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Last Updated: , Created: Friday, November 16th, 2001

Glue tips for woodworking.

I have received a number of questions about woodworking and glue so this segment touched on a few basics of gluing boards together.

What is the difference between white and yellow glue?

Not much in terms of strength. The real difference is that yellow glue will set faster and allow you to remove the clamps quicker to use them for something else. The white glue will give you more time to line up difficult assemblies.

You don't really have to plane boards perfectly square to glue them together with perfect joints, which means you can do it efficiently with a hand plane or a hand held power plane. Mark your boards so you know which is going to glue to which and which side is up on each of them. Then fold two boards together around a joint, clamp them both into a vice and plane them at the same time. Whatever error you make in squareness, is identical in both pieces and they perfectly compliment each other, gluing together with a perfectly flat top surface, as you can see in the graphic.

Long boards, like table tops, should not be cut perfectly flat, nor curved like the bottom of a rocking chair. Both of these can cause cracking at the ends of the table top because the end grain at the end of the boards will loose humidity faster than the rest of the board, hence there will be shrinkage all along the end of the table. Ideally they should be just slightly curved so that when the two pieces are put together, they touch on both ends and have a slight gap in the middle. The clamps will pull this gap tight easily, and at the same time put the ends under compression. Now when the ends shrink, the grain will simply relax rather than crack.

Put wax paper over iron clamp rods, especially when gluing up oak because the dripping glue will react with the iron and stain the wood.

Put half your clamps on one side of a glue up panel, and half on the other side, since all clamps tend to buckle a little, which if they are all on one side can cause the assembly to buckle away from the clamps.


Keywords: Woodworking, Wood, Glues, Plane, Techniques

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