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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 11-06-2012 09:19 AM 1680 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2490 days

11-06-2012 09:19 AM

This is my word for gluing boards together to make larger wood…..some just buy plywood, but those of us without means of hauling 4×8 sheets must find another way.

I’ve only done about a dozen of them so far, but I realized right off that it’s a skill I better get to perfection.

How many of you LJ’s do glue-ups on a regular basis?

Have any tips for us?

This is my best one so far.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

13 replies so far

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2630 days

#1 posted 11-06-2012 09:49 AM

Glueups usually involve loads of clamps, do have photos of the wood with calmps? This is critical for us to be able to figure out what you are doing right and where you may have a problem.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Don W's profile

Don W

19015 posts in 2771 days

#2 posted 11-06-2012 12:19 PM

dry fit, dry fit, dry fit. A Stanley #7 or #8 works best.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2451 days

#3 posted 11-06-2012 01:05 PM

Maybe because I lack skills still, but I used to obsess with dry fits and did more harm than good. Now I dry fit with clamps to make sure there are no gaps in between the boards. If so, I’ll joint the edges again. I do a lot of glue ups and they come out pretty good. Some tips that really help me along the way:

I do big glue ups in sections for a few reasons:
1 – to make sure I can get enough clamping pressure for a tight joint
2 – I don’t have to rush to avoid missing the “open time” window
3 – so the piece will fit through my planer. I make sure all the sections are ready to plane and send them through the planer one after another so they are the same thickness. I leave the pieces a bit proud in all directions so I can trim all 4 sides square after planing.
4 – I make the final glue up and clean the rest with a hand plane and some 60 grit on an ROS, sanding diagonally against the grain across the entire piece

Get a few GOOD parallel clamps. Yes, they are absurdly expensive, but worth it. Even if you only have 2, it will make a huge difference. The pieces tend to stay put laterally a lot better than they do with bar clamps.

Cauls! I have some nice straight/flat 8/4 pieces of oak in various lengths with packing tape over one face. I put those in between each parallel clamp, then clamp the cauls to the bar of the parallel clamp on the bottom. I do this before I really tighten the parallel clamps. Ideally They are as outboard toward the edges of the piece as I can get them

The rest of the clamps I use are bar clamps. Alternate top and bottom and put screws on alternating sides.

I know glue manufacturers recommend leaving in clamps for 30 minutes to an hour, but I generally leave things clamped and cauled overnight.

Spread your glue evenly somehow. I use acid brushes but everyone has their own method

Once you think you have all the glue sanded off, you don’t. Wipe the board down with some mineral spirits or DNA. I then draw hashes over the glue spots with a pencil and sand the whole thing until the pencil marks are gone.


View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2490 days

#4 posted 11-06-2012 01:15 PM


Can you see how this was done?

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1121 posts in 2438 days

#5 posted 11-06-2012 01:34 PM

since I started using clamping cauls it is a different world. One can make them and they last forever.
Google Mike Henderson. He has a pictoral on how to make and use them.
It took me about an hour yo mke bunch of them.

-- Jerry

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3729 days

#6 posted 11-06-2012 01:43 PM

I use culls as most do to help keep the glue ups flat. What most don’t do is buy them from Harbor Frieght. Yup, when HF has a sale on those really cheap alum. carpenter’s levels I but them, put a strip of non stick tape on them and life is good. The I-beam contruction of them makes them very rigid and the alum. makes them light weight.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View ClayandNancy's profile


520 posts in 3218 days

#7 posted 11-06-2012 01:56 PM

Depends on the project. If the wood is on the expensive side or it’s a project that is going to take a lot of beating, I’d get the ply. But for most projects I’d rather glue up and have a solid wood result. Clamps, Clamps, Clamps never enough

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2314 days

#8 posted 11-06-2012 02:26 PM

I have had good luck with “equal pressure clamps” from Woodcraft or from Rockler

Equal pressure clamps provide pressure on all 4 surfaces and help keep pieces from sliding out of alignment. I will place them about a foot apart for 1” or less in thickness and closer for thicker pieces. If I feel the need for more clamps, I will place Bessey K-Body clamps between and alternate which side the bar goes on. This does not make for a cheap clamping solution but I have had good results.

For short (width) pieces I use 2×2s, for wider pieces I use hardwood cauls. (The cauls are the wooden part that presses against the face of the wood being glued.) Curve the caul by about 1/8” so that pressure will be applied to the center.

As previously mentioned do something with the wood to keep glue from sticking. (It is very bad form to glue the clamp to the project ;-) LumberJoe mentioned packing tape that works. I use shellac or spray finish. Whenever I am spraying something, or wiping on shellac I put a coat on any new cauls I have made.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2257 days

#9 posted 11-06-2012 03:21 PM

i second the equal pressure clamps. use them and like them.

-- Joel

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2996 days

#10 posted 11-06-2012 03:30 PM

Nice photo Russell. Looks great.
I’m doing glue ups as I post this. It’s a 18×39” back and a 22×42 top. So far so good.
How do you get that many pieces together before the glue sets? I have to glue one board at a time and it’s slow going. I’m too slow.

And a 4×8 trailer from HF is on my to buy list.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2490 days

#11 posted 11-06-2012 03:49 PM

cutwork- I like to set them in place and pick each one up and glue the end and attach it in place, then do the next one. I either use a roller, which is always messy, or a flux brush which is a bit slower. I use Titebond II. As long as you can get the glue face against the next board, you have plenty of time, it’s leaving them all glued up till you are finished with the last one that the glue dries out. running a damp rag on the glue-up surface will help the glue spread out to all area’s to be glued.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2313 days

#12 posted 11-06-2012 04:07 PM

Nearly all of my furniture projects require glue-ups.

I start with flat, square, stock, clamp them together similar to closing a book, and match joint them with a jointer plane.

View joshtank's profile


224 posts in 3176 days

#13 posted 11-06-2012 04:38 PM

those HF pittsburgh clamps are great, huh? i got loads of em. only ONE time i had the handle strip off. well worth the $

-- Josh - Jacksonville, FL -

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