Like many woodworking techniques/tricks, what starts out as possibly an
accident or a very modest adjustment, often get exaggerated over the
years because we all know more is better, right?
The cauls I've always seen and used have an almost imperceptible curve
to them. Some of the ones I've seen on the web are ridiculously curved.
They don't have to be curved very much at all.
I've never actually cut a curve in a caul. I just find scrap wood than
has a slight bow in it already... like most scrap wood, right? Why else
do we have a jointer? :-)
I would guestimate that on a 36" wide panel, the bow in a caul need only
be 1/16" higher on edge than in the center. And that might be too much.
A caul is simply keeping the boards flat and stopping them from popping
up from the force of the clamps. You don't need much pressure at all to
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
That sounds about right. Two or three strokes with a plane.
Maybe a tad more if it's a softish wood.
The one time a caul with more curve can be useful is if you're
trying to apply pressure at just one point, as for example in
the middle of a panel where some internal structure is being
glued. In that case you don't care if the ends of the caul
don't contact the work under clamp pressure.
Of course, you can get the same result with a straight caul
by just putting a spacer under it at the point you want the
pressure to be focused.
It depends on whether it is a person to person caul, or what party
line you are on. Whether you are cauling on a walkie talkie, or tin
can and string.
My personal preference is on one of those jail cell thingies with a
camera. You should've seen the look on Aunt Edna's face when I cauled
her from my shower to her's!
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