Do the glue-up jitters ever go away?

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OK. I wasn't in a panic this time, so I guess I've made progress over the last few projects, but I still get agitated anytime I start applying glue. Is everything lined up? Square? Flat? Enough glue? Too much? Can I get the last piece in place before the glue starts to make it hard to reposition the first one? Too soon to remove the squeeze-out? Too late?
Seriously; Can I look forward to ever approaching a glue-up without trepidation? Is it just another "day at the office" for some of you old hands? Or does everyone get that "point of no return" feeling?
For better or worse, one of my "tops" is finally assembled:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/15694253372/in/set-72157644207411490/
Use the "right-arrow" to scroll.
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For me, it's not the gluing, but making sure all clamps are ready and/or in place. Usually, a complete dry fitting run-through eliminates those worries.
Sonny
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On Sunday, November 2, 2014 1:15:09 PM UTC-5, Sonny wrote:

ries.

I did that, with biscuits and clamps. I labeled all of the corners too, so I could put the pieces back the same way. And yes, it helped. In this case the issue was the four miters. I was afraid that if the first side was the slightest bit off the corner, laterally, that the glue might make it diffic ult to adjust by the time I got the other pieces on. It's hard to see if a mitered piece meets the square corner exactly.
In the end, it came out OK. But I'm sure I'll worry about the second one ju st as much. :)
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On 11/2/2014 1:03 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

Depending on the size and number of pieces. Bigger more complex always get me nervous.
At some point in a bigger layup, I always get nervous about having to get the assembly clamped now, before I can't pull it together. So I always do an interim clamp up. Even for a few minutes .... if possible. I always say I won't but I always get nervous. Glue sets up pretty fast.
For projects that I can't clamp interim I sweat it. No for me it has never gotten real easy. But I just go ahead and do it. I reason, I have the skills to correct whatever F up I do. I have done some real doosies. I marked a butcher block top with grain direction for planing so that they all had the grain in the same orientation, but in the heat of battle I flipped a few and didn't notice.
Or one time I didn't notice that the raised panel door was not squared , or the time the cabinet was fine during dry run and not during glue up.
Shit happens, how you correct the problems is more the game at that point.
I am better these days, but every once in a while I still get a HOW THE F did I DO THAT moment.
But when it comes our right and you have no problems it's a great feeling of relief.. And over time you'll get better and better. But you'll still sweat it.
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Jeff

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On 11/2/2014 12:03 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

I hardly give it a second thought anymore. As you become more experienced you learn to move more efficiently. As you mentioned, alignment has a lot to do with glue up. As you learn to use more structural joints the glue up become easier as you can assemble with out clamps. I often dry fit with out glue and you would never know that there is nothing but the joinery holding everything together. When the joints naturally hold thing in alignment you can often wait until the last step to apply clamps.
And adding a bit more to using groves, rabbits, and dado's I seldom use a square to align anything. Cut correctly most everything will self align. I will check with a square "sometimes" but at that point it is too late to correct.

Yeah!!!!!!!
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On Sunday, November 2, 2014 2:54:33 PM UTC-5, Leon wrote:

Yeah, that's the ticket I guess. I have paid more attention to aligning the tools for square cuts lately and it has helped. But I've still got a way to go.
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On 11/2/2014 8:28 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

You are on the right track Greg.
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On 11/2/2014 2:54 PM, Leon wrote:

I really don't worry about it much any more. One of my early projects, before I really knew any better, was a 5-shelf bookcase which is assembled using nothing but 30 highly-visible wedged through tenons. I managed to survive that with no real problems and I've been pretty calm since then.
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I don't know what you are so worried about, another six months and you'll be giving Leon a run for his money :)
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On 11/2/2014 3:01 PM, dadiOH wrote:

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On Sunday, November 2, 2014 5:54:06 PM UTC-5, Leon wrote:

At my pace - and with my schedule - I'll be happy to finish a project in six months. But thanks for the encouragement.
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On 11/2/2014 8:00 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

have nothing but time for woodworking.
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wrote:

