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Can a bad glue-up be saved?

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Forum topic by Bret posted 05-26-2009 03:11 AM 1100 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bret

162 posts in 2954 days


05-26-2009 03:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question oak joining arts and crafts drill-driver jointer

Well, I royally screwed up one of the sides for a quilt rack I’m building. It’s my first real woodworking project, so I’m trying not to beat myself up too much. Here’s what happened:

I had the boards (two) jointed, and half of a mortise cut into each. They’re about 30” long, so I used five dowels to join the boards together. I drilled out both boards using a doweling jig and put 3/8” dowels into these 3/4” boards.

I drilled the holes about 1/8” longer than half the length of the dowels, so about 1 1/8”. Marked the drill bit with tape to be sure of the depth. I glued the dowels into the first board, tapping them in with a dead blow mallet and measuring to be sure they were below the 1 1/8” mark. All of them were.

I then spread glue on the face of that board and put a dollop on the tops of each dowel and again used my dead blow mallet to coax the boards together. They wouldn’t quite fit, but I figured I could force them together in my pipe clamps. It looked like this was working—the boards were pretty tight, I could see the line where they joined, but they weren’t under so much pressure that they were bowing.

When I took them out of the clamps an hour or two later, I realized that I had a hair’s width gap between the boards near the middle. I had thought it was just where one was higher than the other and I could sand it down, but this is a bigger whoops than that. It’s not huge, but I can see daylight through it when I look hard.

Is there any way to salvage this? Rip the boards apart, re-joint, re-dowel and try again? Or am I better off to sand it down and try to fill the crack (it really is small, but noticeable) with some kind of filler?

Thanks!

-- Woodworking is easy as 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...


12 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3678 days


#1 posted 05-26-2009 03:30 AM

It depends on the use of the finished panel, but, in general, I would recommend ripping it apart and starting over.

Were you using fluted dowels to allow the glue to escape? If you’re sure your holes were deep enough, it sounds like the hydraulic pressure of the glue in the holes was preventing the boards from coming together completely.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

714 posts in 3078 days


#2 posted 05-26-2009 03:33 AM

Yeah….what Charlie said. Don’t try to drill out the dowels to use the same holes, that never works.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115201 posts in 3036 days


#3 posted 05-26-2009 03:34 AM

usually it’s best to saw apart the joints and re glue, it’s a little hard to say without seeing the project.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Bret's profile

Bret

162 posts in 2954 days


#4 posted 05-26-2009 03:41 AM

The dowels are spirally fluted (from Woodcraft) and I’m surprised they didn’t go deep enough.

I’ll try to get some photos tomorrow before I actually cut this apart again. Would you use a table saw, or try to get something with a thinner kerf, like a pull saw to do the job?

-- Woodworking is easy as 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...

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patron

13533 posts in 2800 days


#5 posted 05-26-2009 06:26 AM

table saw and rejoin but also glue on wood edges .
if you have clamp use them too .
the other side board can be made norower to be same as new width of problem one .
.
good job asking for help . thanks .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Russel's profile

Russel

2199 posts in 3398 days


#6 posted 05-26-2009 12:15 PM

Have you considered running a groove along the joint and using a different type of wood as an inlay? My guess is that your current assembly has sufficient strength, but with an unexpected gap. I might fill that gap and make it look like I planned it that way.

-- Working at Woodworking http://www.VillageLaneFurniture.com

View Bret's profile

Bret

162 posts in 2954 days


#7 posted 05-26-2009 01:35 PM

Ooooh, I like the inlay idea—I had been toying with that plan for the third and final stand, the one I’m building for my wife. Kind of make it more special than the other two.

Fortunately, this stand is one of three, and I’ve got a number of spare parts pre-milled and ready to go in case of problems. So I may end up setting this piece aside for a while and use another to complete this first stand.

Inlays. Brilliant. :-)

-- Woodworking is easy as 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3678 days


#8 posted 05-26-2009 02:46 PM

I had actually though about that (inlay), but didn’t recommend it becuase I was thinking that if your joint does not meet up to begin with, it’s not going to be very strong. However, since you’re making a quilt rack, we’re not talking about a lot of stress, so you should be fine. Good catch, Russel.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 3213 days


#9 posted 05-26-2009 03:21 PM

How much extra width do you have on the panel? If you have plenty, just rip it on the TS with a thin kerf blade and then joint and re-glue/dowel.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Russel's profile

Russel

2199 posts in 3398 days


#10 posted 05-26-2009 11:05 PM

Bret, I’ll be looking forward to the finished product. A few LumberJocks here have said that there are no mistakes in woodworking, only design modifications. I live by that motto.

-- Working at Woodworking http://www.VillageLaneFurniture.com

View Bret's profile

Bret

162 posts in 2954 days


#11 posted 06-13-2009 07:28 PM

I’ve made some test cuts in other wood with a 1/8” router bit and know I’ve got the depth right to seat the inlay pieces I picked up from Woodcraft (1/32” thick, 1/8” wide, 36” long) and I’ve got a straightedge clamped to the piece at the right spot to get the groove to run right along the gap evenly.

The inlay I’ve got is dyed black. I went simple on this one since I haven’t done this before and didn’t want to waste some expensive inlay strips (or make my own…yet). When it comes time to finish, is it best to finish the piece first, then add the inlay, or will the wiping varnish I’m going to be using affect the inlay at all? What about if I’m using something lighter? Does the plan change at all?

Thanks!

-- Woodworking is easy as 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510...

View Karson's profile

Karson

35034 posts in 3860 days


#12 posted 06-13-2009 07:40 PM

Inlay, sand flush I would guess and finish like normal. But I’d put an inlay about 1/8” deep, Almost to the dowels to give greater strength to the joint. a 1/32” piece of wood would not give very much strength to the boards flexing.

I’d make my own strip, use a wide piece of contrasting wood like maple, cherry etc and cut a 1/8” strip or the width of your saw blade, with the board on its end. Cut it about 1/4” deep. Then lay the board on the side and cut it wider than your grove is deep. Make sure that the inlay piece is on the outside of the blade and not trapped between the blade and the fence.

That way after you glue it in you can hand plane and sand down to the surface of your original pieces.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

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