I found two three foot long, fourteen inch wide table inserts
constructed of (one and three quarter inch) thick Maple strips (each
"strip" actually several short pieces finger-jointed into a longer
three-inch wide board) that appear to have been glued together to form
the nice finished pieces I found (in someone's trash!).
I would like to put the two pieces together to form a larger surface -
maybe using a spline running most of the length. I am concerned about
how to best keep/join both pieces so that the finished piece is all in
the same plane across its face.
I thought the spline the best approach and, now, seek advice on the
best choice for an adhesive and possibly clamping ideas - to keep
things square and such. I have HFT Bar Clamps - nothing fancy "guys."
I thought to get one of those SLOT CUTTER bits for my PC router and
cut a slot along each insert - albeit stopping an inch from each end.
Figured using the same depth setting on the PC router (for each piece)
would assure the surfaces lined up once the spline was glued in place.
Any thoughts from those who've been there and done this?
An easy way...
1. Drill, for example, 1/4" holes in one of the edges to be joined and stick
in 1/4" steel dowels or threaded rod.
2. Drill roughly matching oversize holes (1/2 or 3/8 eg) in the other
3. Mix up some epoxy and thicken it to peanut butter consistency
4. Spread on surfaces and fill empty holes
5. Join pieces and adjust positions as needed
6. Clamp lightly - just enough to hold things together well
7. Clean up as much of any squeeze out as you can. Vinegar works well.
NOTE: you don't really need the holes and steel dowels, just a mind easer
for you :)
When I build large butcher block glue ups fopr tabel tops, kitchen
islands, etc. I usually make them up in 8-10" wide sections. Then I
glue up the sections all at once. No splines, no dowels, nuttin.
I just joint the edges on a jointer and test fit the pieces on top of
a flat table to be sure I have good straight joining surfaces. The I
set 2x4's on the table, and lay the pieces up on top of the 2x
blocking with regular wood glue (TB2 waterproof) and clamp them
lightly. Then I clamp hardwood cauls, just 2 x 3/4 x width of glue-up
across the glue-up every foot or so to pull it all into one plane
using c-clamps or hand-screws or short parallel clamps, etc. Then
finish tighting the main clamps. Haviing the piece raised up by the
2x4's gives me 3 1/2" clearance to have cauls on the under side and
lets me alternate the main clamps above and below the piece to
equalize any pull to one side or the other.
1. Us painters tape on the cauls and 2x's to keep them from gluing to
the squeeze out. A light belt sanding (very light) to even up the
joints, then sand it out nicely.
When I was doing this alot I had access to a nice wide belt sander,
which made it a dream but even then sometimes my final glue up was
wider than the belt so I had to hand finish it.
I pretty much always use slow set epoxy for my butcher blocks - it's
fully waterproof and once spread thin on the parts you have loads of
time to get them aligned and clamped as needed. As for alignment, I
just use cauls - no spline, no dowels, no nuttin', as someone else
said. In your case a clamp on each end holding them in alignment
should be good enough unless the parts are warped.
Spline will do the face alignment, but you still have to flatten both
surfaces and get 'em exactly 90 degrees. Clamping the two slabs
face-to-face and running 'em through a jointer is one way,
making a careful rip cut on your table saw is another.
Fastening them side-by-side and running the kerf with a straight
router bit (or even a Skilsaw) is a third.
The classic face-alignment method (dowels) requires a jig and lots of
patience, but is suitable for floppy boards. Your planks might be
stiff enough to just apply a C-clamp to align both ends, without any
spline or dowels.
Best spline practice (for shear strength) is to make 'em with the
cross to the planks, in multiple short spline pieces. A parallel-
spline could conceivably split with the clamp forces applied.
I'd probably just use thin plywood for a spline... it's easier and
The spline slot can be done easily enough on a table saw with multiple
T88 from System 3 is a great and commonly used structural epoxy. You
can get different curing speeds. Widely available even such p;laces as
woodcraft or rockler. A joy to work with, super hold, sands well, etc.
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