Friday, February 8, 2013

Put some glue on that!

Because I had the wood cut roughly to size when I purchased it, I did not need to make any additional cuts before making the bench top and legs. From the earlier sketch, you can see that I plan to make the top by gluing two 3/4" pieces of plywood together face-to-face to make a 1-1/2" thick top overall, which should be very sturdy in the end. Although it is not obvious from the sketch, I will be using a similar method to make the legs, except I will be gluing two 3' long 2x4's together face-to-face, which will result in a very sturdy 3-1/2"x3" leg (although called 2x4's by name, they are actually 1-1/2"x3-1/2" in reality).

Bench top glue-up: spreading the glue
I began by laying the two pieces of the bench top side-by-side on the wooden pallet as shown to the right. I then poured a healthy amount of wood glue on both surfaces. I forgot to buy a spreader for the glue, so I am using some cardboard I found lying around (Actually, you can see in the second picture the pallet disappeared. This is because I was going to attempt to clamp these board together, and the pallet would have gotten in my way. You will soon see that I abandoned this idea in the end).

The type of glue I used was something called Gorilla Wood Glue (not to be confused with Gorilla Glue), which was one of the less expensive glues available at Home Depot. I bought a ~500 mL bottle, and used about 80% of it on this glue-up, which I didn't expect.

Bench top glue-up: all put together
Once the glue was spread evenly, I placed the pieces of plywood together. I was thinking about clamping them together, which would require me to find a way to also add pressure to the middle of the piece. I tried various ideas, but the lack of a workbench and an insufficient number of clamps (I don't think there are any woodworkers who would claim to have a sufficient number of clamps) made this very difficult. In the end, I decided to simply use screws as clamps. I was not too worried about this decision since aesthetics are not important here. The final glue-up is shown to the left.

Gluing the legs together was very much the same. Of course I had to buy some more glue first. This time, I bought a 1 L jug of Rona ECO carpenter's glue. I didn't buy it because of the ECO part, but simply because it is one of the least expensive (I can get a 4 L jug for the same price as a 3 L jug of LePage carpenter's glue for example). I only went with 1 L here so I could test the glue out and make sure there weren't any immediate issues with it. To save you from more gluing tedium, I will just show some pictures of the leg assembly.

As you can see, I improved my method a bit by covering the floor with cardboard for example to make glue squeeze-out easier to clean, and I went and purchased a set of spreaders for the glue, which made things a lot easier than the cardboard I was using earlier. It is now time to let the glue dry, next time I will look at the results of my glue up and try to clean off a bit of the squeeze-out with some sanding, after which I can cut all of these components to their final dimensions.

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