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Winter 2013-2014

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Q & A: Perfectly Flush?

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Q & A: Perfectly Flush?


Q:

I recently bought a plate joiner in hopes that it would help me get perfect alignment when edge-to-edge gluing. I’m still getting some unevenness at the joints.What gives?



A:

Biscuits help considerably with alignment, but getting absolutely perfect alignment is unlikely.Having glued up what seems like acres of tabletops, I find that slight variations in wood thickness,minor warpage or loose-fitting biscuits can all throw off the joint. A slight tipping up or down of the plate joiner can also cause a misaligned joint.

You can overcome some of this misalignment during glue-up by tapping or pressing high spots into place before fully tightening the clamps. Otherwise it’s best to accept a slightly uneven joint and then sand or scrape it flush.

Another option is a spline joint. Use a slot cutter in your router. Then mill your own spline to fit. Because the spline joint runs the full length of the board, it offers very consistent alignment.




This story originally appeared in American Woodworker June 2001, issue #87.

June 2001, issue #87

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