Saturday, March 3, 2007

Clean it up!

This is an image of Virginia Chairmaker Chuck Harris, back in the old shop and using Pat Edwards Old Brown Glue. Chuck has made a few chairs with me and has been indispensable in finishing the new shop. After the hard work of moving the big beams around, I had managed to injure my shoulder and come down with a terrible cold. Chuck came to the rescue and helped me and Glenn Palmieri, Rich Pallaria and Bill Whalen finish out all the exterior work. Thanx Guys.
A while back, as I was gluing up an undercarraige, something dawned on me. I looked at the burnished tenon, coated in pine sap (from the fitting and reaming process) and realized that I was not even following the basic directions on every bottle of glue! Free of dirt and oil. That is what a surface must be to get proper adhesion. When would you ever take two pieces of wood and, as prep for gluing, compress the fibers (burnishing) and rub it with a material that won't bond (pine sap)? So now, I take an extra minute to clean the tenons with denatured alcohol, which cleans off the sap and raises the grain enough to allow glue to bond. This goes for all of the other joints as well. Think about how much handling the pieces take in the process of hand fitting and how much contamination the surface has! Maybe it doesn't make that much difference, or any at all, but it takes no time and after all the work that has gone into the chair prior to gluing, I am willing to try.

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