I don't know about you guys but I have more of an issue with staining and finishing after the glue-up. What I have started to do on my most recent projects is to stain and finish the pieces first and then glue them up after that. Obviously I do the gluing for all panels before staining and finishing.
I use painters tape to insure there is no stain or finish on the surfaces that will be glued and when doing the glue-up I use painters tape to insure if there is squeeze out it ends up on the tape not on the finished surface. This way all surfaces have not too much, not too little, but just the right amount of stain and finish even in tight corners. Even Goldilocks would be happy.
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On 11/2/2014 10:20 PM, Gordon Shumway wrote:> On Sun, 02 Nov 2014
> > I don't know about you guys but I have more of an issue with staining > and finishing after the glue-up.
Don't worry. I've got those too, especially on this project, which I plan to stain.
What I have started to do on my most > recent projects is to stain and finish the pieces first and then glue > them up after that. Obviously I do the gluing for all panels before > staining and finishing.
I do that too, usually. It helps temper my fear of squeeze-out, for one thing. I think it makes the corners look neater too: no build-up of finish. And it's just easier; I can apply finish to flat pieces rather than contorting myself to get to the inside surfaces.
Having said that, you do need to find ways to prop up your pieces so they won't touch anything while you're finishing them. If the piece was assembled, it would stand up on its own. I've taken to driving finish nails into the ends of shelves, like this:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/11165608983/in/set-72157637538534446/lightbox/
That lets me suspend the pieces slightly off the work surface. I can apply the finish to one side and then flip them over to do the other. Although I have of late switched to finishes that don't pick up as much dust, my habit is to do the more visible side first, so it dries facing down. Quick tip: The next time I do this, I'll use screws instead. It's a pain to remove the nails.
Here's a picture of how I managed - using nails, painter's points and a couple of different "levels" - to array all of the parts for (one-half of) a large set of bookcases:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/8627521373/in/set-72157632376881493/lightbox/
Every method seems to have its costs though. In this case I had to mask off the area of the shelves that would fit into the dadoes. It makes really neat corners though, so I think it was worth it. > > I use painters tape to insure there is no stain or finish on the > surfaces that will be glued and when doing the glue-up I use painters > tape to insure if there is squeeze out it ends up on the tape not on > the finished surface.
I don't worry about squeeze-out on finished surfaces. That's half the reason I prefinish the pieces; the glue doesn't adhere well to the finish, making it easy to remove. And, of course, it can't prevent stain from coloring the wood if the gluing is done afterward.
This way all surfaces have not too much, not too > little, but just the right amount of stain and finish even in tight > corners. Even Goldilocks would be happy.
On my current slow-motion project, I have pre-assembled (and glued) the "ladders" that make up the sides:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/14345718196/in/set-72157644207411490/lightbox/
That violates my usual practice, but I just couldn't bear the idea of staining and applying several coats of finish to 40 loose "rung" pieces. We'll see if that turns out to have been a mistake.
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On 11/3/2014 5:51 AM, Greg Guarino wrote:

One of the reasons that I use gel stains and mostly gel varnishes is that dust is not really an issue. I varnish one side of the panel, flip it over on the fresh varnished surface and apply to the opposite side. Then I prop the pieces up against something so that air circulation helps to cure the varnish faster. I don't worry much about anything touching anything. Sounds too good to be true, right? ;~)
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On 11/3/2014 2:45 PM, Leon wrote:

My very thought. You apply the gel varnish to one side, presumably wipe off the excess and then "buff" as a third step (if I remember correctly) then turn it over on the (clean, I assume) bench and do the other side? I ask this because I believe I will use gel varnish on this project. I made some test pieces and was pleased with the finish. But it's hard to imagine letting any finish rest on a surface before it's dry. Just how smooth is your bench anyway?
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On 11/3/2014 4:20 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!!! With Old Masters Gel Varnish you apply, wipe off excess while it is still easy to wipe off, and then immediately buff. This will depend on temp and humidity but typically leaving it on longer does not increase penetration. Wiping off immediately is easier than if it starts to set up at all and that can happen in less than a minute minute. Experiment on a scrap. With a stain let it dry over night before applying another coat if you want darker or before applying varnish.
IIRC the General Finishes stains is a similar approach but I don't recall having to do the third step, buff.
I try to use a dustless surface but I don't fret about that too much, just hit it with a brush or blow it off with compressed air. Nothing is going to stick that you wont see. Since these products go on and get rubbed out relatively thin there is not much chance for anything to get stuck to the surface. Take care,,,, but typically you can't screw this up. Having said that I don't leave the stained/varnished surface laying on a surface longer than the time it takes to do the other side. After I am done with the piece I stand it on edge to provide air circulation to both sides.
This bed post was stained all the way around, one side after the next. I simply flipped to expose a new side and applied stained and wiped off. I repeated this for each side immediately.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/lcb11211/14936428522/
My work bench is what ever surface is available. Typically a large piece of plywood that I usually assemble on. It is NOT really smooth any more but does not scratch the wood.
You have probably seen this but here it is again. The video starts with a surface that I had immediately finished applying gel varnish to. You see me flip it and begin the opposite side. You will also notice that I don't worry too much about touching the surface, just buff it again anywhere you touch it.
You also see my typical work surface for applying stain or varnish.
KEEP IN MIND, these gel products, "as Nailshooter has described" produce an "adult" finish. they are not thick and don't protect as well as some other products that are sprayed or brunched on more heavily. BUT... I have been using gel varnishes and stains almost exclusively since about 1990. I have not yet had issue with the finish not being good enough.
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On 11/3/2014 5:19 PM, Leon wrote:

