Friday, September 3, 2010

How Many Clamps does it take ...........?

     The usual answer to that is "one more than what you have"!  I was so lucky and blessed to have these clamps donated to me from Bob, I mean, they were exactly what I needed complete the laminations for the bar stools.  Wonderful, heavy duty clamps unlike the majority of what you find these days that flex, slip, and just don't grip.  Most of my own clamps are those that I've picked up through the years from school shops that have gone by the wayside as well as long established woodworking shops that have had to close.  They may weigh a ton but boy do they do the job.  Here's what I'm talking about:

Seat Back Lamination Jig
The jig took about 10 hours total to make but works well, I've got my fingers crossed that my client will decide to have me do 4 more chairs and a dining table for him as well.  I just so happen to have enough Chakte Kok and Maple pieces milled down for 5 more backs like this.
     Each back consists of 4 pieces, in spite of the swollen knee and foot I was able to stand for the time it took to glue them up early this week when the weather was so cool in the morning.  Temperature makes a difference in how much open time you have with the Plastic Resorcinol Glue.  The process is to use a small roller, apply glue to both sides of each piece (except for the front/back), sandwich them together, wrap them in wax paper, and stick them into the form.  The biggest improvement on this jig is being able to get clamping pressure on the bottom of it.  This was accomplished with the holes in the male portion and the deep F-clamps.  Once the pieces are in the form I lay the 2 bar clamps across the top and start to bring them together.  Under the F-clamp in the center is a center line I use to keep things lined up.  I've found that it's best to start from the center and then work out to the outsides.  They all need to be tight but you have to keep in mind that they also slide against each other as they're forced into the curvature.  Once everything is tightened in sequence I let it dry at least 24 hours, no sense rushing it.
     Both of the backs are done and one edge has been scraped of glue and hand planed square.  My next step is to bring the other side parallel on the tablesaw but I'm afraid I don't have the stability in my leg yet to operate the saw safely.  Sure am glad my client hasn't put a deadline on this project.  Bending wood is a cool process.  As you can tell though, it's not a quick and easy one, hey; if it was easy everybody would do it!

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