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Panels are a very simple looking task, but can be frustrating, especially with alignment and large gaps showing glue lines. The article below provides some tips that if put into practice, can greatly reduce the amount of time fixing common errors. 

Step One
Dry fit the pieces that you are going to glue including setting up the clamps. Mark the orientation of the wood pieces with a triangle as shown below.

Marking a triangle on your panel will help you keep track of order when you are happy with your dry fit.
Step Two
Alternate the end grain as shown in the picture, which helps keep the panel flat during seasonal changes in humidity. Note the grain direction highlighted below.
Step Three
Use a good quality fresh adhesive. The cost of glue is a small part of an overall project and having a good glue joint is very important. The better wood adhesives today are stronger than the wood when properly used. 
Step Four
Use enough clamping pressure to have the glue just start to bead on the surface of the joint. Over clamping the joint can result in glue starvation and there may not be enough glue in the joint to form a proper bond resulting in a weaker joint.
Step Five
Alternate the panel clamps and use cauls at the ends of the panels to keep the panel flat. Start applying clamping pressure in the middle of the panel and then tighten the caul clamps before final tightening the panel clamps. Cover the caul surfaces with packing tape or plastic wrap so that they don’t bond to the panel.

Step Six
Remove any squeezed out glue on the surface of the wood with a chisel about an hour after clamping when the glue is rubbery but not yet hardened. Do not use a moist cloth to remove glue as it tends to spread the glue into the pores of the wood and may compromise finishing. 

Use biscuits if needed to aid with alignment while clamping. You can also use a biscuit or thin piece of wood in between the clamp and the wood to eliminate the metal clamp from contacting and possibly staining the wood - especially with steel clamps.

Guide to Adhesives

We have been using the Titebond brand of wood adhesives in our shop for more than 20 years and have found it to be a high quality reliable product.

  • Titebond Original - the standard in woodworking glues for 60 years, for indoor use only. 
  • Titebond II - Water resistant and used for indoor and outdoor applications. 
  • Titebond III - Passes a one-hour boil test and has the highest strength and longest open time.
Titebond III compares favourably in bond strength with both Epoxy and Polyurethane Adhesives on oily woods and is much easier to clean-up.

Titebond II & III are FDA approved for indirect contact with food and your best choice for cutting boards. 

Read the Fine Woodworking Article How Strong is Your Glue?
View the Comparison of Titebond III vs. Polyurethane
Video: Differences in Titebond Glues

In woodworking they say you can’t have enough clamps.
If you need some clamps to help with your projects the clamps shown on our flyer are a good value. The clamp sale is valid until November 30, 2016.

Anniversary Sale Flyer

The Aluminum Bar Clamp is a good choice for gluing up panels such as cutting boards, cabinet doors or table-tops.

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