Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fighting Back

When I got into the shop this morning the building was "cold soaked" as my pilot friend Gerry would say. I was out of the shop for two days in a row and that was enough. Luckily, I'd thought ahead and brought my stones and steamer in the house. I probably should have just poured out the water, but I know how much my wife likes seeing woodworking tools in the kitchen.

I realized that the walnut rocker that I am making would hit a dead stop if I didn't get the seat glued up. My preference is to use hot hide glue for this, but I didn't want to take all day to get the shop warm enough to glue up. So I snuck into the house with my glue pot and clamps to get the job done.

This is a photo before gluing. I don't think two spring clamps would get the job done. But I am rather proud of my screw clamp improvisation!

There's two things to remember when doing this. Hide glue, even fresh, smells bad to spouses. So get it out of the house before they return. Also, if you leave the glued up joint in the house, your dogs will lick the joints clean. I brought it back to the shop , foreseeing the dog issue.

From what I've read, it's most important that the glue is still flowing when the joint is assembled and clamped. After the glue gels, which is in a minute or so, much of the bond is established, but you still need to avoid shocking it for 24 hours or so. Yeah, the hide glue has some foibles, but at least I can control them and in the end, I love seeing the cut offs where the wood breaks as opposed to the glue line.

Working with the walnut feels like having cake for breakfast. I tuned up my No# 8 Bailey and dedicated it to edge jointing. I pulled it off the shelf and felt like I had a weapon!

My other stab at winter actually has to do with a bottle of Titebond 3 that I bought recently. I looked for a date on it but couldn't find one, first mistake. Then I glued up a seat with it anyway, second mistake. When I saw the cutoff break cleanly on the glue line, I sawed back through the joint, planed it again and glued it with hide glue. Ah, the joy of doing something twice!

But in the name of preserving the bottle (I'll do some sample joints to test it's strength, who knows, maybe the failure was mine) I used this little trick. I'd love to build a cabinet above my kiln to capture the escaping heat and humidity, but until then, an old plastic bottle will do.

I just make sure that one of the holes is below the cover bottle and that's enough to keep the stuff from freezing, which I know will ruin it. Take that Old Man Winter, by the way, if you don't mind, you can dump all the snow you want, just leave my driveway out of it... please.


Unknown said...

This is good stuff Peter. I find myself also bringing projects in the house when deadlines approach and its a little to cold in my drafty shop. I have done everything from steaming on the kitchen stove to spokeshaving in front of the couch. Matthew

Mike Hamilton said...

here's a spot that discusses titebond's date codes (from before they added an expiry date)

mike hamilton

Peter Galbert said...

I try to keep the shavings in the house to a minimum, but basically, I leave a trail wherever I go!

thanks for the link, I bookmarked it and will check my bottle. I can't help but have a little mistrust of plastic glue, it's great right up until the point that it isn't!

covergirl said...

You made up for it with the lovely poached egg this morning.

Premodern Bloke said...

What strength hide glue do you use for panel glue-ups?

Peter Galbert said...

I use anywhere in the 192 to 251 gram strength range. I do use salt to retard the gelling, but remember, anything in the pot that isn't glue weakens the bond.
Good luck!

Unknown said...

Peter , I'm having trouble finding urea could you point me in the right direction? Matthew

Peter Galbert said...

I've had luck in the garden stores. Basically, they sell it as fertilizer in 5 10 or 50 pound bags. The 5 pound bag is a lifetime supply, unless your garden needs a boost!

Sean said...

I'm unclear whether you want a PVA type alternative (the Titebond stuff made me think you might). I highly recommend Lee Valley's 2002 GF cabinetmaker's glue. It has a longer open time and higher solids content that most common PVAs. It's never let me down as far as producing stong and invisible joints. You can take it out of clamps in 30 to 45 minutes and it will fully cure over night.