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  • Glue Ups

    My first glue up had a glue line you can see from across the room. So after practicing on smaller blocks I have developed a process that produces a seem detectable only by the change in wood grain. What I have learned.

    The first step is in selecting which sides of your wood to glue buy reading the grain. The end grain and side grain should run the same direct on both pieces.

    Next is surface preparation a perfectly planed surface is ideal. Lacking a planing option I block sand the surface down to 200 grit.

    Clamps, need to be of sufficient capacity to bend the wood to your will. They should be place along the perimeter line of your planned carving.

    Glue, Here is my theory. We aren’t gluing a chair leg that will need to support the weight of person leaning back scooting back and forth. It going to sit on a shelf in a temperature controlled environment supporting its own weight only. Choose your favorite glue and thin it slightly with distilled water. Keep that distilled water handy. (Use only distilled water tap and well water contain mold spores that can grow inside a glued surface.)

    I start by wetting the surfaces to be glued with distilled water. This swells the surface and reduces the glues penetration. Then brush a thin coat of thinned glue on both surfaces. Mate the surfaces together and clamp the hell out of it. Leave it that way for 24 hours.
    Ed
    Living in a pile of chips.
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/HiddenInWood
    https://m.facebook.com/pg/CentralNeb...ernal&mt_nav=0

  • #2
    Interesting!

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    • #3
      Excellent information. I would add only to do one joint at a time in a big glue-up. Glue and clamp 2 pieces together. Tomorrow or the next day, add another piece, and so on. I have had middle pieces shift when I turned my back on the pile.
      Sure, it's tedious. But, it's reliable.
      Brian T

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      • #4
        Thanks, Ed, for sharing your experience & advice about glue ups for carving blanks. The steps in choosing & preparing the wood are critical, especially if the wood grain will be visible in the final carving (as opposed to painted.) The unglued joint(s) should fit closely when held up to a strong light. I disagree with using clamps to force the closure of gaps, while I agree with using a sufficient number of clamps & leaving it clamped for at least 24 hours. I have reinforced large glue ups of relief panels with hardwood strips on the back. I have also done several glue ups of different woods using simple butt joints. My current project has a deep tongue & groove joint between black walnut & poplar.

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        • #5
          Here are some good illustrations of the transition from the original carving to the massive opus that sits in the rotunda of the UBC/MOA. They took the roof off to install it.

          Like the original, it is Yellow Cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis). It's a glue-up of 144 pieces of wood, I am not able to find any of the glue lines from 4 feet away!

          https://moa.ubc.ca/2020/01/the-raven...to-completion/
          Brian T

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          • #6
            This discussion got me thinking about glue ups I have done for carving reliefs. At least 15 have involved glue ups with most involving 4 or 5 boards. Nearly all started with 3/4" thick stock, some with later overlays. A few have survived for as long as 45 years. None has split, cupped or warped.
            Some of my recent reliefs have been done in 5/4 basswood supplied by Heinecke Wood Products. If they are glue ups they are undetectable. I suspect a 16" x 27" blank would have to be a glue up.
            One thing that makes this different from the glue up of a table or cabinet top is you are going to cut deeply into this wood after glue up. You are going to be adding (or diminishing) stresses in the wood. If your relief goes half the thickness of the wood on one side, some carvers say you need to balance the stresses with saw cuts on the back. I have never done that.
            I appreciate Brian's suggestion about gluing two boards at a time. As stated, I have done 4 or 5 at a time, but it requires clamping to prevent any boards from "slithering" out of position.

            Sky&Water4.jpg

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            • #7
              Here's an example of exactly what Ed cautions about the wood grain direction in a glue up.

              This dish was a nightmare to carve. I bought a stick of Yellow Cedar, about 3" x 6" x 6' long.
              Rough saw-cut, well seasoned, the best piece in a lift of maybe 60 boards.

              Cleaned up the edges and glued 3 pieces together.
              I made the mistake of flipping the middle piece over. The rising grain in the two outer pieces
              didn't match the now falling grain in the middle piece. Of course, on the underside, everything was reversed. It was so bad, I had to pencil arrows on the wood every day to remind myself which direction to carve without tear-out.


              Brian T

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              • #8
                Thanks, Ed, You just stuck a new arrow in my quiver
                . . .JoeB

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by pallin View Post
                  This discussion got me thinking about glue ups I have done for carving reliefs. At least 15 have involved glue ups with most involving 4 or 5 boards. Nearly all started with 3/4" thick stock, some with later overlays. A few have survived for as long as 45 years. None has split, cupped or warped.
                  Some of my recent reliefs have been done in 5/4 basswood supplied by Heinecke Wood Products. If they are glue ups they are undetectable. I suspect a 16" x 27" blank would have to be a glue up.
                  One thing that makes this different from the glue up of a table or cabinet top is you are going to cut deeply into this wood after glue up. You are going to be adding (or diminishing) stresses in the wood. If your relief goes half the thickness of the wood on one side, some carvers say you need to balance the stresses with saw cuts on the back. I have never done that.
                  I appreciate Brian's suggestion about gluing two boards at a time. As stated, I have done 4 or 5 at a time, but it requires clamping to prevent any boards from "slithering" out of position.

                  Sky&Water4.jpg
                  Pallin,

                  I didn’t real think about relief projects I can see how that would be a different game. I’m stacking 3x5’s to make 6x5’s for busts. Or 4x6 to 8x6.
                  Ed
                  Living in a pile of chips.
                  https://www.etsy.com/shop/HiddenInWood
                  https://m.facebook.com/pg/CentralNeb...ernal&mt_nav=0

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks Ed. It is always risky to comment about carving tools, processes, or materials because of the wide variations in what we're doing. Whittling is not sculpture. I would be hard pressed to do a glue up for a full size carousel horse.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pallin View Post
                      Thanks Ed. It is always risky to comment about carving tools, processes, or materials because of the wide variations in what we're doing. Whittling is not sculpture. I would be hard pressed to do a glue up for a full size carousel horse.
                      I keep thinking of doing larger piece watched a video about doing glue ups so life sized pieces are hollow. Can see my self giving it a whirl.

                      Ed
                      Living in a pile of chips.
                      https://www.etsy.com/shop/HiddenInWood
                      https://m.facebook.com/pg/CentralNeb...ernal&mt_nav=0

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