Some of you may remember that I asked for advice on how to glue up a set
of CD shelves. There were two problems: the sheer number of shelves in
dado joints (13) and the inexperience of the worker (me).
I got quite a few tips, but pigheaded as I am, I didn't use many of them.
Some people recommended glue with a longer set-up time. An excellent
idea, but when I finally had time to do the work, I used what was at hand.
Some recommended gluing up three or four shelves only, and getting it
all square. The rest could be glued in on another day. This sounded
attractive at first, but I worried about sliding in the rest of the
shelves; possibly needing to trim or even sand them a little. With my
time constraints, I also worried that there might be weeks in-between
the steps; adding one more delays the project.
Here's what I ended up doing:
I set up a hollow-core door as an assembly table. (Thanks Craigslist). I
planned to assembly the project laying face-down. So my first concern
was to set up one side of the unit and keep it plumb and straight while
I inserted the shelves into the dadoes.
Being a novice, I wasn't sure how quickly I could get all of the parts
together, and until then I couldn't clamp anything together. I wanted to
make sure that the shelves and the first side met at a right angle.
I used C-Clamps to attach an extruded aluminum straight-edge along one
side. I stood the first side up against the straight-edge. I put in the
top and bottom shelves (dry) and squared them up with a framing square.
Then I clamped pieces of 1x3 scrap against the outer faces of those two
shelves, so during the actual glue-up I wouldn't have to worry about
getting them square again. I also clamped in some homemade clamping
squares to keep the side piece plumb.
Confused yet? Of course you are. Here's a photo:
If you use the right arrow several times, you'll scroll through the rest
of the process.
I removed the side from the setup and laid it flat to apply glue to the
dadoes. Then I stood it back up, clamped it in and started inserting the
Here I should add that during the dry assembly I had traced pencil lines
onto the work surface so I could get the shelves pretty well lined up to
receive the second side. I checks that all of the shelves were in their
lines and applied glue into the dadoes of the second side.
It was surprisingly quick and painless to line up all the shelves into
the dadoes. I got 4 in and lightly clamped one end, then got the next
few in, applied another light clamp and continued until all the joints
I tightened those few clamps a little harder. As I was assembling the
unit face-down on the work surface, I couldn't apply clamps to the
"bottom" (actually the front) of each shelf. So I used some blocks,
wedges and long piece of ply scrap to apply pressure.
Finally I applied my motley assortment of clamps, one for each shelf. It
looks like a Foosball table.