WOOD Magazine Plans
Edge Joining with a Spline.....
(or how to join two boards without dowels or biscuits!)
Bink's Horse Stable
Bink's Lil Wheelbarrow
Lets give it a try!
||It's really quite simple to take narrow boards and glue
them into wider boards. And you don't need a bunch of fancy tools. You
will need your table saw, some bar clamps and some C clamps.
Here in this pic, the joint almost disappears. You can
see the spline still sticking out of the glue-up. The first thing you'll
want to do is spread your boards out and try to match the grain the best
you can. Mark your pieces and then either run them thru your jointer or
table saw. I don't have a jointer yet, but my table saw works fine for
glueups under 4' long. I usually glue up 3/4" stock in pairs, saves in
assembly time and provides more even clamping pressure.
Don't worry about how wide to make the groove, it doesn't
matter. We'll make the spline fit the groove.
||I also try to make sure that the glue up is wider than
I need, at least 1/8" per side. This is because the clamps will dent the
edge of your assembly. If this isn't possible, then be sure to put some
scrap stock between your glue-up and the clamps!
After you have the joint side of your pieces ready, you
can start the groove. If your using 3/4" stock, then your spline can be
3/4" also. This means the groove in each piece will need to be 3/8" deep
plus a little room for the glue to squeeze out. I usually add 1/32" to
the depth, hardly notable.
||Set up your rip fence so the blade is somewhere near
the middle of your stock. Secure a feather board in there to keep the stock
from wandering! Now run the stock thru the blade, turn the piece "end-for-
end" , and pass it thru again! This guarantees the groove is right in the
middle of your stock. Do this to all your stock, then we'll cut the splines.
The yellow thing is my feather board, from Woodworkers
Warehouse. It clamps into the groove in the table saw.
||Now that the grooves are done, measure the gap, and run
some test pieces for your spline. You want it to fit snuggly, by hand.
Not too tight or the glue will be scrapped off completely. But let it offer
some resistance. Once your satisfied, run your splines out of the same
stock as the boards.
Remember!!! Use a push stick!!! Save yer Fingers!
As I'm drawing the parts together with the clamps,
I stop just before the seam is closed and allow the glue to disperse. Any
excess glue will work its way through the small, saw cut grooves and into
the seam. I'll then do the final tightening.
The following few papragraphs were submitted by Brian
After I cut my spline I use a small backsaw, or dovetail
saw, to groove the flat surface of the spline. I stroke the saw 3-4 times
at several places on both the top and bottom of the spline, just deep enough
to make a small groove. I then glue the pieces and assemble the parts.
||This method is especially useful when polyurethane
glue is utilized. Since this glue expands to fill gaps more the yellow
glue, it can cause the joint to be more visible.
Another tip is to put masking tape on the top and
bottom of the boards at the cut edge just before making the cut on the
saw. Then when the glue squeezes out of the seam it dries on the tape and
not the wood. This makes clean up less time consuming and assures an even
finish when staining.
The two pics above show how I clamp the assembly.
Remember there are two glue-ups here. The only thing which is really important
is that the glue-ups are exactly the same total width, since they're pressed
one on top of the other. I spread the bar clamps out 8-10" apart and use
C clamps with hardwood scrap to hold the assembly flat. Also...make sure
you put waxed paped between the glue-ups and also between the scrap pieces.
Don't apply too much pressure to the bar clamps, but you do want a nice
even bead of glue to squeeze out the seam. This is easily removed with
a scraper afterwards. Please, don't use water to wash off the excess glue.
That delutes the glue and washes it into the pores of the wood, causing
problems later when you try to apply a finish to your project.
Here are the pieces the next day. Scrape off the
glue and give it a quick sanding and your all set to make anything that
requires wider stock. I've used this method for years and never had a glue
line fail! Give it a try, and let me know how you make out!