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Panel glue up without clamps

I have Bessey parallel clamps, however I prefer to rely on blue tape when glueing up panels. It is clear to me that one does not need clamps applying great pressure to create flat panels with tight joints.

I do have and use parallel clamps. I have a bunch from Bessey ..

... but there is a time and a place for everything. The Besseys get used on a carcase, where you may need to apply some pressure selectively to get parts into square, and keep them there. 

Panels, however, can become glue-starved with too much pressure, especially when they are thin (I learned this the hard way).

The advantage of blue tape is that it may be stretched across the join, and its elasticity will pull the parts together with enough pressure to create a good join. Obviously, edges that are not straight, such as where one side has a bow, may not come together cleanly. In such case, often where one may be tempted to force the edges together with a panel clamp, the join is likely to be fighting with itself, and be vulnerable to coming apart. So, ensure that the mating edges are flat!

I am in the process of building a chest and here joining up the three vertical dividers. The boards were thicknessed and jointed with machines. They are slightly oversize and will be taken to final dimension with hand planes.

This is a panel-to-be ...

Step 1: Stretch blue tape across one side to pull the boards tightly together ...

Step 2: Run blue tape along the joins ... the cast iron table top is waxed to prevent glue marking it. Still, we do not want glue escaping, and the blue tape will confine it.

Step 3: Flip the panel over and insert glue into an open join ...

Do this with all the joins, and then pull the lot together with tape. Wipe the excess glue off with a wet rag ...

Lastly, add a caul. I have just one on the diagonal as the boards are flat and stable. If you suspect that yours are not, just add a couple across the width.

My cauls are simply jointed radiate pine with one face covered in PVC tape (to prevent glue sticking).

... and leave to dry ...

The result is very flat panels, ready for final planning.

Regards from Perth


May 2018