisquets…and gravy! Sorry…It’s breakfast time here! Bisquets will align your boards and are easier than dowels. That Festool Domino might be alright too, but I haven’t experience with one because I prefer to stay happily married. “Happily married”...That’s an oxymoron ain’t it?

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View skozub's profile


59 posts in 3936 days

#11 posted 02-26-2008 05:15 AM

I’d agree with folks to use cauls for sure…thick cauls that run across the boards then clamped with C-clamps will help keep the board even (even if you use biscuits I suggest cauls). I recommend a thick caul b/c thinner pieces won’t do much to distribute even pressure across the boards. You can either use wax as Thos. Angle noted or put some clear packing tape across the length to help prevent it from sticking.

Nobody else noted it but it should be a standard practice for all woodworkers. Perhaps something we all do (read: should) but I’ll mention it again: dry run assembly. Don’t just toss glue on these pieces and go at it…make sure you do a dry run to see how the board come together. It also gets all your clamps together so you real glue up goes forward with a little less stress.

I use pipe clamps for all my glue ups and haven’t had a problem yet. As a rule of thumb tighten them no more than your weak hand can go without much effort (for me I use my left hand to tighten before I reach the limit).

I always let my glue set up for about a hour or longer then scrap it off before tossing the clamp up in the corner overnight. I’ve found this to work much better than trying to clean up later.

Good luck!

View Pretzel's profile


93 posts in 3922 days

#12 posted 02-26-2008 05:28 AM

best deal I’ve found is to use a glue-joint bit and table router. Amana tool sells them, bit works great, creates a very good joint.

-- Pretzel L8agn

View Al Killian's profile

Al Killian

273 posts in 3930 days

#13 posted 02-27-2008 02:26 AM

For large panels, I use a locking joint bit or biscuits. This helps with lineing up the boards. To help keep them flat, I use a couple of peices of angle iron acroos the boards. This will keep the boards flat.

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 4262 days

#14 posted 02-27-2008 06:16 AM

I use biscuts for alignment (fastest solution I’ve found so far) but if the wood is less than 3/4” thick, I don’t glue the biscuts. They are just in there for alignment anyway. I use pipe clamps alternating from top to bottom spaced close enough so if you were to put a 45 deg out from each clamp, they woud intersect the next clamp before they meet at the glue joint. I also use cauls across the ends of the panels. I don’t put biscuts within 6 to 8 inches from the ends so the cauls help keep the ends flat (once had few go wild on me, not pretty)

I use Titebond III for glue, mainly because I use it a lot for cutting boards and never got around to getting anything else. Don’t use poly glue (Gorilla) it’s very weak and I’ve had a few glue ups fail because of it. I put on the glue with an acid brush on both sides, probably over kill but better safe than sorry. I never wipe glue while it’s wet, it can leave a glue mark that you may not catch until you finish the project. Its safer to scrape it off after it sets up a bit (turns sort of rubbery) or wait till it dries completely and scrape it down.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Lakey's profile


97 posts in 3949 days

#15 posted 02-28-2008 01:20 AM

I’ve never been much of a biscuit fan myself (prefer splines), but for sure, cauls are a must, one on each end. You can get as fancy as you want with them, but I use pine. 2×4s that have been smoothed and jointed. The bottom caul should be flat, and the top should have a slight convexity, so that when you clamp them (across the boards, on on top, one below) the top caul distributes pressure evenly. I also put clear packing tape on them so the glue doesn’t stick. I prop the panel up on glue blocks (also pine, also covered with packing tape.) Clamp your panels together with parellel clamps (like the Bessey K-body) if you have them, but if you don’t – pipe clamps or whatever you have in the shop. (If you don’t have clamps, you can make a wedge-clamping jig.) Use good ol’ Titebond, buttering both edges of the boards, but not overdoing it. Tighten the clamps until you get a bit of squeeze out, clamp down the cauls, and if necessary, give the seam a few whacks with a dead-blow mallet just to be sure everthing is even. I dont remove the squeeze out until it’s mostly dry – if you try wiping it off, you just get a big old smear. It comes off easily when dry with a card scraper or a #80. Let us know how it comes out!

-- "No Board Left Behind"

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