Sunday, March 26, 2017

Day 144: Gluing Up the Soundboard

After conferring with my good friend and wood scholar, Alan Ollivant, I decided to go ahead and clean up the soundboard plank edges using the table saw. Alan made the point that due to the cut angle, it will actually be a cleaner surface than if I had, say, used a jointer that compresses the wood as its knives push against it to make the cut. While this may seem like we're picking nits, it's important. The joints between boards should appear as seamless as possible. So, I commenced cutting them with the table saw.

And it worked just fine.

No more gaps. I then prepared some hot hide glue and clamped up the first joint.

I was pretty happy with it, though I could see a bit of glue material between the boards. This means either my joint was not clean or the hide glue has started to harden before I could get them secured. I suspect the latter because I also neglected to heat up the wood first. I then broke out the trusty fish glue given to me by Mark Roberts of Mark Roberts Guitars and Ukuleles a while back and glued up the second joint.

I planed off the excess squeez-out and examined the joint.

The hot hide glue joint is near the top of the photo and the fish glue is in the bottom 1/3 of the photo. Notice any difference?

Now, woodworkers will say that a joint is only as good as the prepared wood, yet I can't help but see a pretty significant difference between the two glues. I've worked quite a bit with fish glue, which is soluble at room temperature, and I just love the stuff. I even tested it by gluing up some scrap and shooting moisture and pouring water on it with no failures. So, this calls for a management decision: Fish glue moving forward. If the thing falls apart later, no worries - it will happen in my living room and I can just ignore it. Regardless, I'm going to saw off the hide glue joint and reglue it using fish glue.

On a couple of completely unrelated notes, I secured the end vise spacer given to me by Random Roger Green to the side of the Roubo bench.

This spacer is invaluable to me because I chose to mount the end vise in the middle of the bench, rather than on the left side (which is probably more typical). When Roger saw this, he scratched his head and didn't say anything, but I kinda knew he was wondering about me. The result: he gifted me the spacer. Sometimes, you just have to step up and save people from themselves, you know?

As you can see, if I have something clamped on the left side of the vise, which is where most of my dog holes reside in the bench, the spacer keeps the vise from twisting awkwardly and, eventually, breaking the wood buffers I made and, possibly, the vise. Thank you, Roger, for saving me on this one.

Until next time...

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