First adult ed class questions

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Had the first adult ed class tonight. My project is a little 36" W x 30" H x 10.5" D bookcase (one shelf). The class is in one of the local high schools and some of the equipment is suspect (and I'm not sure on the instructor yet). So I have a few a questions after tonight.
1) Neither of the jointers work. One actually works, but the fence can't be squared. So it won't work well for jointing my 3.5" boards to glue together for the pieces. So what to do? Attempt hand planing, buy my own bench jointer, did I read somewhere that you can use a router somehow to joint boards? I did buy s4s wood (be easy on me, it's my first project). So the instructor thinks I might be able to get away without jointing the boards, since they theoretically already went through a jointer to be s4s and I'm only worried about 36" max length (less opportunity for gaps). Also, I can do all of the combinations from the same board (not having to use one piece from one board and two pieces from another board).
Comments/suggestions?
2) The instructor recommended doweling the 3.5" boards together, to help keep the boards in line with one another. Do I need to do this or would I be okay with just butt edge?
3) The project plans call for screws into the top and on the upper and lower sides. If I used putty or a plug, will this stand out as awful looking in the finished product? Or should I look into replacing the screws with some other types of joinery (rabbets, mortise and tenon, etc)?
Thanks
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You can add a shim to one side of a router fence to joint boards.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?pageA801&category=1,43053,43885,42837&abspage=1&ccurrency=1&SID
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He may be right. How do they fit togheter? I've done it often. Since they are S4S, you can run it though the tablsaw with a good blade to take out some imperfections. Questions is, do they have a good blade at the school?

Depends. If I used dowels, they would be in worse shape than using nothing. I've never been able to get dowels to line up well. Biscuits work much better, IMO.

Save the other joinery for step two, your next project. I use a 3/8" Forstner or brad point bit to make a recess. Then I drill the pilot hole for the screws. After the final assembly, I'll use plugs or dowels in the 3/8" holes, trim, sand, and they look very nice. Be sure to space the holes well so it looks like pro job. Measure, don't guess at the spacing. They don't have to be equal, they have to be consistent. Measure in say, 1" from each side for the first two, then another 2" for the second two, adjust so it looks good. Both ends should be the same.
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Not sure how good the blade is and how square the fence is. I'm not that skilled yet.
If I run the boards through the TS to help square the edges, I'll be trimming some depth off the case. And I'm already at 10'5" deep. I don't think I won't to go any narrower than that.

No biscuit jointer available. I checked.
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Scary if the instructor cannot set up the joiner. That said my college woodshop instructor did not have the joiners set up correctly. At the time I did not know how to set one up correctly. I may still not but the last joner I set up worked well. He also would not anyone use a power sander. He saw too many projects butchered by sanders. I sanded my stuff in the dorm room. No stain either.
Look for Miller dowels. They are a stepped dowel system that looks good in the wood show demos. If you insist on visible fastners then dowels that match the grain will look better than screws with some putty covering them.
Place the board on a flat table and butt the edges up. If you see no gaps anywhere then you could glue them up. I happen to like dowels or biscuits for edge glueing.

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<snip>

You can live without a jointer. If you need to trim up the fit on your glueup, a handplane should do it. A larger one, not a block plane, preferably.

Practice doweling another time. Butt edge gluing will more than suffice.

It's a beginning project. Use the screws. But see if you can find a plug cutter, such as the Veritas Snug Plug cutter. I bought mine at a local Woodcraft. My good local hardware store has them too, but yours may not. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page2320&category=1,180,42288&ccur rency=2&SID= (watch the wrap)
You want to get really fancy, get the trim head screws...
The thing to remember here, Corey, is that it's a peanut butter sandwhich, not dinner at a 4 star hotel. That may come later.
Enjoy!
Patriarch
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"patriarch snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcastDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message

So if I want to go the route of screws, cutting out some space with a forstner or brad point, the best option would be to cut my own plugs/dowels from the same wood? I never even thought of making my own plugs - figured you had to buy them.
Lots to still learn...
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Cut them from some of your scrap, align the grain, be careful with the glue, and the plugs almost disappear.
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I have heard, not tried this when a Jointer is not perfectly square. You joint one edge, finished side out, the next, finished side in. The slight angle will be reversed on the adjoining board and everything lines up. From David Marks (?) on TV I think. The guy with the HUGE jointer.

