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clamping, gluing, lining-up wood [tips & tricks]

Just writing a quick post today on how to clamp and glue wood easily. It's honestly just a tutorial on picking the right clamps and how hard to clamp when gluing wood, and what orientations are good for clamping. Let's get started.

We're going to be making a robotic game pvc pipe dispenser for the upcoming MASLAB competition. It's a simple build. Just a few pieces of laser-cut wood glued together.

First, I'm going to put some paper towels down so the glue doesn't seep out and stick to the table. If the part gets stuck to the table, that'd be really sad. :(

Start by laying down the back-most panel. This is the easiest to start with because for this design it's the largest, flattest piece. That's the one that should lay flat on the table because it would be the hardest to get into place later.

Now let's start with the side walls and the center support. First let's check their lineup

Now remember, most wood glues are pressure-based adhesives. So they won't really dry unless you exert some force on them. This also means, you don't need a lot of glue to make this happen. Use a small bead of glue along the edges you're gluing.

While you're gluing the other pieces, LEAVE THE PIECES WITH GLUE LYING FLAT. DON'T PANIC. They will not dry out in the time it takes you to put glue on the other two. But BEFORE I put glue on any of the pieces, I would recommend extending the bar clamp so it's ready (sorry for the out-of-order step).

Now place the pieces down onto the gluing surface, go on, glue them! And again, don't panic, don't try to clamp too fast. They'll be okay sitting there for a few minutes. Just make sure the pieces are lined up correctly. IF they aren't, take them out, and replace them so they are. It's OKAY if the glue smears. You don't need a lot of glue for this to work.

THEN, slowly start closing the bar clamp. And when you get to the clamping point, don't squeeze the clamp too hard. Clamp JUST ENOUGH so that the clamp holds the pieces together, but not so much it crushes the wood or that that cross-support flexes up and down. The below picture is a too much clamping vs just enough.

Now the final step is just to wipe away the excess. Like I said, wood glue works best as a pressure-activated adhesive, all the extra glue on the edges doesn't do you any good. Get rid of it!

#tips #wood_glue #wood #make

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