Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Out of joint

Remember when this Blog was listing serendipity and nothing seemed to go wrong? Ah, fond and distant memories...

I broke out the BUPP and set to work. Now as a rule jointing edges is one of the few - very few - things I feel I can really do. A cambered plane blade, square and straight edge and I can joint edges 'til the cows come home. But sometimes you get one of those days.

Today was one of those days.

With happy heart I started off and all was square and straight. Then, following JB's advice, I checked with winding sticks. Removed any twist, no trouble. Except then the edge was no longer square. Square up the edge and then find it's no longer straight. Remove the bump, and guess what? Twisted again. Aaaarghhhhh... I must have been chasing my tail for an hour and a half - switching between one edge and another in my frustration, which is fatal in itself. I tried to persuade myself at various points "this'll do", but it wouldn't and I knew it.

Usually I'd take the hint and leave it for the day, but I had a plan B. Can you spot what it was, kiddies? Look carefully at the picture. Just to the right of the boards. See it? Yep, the jointer and fence saved my sorry ass. I'd have kept this quiet if I had any sense, but I share my humiliation in the hopes that someone out there might benefit. Ignore the "stablizers" tag and "just for newbies" jibes; this gizmo might just save your bacon, even if you can joint edges freehand.

So time for a dry run. Naturally the clamp bars I had ready were too short, so I dug out some from the pile that came free with some secondhand Record clamp heads I bought a few years ago. They're all covered in glue and such, so I knocked off the worst and ran 'em through the P/T just to clean up the bearing surfaces. They came out the other side with no dramas, you'll be pleased to hear... A coat of wax to resist the glue from now on and we're ready to go.

Except I got cold feet about the polyurathane glue I was going to use; would the wax really do the job? I broke out the plastic sheeting and did the job properly. It's been a few years since I used PU; last time was for the "Millenium" oak front gate and I don't recall enjoying the experience that much. I was in two minds about using it now; there seems to be divided opinion on its suitability. Oh well, this is what prototypes are for... I debated long about whether to add dowels or not and decided not. If the glue line failed the dowels wouldn't hold it anyway, and I can't stand the blessed things. 'Course I'd forgotten PU is a slippery customer and I could really have done with the registering effect they'd have given. Lesson learnt.

I carefully read the instructions, got my damp cloth ready, turned off the fan heater 'cos the noise was distracting and set to work.

And promptly forgot to use the damp cloth on the edges to help activate the glue.


Hopefully it'll manage without; certainly things foamed where they should have, so I'm crossing everything in expectation. It all works flippin' fast, so I've already had a little pick at the excess. Funny
stuff, ain't it? Probably I could have taken it out of the clamps and bashed it against something to make sure the joints really have stuck - which I fully intend to do - but old habits of leaving stuff overnight die hard. Chairs are no place to take risks with joints...

Having had enough of all that and needing some therapy, I chucked the #51 in the citric acid for a bath overnight and cleaned up the #63 by hand. Naturally a little playtime to check it works was essential... Cute little devil. As you can see, not a lot of japanning left, but I rather like the bare metal. Beats the thick coatings slopped on the modern shaves any day.


  1. Mike Wenzloff (MikeW)2/01/2006 08:47:00 pm

    Glued up! Congrats.

    And I really like those Record clamp heads--having been a recipient of a UK Workshop member's generosity for some.

    Glad the worst is past [g].

    btw, typically wood has enough moisture to fully activate the poly glue, and moisture also migrates from the atmosphere. Wetting the surfaces speeds the process. So I think your glue up is fine.

    Take care, Mike
    who is awaiting the next installment of Alf's Most Excellent Adventure with great anticipation...

  2. Mike, yep, I was counting on the wood being moist enough. But you know how it is when you're using a glue or finish you're not familiar with - you like to follow the instructions. Well maybe blokes don't... ;~)

    Ah, now actually those aren't Record clamp heads but Paramo ones. Slightly different in that the Paramos have an angled slot for the holding bolt, so the heads bed down on the bar as you tighten them up. A superior design IMO, and thus no longer made. Grrr.


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