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Brikp wrote:

technique of putting two boards together and using a hand plane to joint the edge. It is not too critical that the edges be 90 degrees to the face but the angles of the two edges should be complementary. The jointer will give you a straighter edge than a block plane will (unless the jointer is really screwed up). The problem with the edges being slightly off angle is that glue is pretty slippery when first applied and the two boards will tend to slide in opposite directions when you clamp them. Dowels or biscuits will help prevent this.
TWS
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The problem with the jointer is that the fence is broken and someone tried rigging it with some C-clamps to get is close. So the fence is square at one end, and a little over 90 degrees at the other (tilts away from the bed/blades). It is not the same degree off the entire length.
The instructor says the blades look good though. And being off by a small amount is probably fine for the high school kids building houses.
I think I understand the concept of what you describe. But would this still work with the fence being off as I descrbed it?

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I think not, because you'd likely get a varying angle along the board.
If it's just the fence that's a problem, tho, and all you want to do is edge joint (no face jointing), just find something that's square and clamp it to the bed to use as a fence (with a little notch to clear the cutterhead).
John
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You'll have to try the boards to find out if you need to do anything. If you have no gaps when they're clamped up with moderate pressure, then you're in luck. If there's a gap, then you'll have to do something about it - either hand plane them, or use the router (hold the two boards seperated by slightly less than the router bit diameter, and run the router between them).

Dowels help if one of the boards is slightly bowed and you're trying to persuade it into line with the other, or if the edge of the board isn't square (in which case one board will slip up and the other down as the clamps are tightened). If your boards are square & straight, you don't need dowels.

Putty will look awful. If you find the screws offensive, you could set them in a counterbore & plug them (common in nautical work), or you could replace them with dowels, or, since you have a router, use dadoes & glue to join everything. Bear in mind too that you could use brass screws, a symmetric row of neatly countersunk brass screw heads can be quite attractive (fasten everything with steel screws first, they'll cut threads into the wood which will allow you to drive the brass screws without risk of breaking them).
John
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A slick trick if you are not aginst use of metal - drive some small nails half way into the edge of one board, every 6-10 inches or so, then cut the heads off. When you bring the boards together with clamps, there should be no slippage. I second the plug cutting technique. If you are careful to match the grain, they're hard to detect. A good plug cutter cuts a slightly tapered plug, ensuring a tight fit. A dowel would leave end grain showing, even using the same type wood, this will be darker and will finish/stain darker yet. Dowels are best used where the whole dowel is hidden.
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I pulled some of the boards together with a little clamp pressure (no glue yet) and I can see a sliver of daylight in a couple of cracks. I actually have to hold the boards at a certain angle with the backlight to see the slivers - it doesn't appear to be visible to the naked eye.
Does this sound good enough or should I continue searching for a jointer solution?
One other question while I'm thinking about it - how far apart should clamps be on a 30" - 40" glue up?
Thanks
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I pulled some of the boards together with a little clamp pressure (no glue yet) and I can see a sliver of daylight in a couple of cracks. I actually have to hold the boards at a certain angle with the backlight to see the slivers - it doesn't appear to be visible to the naked eye.
Does this sound good enough or should I continue searching for a jointer solution?
One other question while I'm thinking about it - how far apart should clamps be on a 30" - 40" glue up?
Thanks
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I'd run the board down the fence of the tablesaw and just shave the edge by half the blade width and try it again.
I'd use four clamps. You can never have enough clamps.
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Will it matter if both edges aren't flat - to where the edge I have up against the fence isn't flat? Will this TS cut still cut it pretty flat?
Thanks
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Considering how close it is already, you should be OK. I've done that many times as I don't have a jointer. So far, it has worked every time. If you are talking 1/4" bows, that would be a whole other set of circumstances.
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