Let me add this. It is not unusual for the surface to not be as smooth as a baby's butt at any stage. I take care of this after the last coat of varnish. I wrap a piece of printer paper around a small block of wood and relatively lightly rub down the entire surface. This polishes out the small nibs that may have appeared. This tends to be more of an issue when working with plywoods versus solid hardwoods. I rarely have to do this with solid wood.
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On Monday, November 3, 2014 5:51:49 AM UTC-6, Greg Guarino wrote:

Good stuff, Greg. One thing you learn as a finisher for money is that when someone sees a run.sag, or inconsistent coloring they gladly remark, "well Hell, I could have done that". The easiest way to get a completely consis tent finish on all parts with no problems in hard to reach places or on com plicated shapes is to prefinish.
When I finish drawers, if I can't find prefinished box parts, I always asse mble the boxes and spray them out. Try this trick for the faces: find out and locate the coverage of the perimeter edge of the box on the back of the drawer face. Put a small eye hook that has been opened up a bit to allow a wire or heavy string (like paracord) to go inside. After installing the hook, finish enough of the back side of the drawer around the perimeter mak ing sure that you have finish applied so that the drawer box will cover all of the unfinished perimeter. Flip this drawer face over, then put the dra wer face's unfinished area on a couple of blocks and you can easily finish the faces. The hook? String a line in the shop or garage and simply hang up the faces as you finish them. You can finish all your drawer faces and hang them up like socks while taking just a little more time and very littl e shop space. Hanging them up works when spraying or brushing. The advant age of having your work right in front of you to finish is obvious.
I saw this in a production cabinet shop years ago. When spray finishing a kitchen full of cabinet doors, you can wind up with a bunch of them. I dri ll a hole in the top of the top doors, and the bottom of the bottom doors a nd and simply hang them up to spray. If it is a long oil, I take them insi de a garage and hang them on a temporary "clothes line" to dry and apply an other coat at needed. Using heavy hooks, I don't have to touch the doors a nd can spray both sides at once. Imagine spraying out a kitchen full of ca binet doors on both ides in 30- 45 minutes. When I have a long line to wor k from and a good helper, it takes me longer to mix the finish and clean th e gun than it does to spray out 30 doors.
And for the guys that are wanting to get some speed up when finishing or re finishing big door like a solid entryway door, I usually do this way. I di g out some old lag screws or 20d nails, and drill two holes in the top and bottom, about 3 inches from the edges. I drive in the screws or nails and leave about 4 inches sticking out. I can use the nails to suspend the door over a couple of saw horses with the nails holding it up, no edges touchin g. Finish one side, no edges. Flip the door over, then finish the face, th e edges and the top and bottom. This is pretty handy method when you have to take some time so finish out multi panel doors that need a lot of attent ion if you have to brush. It is an breeze to spray a big door this way whe n the door is down flat and you can put a light on it. Makes a difficult p attern (say a 9, 12, or 15 panel/lite door a breeze.
Keep on going, Greg. Looks like you're starting to feel your stride!
Robert
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On 11/6/2014 1:22 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

In may case, "Hell, I *have* done that". :)
But not so much lately. I think I discovered finishing the parts pre-assembly here on the wrec, looking at someone's project photos. Cool secret, that. I think I may even have *sanded* after assembly on my very earliest projects, years ago.
Funny thing: Now I look at furniture I like and wonder "*Could* I build that?". An further, I sometimes see attractive looking furniture *designs*, but made poorly and think, "I could build something like that, but better".
Yes, the slippery slope has been reached. :)
> The easiest way

I have in fact already attached eyescrews to some of the assemblies (the "ladders"), and hooks to the bottom of a ceiling-mounted wood storage rack.

The one time I made panel doors - and I don't (yet) do any spraying - I mounted hooks on the backs of the doors where the euro hinge holes would eventually be drilled. I'd apply finish to the backs first, avoiding the non-hinged edge. Then I flipped the doors over and the hooks kept the backs from touching the bench, except at that edge. I applied finish to the fronts, hung the doors up, and hit the non-hinged edges last.
Why, I even have a photo: :)
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gdguarino/6455087053/in/set-72157627751790027/lightbox/
If

As I mentioned, no spraying for me, yet anyway.

It's a slow stride, but yes, I'm making progress. Thanks.
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