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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Gluing jig design question (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Michael Baker
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I have some projects in the works where squareness is paramount for smooth operation of moving parts.

Does anyone have a good design for an adjustable gluing jig for squaring up small to medium sized boxes while glue sets? (90 degree joints, and should be usable for mitered, dado, rabbet, and/or box joints)

If anyone has ideas for additions to such a jig to make it usable with joints other than 90 degrees, I love to hear them, too.

Thanks!

~michael
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Cliffg37
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I'm not sure I understand the question Michael,

My compound mitre saw will cut a thick piece of wood to any angle (compound or not)I choose. I would cut the angle just a hairs breath short and use biscuits for strength. Then I have angle braces I bought very cheap at harbor freight that will hold the wood at the chosen angle while the glue dries. Brad or screws can be added too, but from reading your past posts, I don't think I've typed a word that you don't know already. Can you expound on the question?
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ClintonMagus
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Michael,

I'm not sure what size boxes you are building, but here's something interesting I found while looking for something else:

http://miniatures.about.com/od/collectin......tool.htm

Also, I have a Micro-Mark magnetic gluing jig that works really well for models that might work well for you.

When you get to joints other than 90 degrees, the band clamp (NOT band camp) becomes very useful.

Amos McCormick
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Michael Baker
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Thanks for your interest, guys! Let me try to clarify what I'm needing...

I make several types of boxes used in magic. For very small boxes, such as these coin boxes, that I made for Howard at The Trickery, I used an internal jig... a block of wood that is the exact length and width dimensions that I want the interior of the box to have.

Because these are quite small parts, I am able to glue the parts together using CA. Also because I may have to cut up to 400 identical parts in a run, the likelyhood of there being slight variances between the beginning and the end of the run is quite a real possibility. These variances are minimal to be sure, but on very small parts , it can easily throw a small box out of whack.

Because the interior dimensions are critical (the interior parts have to operate smoothly), I build the parts AROUND the gluing jig. It keeps the parts square, and the inside dimensions are all exactly the same. Any discrepancies in the parts thus becomes transferred to the exterior of the box. The outside dimensions are less critical, and the exterior can be sanded later to make all the joints and exterior walls flush and square.

Now consider larger boxes, such as flip-over boxes, square circles, and larger. These boxes can easily have side dimensions of up to 16 inches or more. Miter clamps (corner clamps) work well for squaring adjacent parts of such boxes. Different glues are also needed, and these are typically slower setting. The clamps serve to hold the parts tightly (and squarely) together while the glue sets.

However, there are some boxes, like Die Boxes, Nests of Boxes, and similarly-sized items that have dimensions that render miter clamps useless. The clamps are too big to use on these kinds of boxes, except for gluing no more that two parts. When a third part is added, there is often no room for the clamp. These boxes also do best when the slower setting glues are used. CA is not the best glue to use, regardless of its working time. Standard wood glues and polyurethane glues are better to use.

These factors can create problems. Anyone who has attempted to glue six sides of a box together at once, all with mitered edges, knows what a nightmare it can be to hold everything both tight and square along all dimensions. I have often had such projects collapse in my hands in the process of assembly, when glue is wet and gravity is your enemy.

The gluing jig made of Legos that Amos found is getting closer to the idea I am looking for. I envision the jig as having a floor and 2 adjacent walls that are permanently assembled and perfectly square. These 3 parts form one common corner. The inside corner is what will be used. We won't concern ourselves with a top to the jig, but will discuss the 2 missing walls.

Assume that we want to glue parts of a box squarely together. The parts of this box (more than 2 parts at the same time) have been glued and are being fitted together, and it has been set into the inside common corner of the jig. This will automatically square the parts that touch the floor and walls of the jig.

What is needed to go with this 3 part assembly of the jig are two more adjustable walls that can be tightened against the box being glued. These movable walls would be the 2 missing walls of the jig. These walls would serve to square the other sides of the box and also hold all parts tightly together until the glue sets.

By being adjustable, the jig can be used to accommodate boxes of varying sizes. However, assuming these walls adjust by way of some type of a track or slot that they ride along, and the fact they are adjacent and 90 degrees to each other (opposite the permanent walls), being of any given length, they would eventually interfere with each other the smaller the box they were being tightened against.

Would it be best to have a couple different sized (length) walls that can be added or removed from the jig depending on the size required?

Has anyone attempted to use such a jig?

I hope I didn't confuse the issue further. Smile

~michael
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RiserMagic
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Michael;
You might reconsider the types of joints that you will be using. Several types of joints are almost self locking and will not slip/slide during the glue process. With these types of joints (made square), clamping becomes much simpler. I would avoid long simple 45 degree joints for a variety of reasons - strength being one of them. Ease of perfect assembly being another reason.
Jim
Michael Baker
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I often will use rabbet, dado, and/or butt joints, depending on the project, but sometimes it's nice to have virtually seamless corners, as 45 degree miters can do. One example would be a hollow block (6-sided cube) made of an exotic hardwood. You wouldn't want to try to cut a solid block 4 or 5 inches square, and it would be nice for no joints to show. The only evidence of joints would be the extreme edges. I would imagine they would still be quite strong, unless heavily abused.

What other types of joints would do that? I'm guessing there are router bits that form mated components? It would still be nice to clamp everything tightly while gluing, or am I worrying needlessly?

~michael
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ClintonMagus
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Michael,

Would one of these work?

http://tinyurl.com/yglxdt

http://tinyurl.com/yc74xo

http://tinyurl.com/yhvpoe

Amos McCormick
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RiserMagic
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Michael;
A locked miter or a version of a splined miter would work for you (neither shows end grain). With just a tad of end grain visible a lock drawer joint might work well.
Jim
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Micheal;
I just checked Amos' posted links above. That's what I'd use. You can get the router bits with 1/4" shank if you look around. It's easier to cut small box parts with a router than a shaper. Check Lee Valley, Woodcraft, and Grizzly. A place in PA also specializes in router bits. A also get emails from another place; but have not ordered from them. I always trash their emails. I'll save the next one for you.
Jim
Michael Baker
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Thank you so much to both Amos and Jim for that help. I think these may take care of some of these problems. There is a Woodcraft in town, so I will check there first. My router needs more exciting things to do than what I mostly use it for.

Thanks again!

~michael
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George Ledo
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Michael, you must be a mind-reader... Smile

I often need to make jigs for some of the weird stuff we make in the theater world, and, after reading your first post, I visualized exactly what you described in your second post -- a base with a permanent corner and a second corner riding in a track. And darn it if you didn't come up with the same problem I did: the length of the walls!

I saw something at a kitchen cabinet factory last year that I thought was really cool. It was a huge version of what you're describing, but vertical: the two permanent corners were at the bottom left, and the top and right side slid in as needed. What made it work was that the right side also slid in a groove (a large groove) in the top. I don't remember if the top and right side were made like a slat bench, but I remember their sliding inside each other.

Anyway, the other thing I use all the time to hold stuff during assembly is plain ol' spring clamps against a cut-off piece (a couple of inches long) of aluminum angle. The clamps are fast and convenient, and the angle is small enough to fit anywhere. Woodcraft sells a larger version of this, but the price seems 'way high for what it is.

BTW, I love the idea of the square jig being inside the box!
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RiserMagic
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Michael;
Here's the other place for router bits:
http://www.pricecutter.com/category.asp?......63616338

Perhaps they will have something you can use.

Remember that several types of splined miter joints can be done with only the table saw.
Jim
Michael Baker
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George and Jim,

Thanks much for your input. I will check out the router bits more carefully. Their prices seems good what I saw. I will also be pursuing a design I now have in mind for a gluing jig that would (should) work efficiently for those times when a specialty joint is not practical. I envision thinner wood as being one such case.

As long as I can get this jig to really clamp at perfect right angles, it should work.

I checked out several websites for splined miter joints, and I see some possibilities there, too.

Thanks again!

~michael
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RiserMagic
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Michael;
The splined miter joint that I especially have in mind is a concealed spline cut with the table saw. Another concealed spline joint is one using bisquits (you can make your own tiny bisquits for thinner wood). On a die box I would prefer a tenon into the base to attach the sides to the base. The sides could then be joined with one of the lock miter joints. This would make for a very strong die box with invisible joints.
Jim
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